Updating the Debian Administrator’s Handbook for Debian 7.0 Wheezy

As you probably know, Debian is in freeze since July. Thus we’re hopefully only a few months away from the release of Debian 7.0 (also known as Wheezy). This means that it’s time to update the Debian Administrator’s Handbook to take into account all the changes and improvements that Wheezy will bring.

The process we’ll use

I have setup a TODO list for Roland and I. Each of us is going to update half of the book. As the work progresses, we will regularly push updated versions of the book here: http://debian-handbook.info/browse/wheezy/

That way you can review the content as it evolves and submit bug reports to further improve the book! Bug reports must be submitted via reportbug debian-handbook just like any other Debian bug report.

I will keep you informed (on this blog) after each significant update (i.e. when a chapter has been fully updated).

Funding the work to update the book

This is also an important milestone for the project. We managed to fund the translation and the liberation of the book with the initial campaign but now we must ensure that sales of printed copies and donations cover for the time we’re going to spend in the next few months to update the book.

And this is indeed a concern because while the volume of sales and donations has been significant during the first 2-3 months after the liberation, it quickly dried up and we’re now down to about 100 EUR of revenues per month for each of Roland and I. This is much less than what we hoped for given the (potential) audience of the book. It’s already not enough to compensate for the time we spend on the book and it’s far from being enough to be able to fund our other free software activities.

This means multiple things:

  1. We must promote the book a bit more, and we need your help. Please share the word about the book, write some reviews on your blog and keep us informed!
  2. Please consider donating a few euros to prove that a free book can be financially viable in the long run.
  3. Alternatively, you can help one of the translation teams so that the book reaches an even wider audience than today.

Thank you very much for your continued support!

PS: In case you wonder, even though the book is now under a free license, we only got two small contributions besides typo fixes and translations. So it looks like that this book update will only happen if we take care of it ourselves.

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook in other languages

Several translation teams are working since a few months to translate the Debian Administrator’s Handbook in other languages… it’s a huge work so most translations are far from being finished but apparently the German team is getting close.

Even if the translations are not complete, I decided to publish their work in progress on-line. It’s always rewarding to be able to see the result of your hard work and hopefully it can also motivate other people to join the translations teams.

So here you go, have a look at the work of all the translators:

Translating the Debian Administrator’s Handbook

Just like any other good free documentation, the Debian Administrator’s Handbook deserves to be widely translated. And in truth, we had the chance to have several offers to help with translation even before the book was available…

Last week, I have written some instructions for translators. You can find README.translators and README.git in the Git repository.

So if you’re interested to help translate the book to your native language, read those files and join the dedicated mailing list (debian-handbook-translators@lists.alioth.debian.org). You can either join a pre-existing translation team or start a new one.

Right now (2012-05-31), the following translations have already started:

We also contacted persons who (at some point) volunteered to help for the following translations:

  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • German
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Turkish

Do you like challenges? For any translation that reaches 100%, we will try to organize a print version of the book as well.

Looking forward to talk with you on the mailing list. :-)

The Debian Administrator’s Handbook is available

Cover of the Debian Administrator's HandbookWe’re pleased to announce that — after 5 months of work — the Debian Administrator’s Handbook is now available, both as a beautiful 495-page paperback and as an ebook (PDF, EPUB, MOBI formats).

The paperback’s usual price is €44.90, but we decided to make a special deal for the launch. You can get it with a 10% discount until May 18th. Hurry up and get it from Lulu.com.

Download the ebookThe ebook is available for immediate download on the book’s website. There’s the PDF file corresponding to the printed book but also an EPUB version suitable for smartphones and ebook readers. You can also find a Mobipocket version for Kindle and other ebook readers that do not support EPUB (the open standard).

And of course, you can read it online.

Since the book is released under a set of free licenses (GPL-2+ / CC-BY-SA 3.0), it’s already available in Debian Unstable, just apt-get install debian-handbook. There’s also a git repository (git clone git://anonscm.debian.org/debian-handbook/debian-handbook.git) if you want to contribute.

We hope that you will enjoy the book and we’re eagerly awaiting your feedback (but don’t expect quick replies, I’m going to take a much needed one-week vacation).

Liberation fund completed, release in the next few weeks

After the initial crowd-funding campaign, we set April as a target date for the release of the book. April is almost over so it’s time for us to give you some news.

First, we’re very happy to announce that the liberation fund has been completed and thus the book will be released under free licenses (GPL2+ + CC-BY-SA 3.0) from the start.

The liberation campaign was slowly loosing momentum in the last months but we had the chance to have two significant donations from BackTrack Linux first (1000 EUR) and then from École Ouverte Francophone (1442 EUR) which completed the fund. Thank you to them and to all the individuals who contributed in the last few months (387 persons!).

If you haven’t seen it yet on our Google+ page or on Raphaël’s blog, have a look at the nice cover for the book:

While the book cover has been ready for a few weeks, the book itself is not yet ready. We still have a last batch of reviews to process and we’re not done yet with the LaTeX stylesheet used to render the PDF for the printed book (we’re using dblatex for this).

If nothing unexpected happens, you can expect the book release in the next 2-3 weeks. This time we must make it, because I (Raphaël) have planned a one-week vacation after! :-)