The Debian Administrator’s Handbook started as our desire (the desire of Raphaël Hertzog and Roland Mas) to have our French best-seller translated in English. That desire was unfortunately not shared by editors that we contacted.
Given that traditional editors did not want to take the risk to make this translation, we decided to do the translation ourselves and to self-publish the result. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, we managed to complete this translation between December 2011 and May 2012.
To live up to our free software ideals, we wanted the book to be freely available (that is under the terms of a license compatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines of course). There was a condition though: a liberation fund had to be completed to ensure we had a decent compensation for the work that the book represents. This fund reached its target of €25K in April 2012.
On May 10th 2012, we published the resulting book.
Together with Eyrolles, we did setup a project to publish the French book under a free license and contribute it back to the Debian Administrator’s Handbook as the official French translation.
This involved another crowdfunding campaign and was again a success. So in July 2013, we published the French translation of the book.
Later in the year, we worked on updating the book for Debian 7 (Wheezy) and the updated book got out — later than expected — by December 30th.
After several months of work, we published (at the end of October 2015), a new edition of the book tailored to Debian 8 “Jessie”. The Japanese translation was completed at the same time.