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My books

Forge Your Future with Open Source

The only book about how to contribute to open source and free software projects and communities.

Cover for Forge Your Future with Open Source, showing a red-hot bar of iron being forged into a spiral.

Free and open source is the foundation of software development, and it’s built by people just like you. Discover the fundamental tenets that drive the movement. Take control of your career by selecting the right project to meet your professional goals. Master the language and avoid the pitfalls that typically ensnare new contributors. Join a community of like-minded people and change the world. Programmers, writers, designers, and everyone interested in software will make their mark through free and open source software contributions.

Business Success with Open Source

The best book for organisations looking to use open source stragically.

Cover for Business Success with Open Source, showing several red-hot iron components fresh from the forge.

Free and open source software (FOSS) is everywhere and is the driving force behind nearly all software developed today. It doesn’t matter what industry your company is in: Learning more about how to use, contribute to, and release FOSS can be the strategic edge that your company needs. With the proper knowledge and approach, open source can form the cornerstone of a digital transformation effort, increase developer retention, decrease recruiting cycles, ensure reliable security, and reinforce the company brand. All this and more, by shifting your company’s FOSS strategy from accidental to intentional.

Other Resources

These are books that I personally recommend to those who wish to improve their knowledge, usage, and management of free and open source software.

Program Management for Open Source Projects

By Ben Cotton

How to Guide Your Community-Driven, Open Source Project.

Book cover for Program Management for Open Source Projects, showing a row of rubber ducks on a white background. A few of the ducks are slightly out of line.

Every organization develops a bureaucracy, and open source projects are no exception. When your structure is intentional and serves the project, it can lead to a successful and predictable conclusion. But project management alone won’t get you there. Take the next step to full program management. Become an expert at facilitating communication between teams, managing schedules and project lifecycle, coordinating a process for changes, and keeping meetings productive. Make decisions that get buy-in from all concerned. Learn how to guide your community-driven open source project with just the right amount of structure.

Producing Open Source Software

By Karl Fogel

How to run a successful Free Software project.

Book cover for Producing Open Source Software, showing a circular cluster of white arrows on a striped orange background. The white arrows are all 'following' a larger yellow arrow.

Producing Open Source Software is a book about the human side of open source development. It describes how successful projects operate, the expectations of users and developers, and the culture of free software. The book is released under an open copyright.

You can buy v1.0 in bookstores or order copies from O’Reilly Media, or you can browse and download v2.0 on its homepage.

Intellectual Property and Open Source

By Van Lindberg

A practical guide to protecting code.

Book cover for Intellectual Property and Open Source, showing an abstract blue-black design incorporating marble columns and numbers in a digital font.

If you work in information technology, intellectual property is central to your job – but dealing with the complexities of the legal system can be mind-boggling. This book is for anyone who wants to understand how the legal system deals with intellectual property rights for code and other content. You’ll get a clear look at intellectual property issues from a developer’s point of view, including practical advice about situations you’re likely to encounter.

Written by an intellectual property attorney who is also a programmer, Intellectual Property and Open Source helps you understand patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and licenses, with special focus on the issues surrounding open source development and the GPL.

Open Source Law, Policy and Practice, Second Edition

Edited by Amanda Brock

In-depth examination of the various legal areas that impact the Open Source Software community and users.

Book cover for Open Source Law, Policy and Practice, Second Edition, showing the logos of various open source projects and companies based around open source projects.

Written by world leading Open Source and legal experts, this new edition of Open Source Law, Policy and Practice is fully updated with a global focus on technology and market changes over the last decade. The work delivers an in-depth examination of the community, legal, and commercial structures relating to the usage and exploitation of Open Source. This enables readers to understand the legal environment within which Open Source operates and what is required for its appropriate governance and curation in enterprise and the public sector. This is achieved by focusing on three main areas: intellectual property rights; the governance of Open Source; and the business and economic impacts.

You can purchase the book from Oxford University Press, or read/download an open access version