The OpenBooks Project

Books - Authors - Publishers - Tools

The Mission

The OpenBooks Project aims to collect, create, and maintain professional quality books released under OpenContent style licenses. OpenBooks will solicit new material and old, by cultivating and encouraging new authors, and working with published authors and publishing companies to release existing works under open licenses. DocBook is the official format for OpenBooks; the project will also offer conversion services to authors not willing or able to learn DocBook.

John R. Sheets <>

Current Projects

The initial thrust of OpenBooks is to convert my upcoming book Writing GNOME Applications (published by Addison-Wesley) into DocBook and release it on the Web. So far, Addison-Wesley has agreed to release four selected chapters of the book under the GFDL license. You can find those chapters in DocBook SGML and HTML form at the OpenBooks download page.

The chapters are currently online here, at and the GNOME Developer's site.

Coming Soon:
Metadoc - An XML system for writing fiction and screenplays, including story content, plot management, and character development. Initial support will include DTDs and XSLT stylesheets. Later releases will feature GUI applications for manipulating your data, as well as other content types like technical documentation (as a shorthand format which can be easily transformed into DocBook, but which works around some shortcomings with DocBook, such as better support for external source code inclusion), poetry, and whatever else people want. Metadoc can be found in the Openbooks CVS Repository. Stay tuned!


Mailing Lists

Web Sites


If you have a book of your own that you can release under an OpenContent-style license, or if would like to start writing one, please send me a note, or subscribe to our main mailing list and introduce yourself.

If you're not a writer, but would like to help out with marking up existing works with DocBook, join the gang! While OpenBooks is still very young and doesn't have many books (err, well, just one at the moment), the intent is to gather a wide variety. OpenBooks is primarily concerned with high quality book-length documentation, so if you know of any potential projects, let us know!

Finally, I'm not much of a web designer, so I'd really appreciate someone willing to spruce up the OpenBooks site. I'm not sure yet what I want to do with the site, other than posting books in HTML format, but I'm wide open to suggestions. I'd like OpenBooks to be a point of contact between publishers and OpenContent writers, so anything that encourages that will be embraced with enthusiasm.