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The O'Reilly Community Press Publishes Essential Grassroots Documentation

February 20, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--Since the advent of computers, do-it-yourself documentation has been a foundation of grassroots technology development. FreeBSD, Linux, Perl, Apache, MySQL, and other core Internet technologies have flourished with the help of documentation created by dedicated members of their technical communities. The O'Reilly Community Press, a new series from technical publisher O'Reilly & Associates, publishes essential community-generated documentation. Thanks to that classic user interface, the book, hackers can now access the wisdom of their community on the bus, at the beach, or in the bathroom.

"We learned long ago that good, accessible documentation spurs the development of interesting technologies," said Tim O'Reilly, founder and president of O'Reilly & Associates. "And our customers tell us that they want to wrap their hands around a hard copy of the documentation they use, even if it's also available online. Through the O'Reilly Community Press, we'll publish the best of the documentation that emerges from the technical communities we serve."

Unlike classic O'Reilly animal books, which are created to fill an information void, the Community Press titles simply provide convenient printed copies of documentation that is already available online. Although the books must meet O'Reilly's standards for containing clear, useful information, our role is limited to providing manufacturing and distribution services rather than editorial development. Each book reflects the editorial voice and organization of the community that has created it.

As a result, the covers of O'Reilly Community Press titles are distinct from O'Reilly's classic animal books. "The series look is a direct descendent of early O'Reilly Nutshell handbook covers, which featured simple, classic line drawings printed with black ink on nubbly brown paper," said Edie Freedman, O'Reilly's creative director and original cover designer. "The oak tree on the cover of the books in the series represents the organic way the O'Reilly Community Press titles develop. The covers also evoke the books' importance to their communities, for oak trees grace the 'town common' in most New England towns, anchoring the town's gathering place."

The first O'Reilly Community Press title, available in April 2002, is the MySQL Reference Manual. Other books in the pipeline include a new edition of Greg Lehey's The Complete FreeBSD and DocBook, 2nd Edition by Norm Walsh and Lenny Muellner.

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