At the 2008 k12openminds conference several of us talked about how valuable it would be to have some sort of guide for doing an open source deployment.

--A success story--
The problem is not that writing is so much like work; the problem is finding people for whom writing is fun. Just look at .

Last summer, Sugar Labs worked on it's documentation challenge. We had many half completed guides, helps, and howtos spread across the wiki.

Sugar Labs decided to work with the One Laptop Per Child project to jointly produce manuals for Sugar, the XO and several Sugar activities. The Glue that held us together was Floss manuals.

--The Process--
The premise behind Floss Manuals is for writers to collaborate via a wiki. The wiki provides a number of work-flow enhancements which facilitate collaborative authoring of print ready books.

For the Sugar Labs/OLPC/Floss Manual documents, we held a physical sprint. Walter Bender(Sugar Labs), Adam Hyde (Floss Manual), Adam Holt (OLPC), and I met in Austin, Texas with Anne Gentle(Sugar/XO Manuals Champion) to coordinate the writing. Anne engaged several professional technical writers and Austin area XO users to fill out the groups. The Adams (Holt and Hyde) facilitated off-site participants who helped out on their areas of expertise.

We spent 5 days writing together in a conference room provided by an Austin area tech firm. We started writing based on a chapter list and outlines we had developed prior to the sprint. Each person started writing about what they knew. As the week progress, sections were passed around and edited by several different participants. At each edit, the sections improved and grew more complete.

By Friday, we had a document that was ready to ship. It was not perfect, but it was good enough to release. Over the last two months, writers and editors have added an improved the original release. One Laptop Per Child is including the manuals in their upcoming 'Give 1, Get 1' promotion.

--Deployment Guide--
Floss Manuals has a built in mechanism for remixing chapters. As a result, we do not need to overly concern ourselves with the scope of the documents. We can remix the document depending on the constituency we are trying to reach.

1. Possible chapter can include:
2. Open Source background
3.Appealing to constituents for support.
a. Teachers
b. Parents
c. School Board
d. School Administration.
e. District Technical Support.
3. Types of deployments
a. Laptops
b. Thin clients
c. USB keys
4. Size of deployments
a. Large
b. Medium
c. Small
5. Case studies of current successful deployments
6. ....

--Action Items--
Find document champion. The most critical requirement is a document champion. Ann Gentle was the document champion for the Sugar manuals.
Create Outline. The outline provides the central point of focus around which we focus.
Determine Venue. For this effort, Indiana makes good sense.
Determine Schedule.
Engage Participants.

In an mail thread, Steve indicated concern about the feasibility of physically assembling key participants for several days. While I believe that the physical sprint was a key to the success of the Sugar Manuals, Adam Hyde mentioned that we could try a virtual sprint.