leadership A new community for open source writers

Both.org is an excellent resource for learning about Linux, programming, and open source software.

We recently interviewed David Both about how he writes books about Linux. David also hosts an open community website at Both.org where writers can contribute articles about open source software, covering a variety of topics. We asked David about this new website and how new writers can share their own story.

Recently, you've opened up your website to other tech writers to write about Linux and open source software. Why the change?

Yes, I started my Both.org website about 20 years ago as a blog. I mostly posted about Linux projects I was working on. When I wrote my first book, I changed it a little by reworking it into my author's web site. I used it to post information about my books such as announcements for new titles, information about speaking events and book signings, and a few entries to correct errata in the books.

I had been posting most of my articles on Opensource.com which was supported by Red Hat and had around 2 million hits a year. We called it OSDC for short. OSDC was a great place for writers to publish articles relating to open source software, products, processes, and more. OSDC engendered a great deal of camaraderie amongst its writers and staff. Those of us who could, usually met up at All Things Open in Raleigh each year, so many of us became friends.

Last April in 2023, Red Hat announced they were no longer going to post new content there and the sister publications, including Enable SysAdmin and Enable Architect. To pound that nail in even further, Red Hat fired almost all of the employees working on those sites.

Soon after that some of us were on a Jitsi meeting discussing how to proceed and if we even wanted to. We had some ideas, and another site dedicated to open source offered to help us build a new site similar to OSDC. That has not worked out, and some of us on another Jitsi meeting were trying to decide what the next step would be. We did know that we didn't want to lose the great things we had at OSDC, especially the community.

So just off the top of my head, I said that I had lots of computers, a fast 1 gigabit fiber connection, and I would be willing to host on my site. Our core group of five were all in favor and we made some initial plans to get started.

Within a day, we had started posting articles we didn't want to lose from OSDC.

We also posted some new content as well as some that had been intended for OSDC but that hadn't yet been published. We are currently working to contact writers who have previously published on OSDC to contribute to Both.org and have had some success with that. We currently have some articles scheduled as a result of that effort about Git, Docker, Drupal, and more.

All the content on OSDC was CC-by-SA so writers could republish their material at Both.org.

I use WordPress for all my web sites and that made it easy to find a new theme that better met the needs of the revised Both.org. We've been tuning the look and feel as we proceed and we're all very proud of it. We think it's one of the best looking and most usable technical web sites we've ever seen.

Can anyone contribute an article to Both.org? What topics can people write about?

The site could not be as amazing and cool as we want it to be without a range of diverse writers feeding us a steady stream of diverse content.

We are a completely volunteer organization and, with no corporate sponsors to answer to, we can publish a wider range of topics than OSDC could. For example we hope to publish articles about topics and distributions that would not have been at OSDC. To do that we need a lot of writers to contribute. So any of you reading this, if you have any inclination to write about Free Open Source Software (FOSS) or any other topics related to open source, open organizations, or anything else that aligns with the concepts of "open" as in open source, please contact us with your article ideas.

We are looking for writers who are passionate about open source and want to share their knowledge with readers who are just as passionate.

What's the process for someone to contribute an article to Both.org?

First-time contributors can submit ideas to open@both.org. Our editors will review those and select ones that are appropriate to our site. We'll work with authors to get their completed articles submitted. We'll edit the submissions, suggesting changes and getting the article ready for publication.

I suggest that anyone who is considering submitting an article read our Write for us page for a more detailed description. We also have a few suggestions as to the type of content we're looking for. That's certainly not a complete listing but it can provide a starting point.

Both.org is an excellent resource for learning about Linux, programming, and open source software. The editors at Both.org welcome everyone to share their own story about open source software and open source communities.