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O'Reilly Releases DocBook: The Definitive Guide Under the GNU License

by Norman Walsh, Leonard Muellner

This change in licensing allows DocBook users worldwide to update, translate, and reuse the official reference documentation for DocBook. The XML sources for the book have been checked into the DocBook project at SourceForge. The DocBook project is an open source project to develop and revise DocBook-based software and documentation.

The Free Software Foundation's Bradley Kuhn said, "We believe that books on Free Software need to be Free (as in freedom). We are going to encourage people to buy this free manual from O'Reilly, and thus reward both the publisher and the authors for contributing to the community. We look forward to such contributions in the future."

The first edition of the book was published by O'Reilly in October 1999. A free online version has been available since that date on Oasis (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) and on The book was also translated into French by Sebastien Blondeel and Pierre Zanettacci and published by Editions O'Reilly in Paris earlier this year.

If you are an author of structured documents, and not a developer, Michael Smith says Don't Learn XML. In this article, find out why he recommends an alternate course of study: DocBook.

DocBook: The Definitive Guide is the official reference documentation for DocBook in the open source community and elsewhere. The most recent, alpha version of DocBook: The Definitive Guide is available from the Definitive Guide home page. Aside from the change in copyright, this version contains updates to the latest version of DocBook 4.0 as well as contributions by Bob Stayton, a member of the DocBook software group. For more information about DocBook, the best source is the official DocBook home page at OASIS.

O'Reilly has indicated that it plans to keep this book in print and they also plan to publish revised versions. Future editions will also conform to the GNU FDL v1.1 or later.

Norman Walsh Norman Walsh is an engineer in the XML Technology Center at Sun Microsystems, Inc. Norm is an active participant in a number of standards efforts worldwide, including the XML Core; XSL and XML Schema Working Groups of the World Wide Web Consortium; the OASIS XSLT Conformance and RELAX NG Committees; the OASIS Entity Resolution Committee, for which he is the editor; and the OASIS DocBook Technical Committee, which he chairs.

Leonard Muellner is O'Reilly's Manager of Production Tools, and he has been implementing and supporting the production of O'Reilly books marked up in DocBook since 1994.

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