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Bring on the Crazy: Zero to Book in Five Days

Well, since my team mate Everett has outed me as crazy (yes, it’s true), I think I’ve got some ‘splaining to do! It’s true, we’re crazy, but we’ve got to write that operator’s guide — for operators by operators. And if you know ops folks like I do, you realize quickly that these guys have hardly any time to write down their notes! We’re going to pluck them from their day jobs, fuel them with coffee, BBQ, and TexMex, and get to writing.

I’ve run doc sprints for OpenStack at various times on different scales, but this one is highly focused. So highly focused in fact that I’ve turned down people who wanted to attend but hadn’t run clouds day-to-day. Sorry guys! Super hyper focus, blinders on.

I had originally put the proposal together for the Google Summer of Code Doc Summit, which I attended in 2011, but out of 30+ applying organizations, we weren’t selected. Undaunted, I revised the proposal for the OpenStack Foundation to consider, and they are funding it!
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We’re gathering in the Willie Nelson room at the Austin Rackspace office next week, and we’re going to try a tool called BookType, hosted by Source Fabric. It’s the same tool I’ve worked with for book sprints with FLOSS Manuals, and it’s made specifically for sprinting. We’re using a pre-installed instance of it at http://openstack.booktype.pro. If you look at it today, it’s empty except for a Test book sandbox. By next week it’ll be bursting with content! The outline we’re working with to start is at https://etherpad.openstack.org/EssexOperationsGuide. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed it and commented so far.

You all are welcome to watch our progress next week at at http://openstack.booktype.pro and offer editing and reviewing as we go. Please realize it’s a pressure cooker of a week, and a real challenge. I’m saying, be helpful and encouraging so we can be productive and accurate. Once we’re done, ship it! We’ll have copies of the book available (likely for a donation initially to cover costs) by the end of next week.

If you want to hear all the gory details, we have a few opportunities. Next week, if you’re in Austin, come see us at the Austin OpenStack Meetup on Wednesday night. Then, at the Summit, we want to bare our souls at a panel titled, On Writing the OpenStack Operations Manual in 5 Days. Come see if we are crazy, or driven there this week.

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