I love it when a pet project comes together

Especially when I don’t have to do all that much work. Let me explain …

Last year, I got the idea to put together a FLOSS Manual that covers Chromium, the Open Source version of Google’s Chrome Web browser. When I approached Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals about writing this manual at the book sprint at Toronto Open Source Week, he was intrigued.

But Adam strongly suggested that the sprint focus on Thunderbird, instead. Having annoyed Adam enough in the past, I complied. Mainly to keep the peace, and partly because I was interested in documenting Thunderbird.

Until earlier this year, the Chromium manual sat on the back burner waiting for me to find the time to start it. That’s when Edward Cheung, a student from Seneca College’s technical communication program, got in touch with me. Edward was wondering if there was a FLOSS Manuals project he could contribute to. In a case of being careful of what you wish for, I had one for him!

Working together, we created a table of contents and Edward put together a project plan. Then I cut him loose. After a lot of work, the manual got written and finalized. The results are better than pretty good — heck, I even learned a thing or two about Chromium!

Edward did a bang up job pulling this manual together. What impressed me most is that Edward took a lot of the initiative after I cut him loose. There was no hand holding. He gathered information, approached subject matter experts, and wrote most of the manual himself.

I wasn’t just someone barking orders. I did some writing — mostly the sections of the manual that cover Linux. But Edward did the bulk of the work. And he did it with minimal supervision. He only approached me when he had some questions or ran into a problem. Which wasn’t too often.

And I have to extend a big thank you to Mark Hancock who helped edit the manual. Mark’s edits really helped tighten up the text and helped keep it consistent.

The final edits and cleanup were completed last week, and overall the manual is looking good. If you’re interested in reading it, you can find it here.

Taking a break

It’s that time of year again. We’re taking a much-needed break over the next couple of weeks to relax and recharge.

So, that means there won’t be any new posts in this space until January 3. That said, we’ll be highlighting some of our favourite posts from 2010 over the next week or so. Enjoy.