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Interview with Adam Hyde of Booktype

by Donald Robertson Contributions Published on Mar 21, 2013 04:17 PM
This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

In this edition, we interviewed Adam Hyde via email. Adam is a knowledge production consultant. He is the founder of Booktype -- a book production platform released under AGPLv3, as well as Book Sprints, and FLOSS Manuals. Adam lives between Whangarei Heads, New Zealand, Berlin, and the road.

What is Booktype?

It is an online book production platform. It is suited to single author and collaborative production. It is designed with a low threshold for entry and is a bona fide end-to-end solution, taking care of book creation through export to book formats like EPUB, book formatted PDF, etc.

What inspired you to create Booktype?

We needed it for FLOSS Manuals (FM). With FM we had a growing community and we needed an online book production system to manage collaborative production. So we built one first on top of TWiki and then as a standalone application in Django.

How far along with the project are you?

It works and is available and quite sophisticated. It's at 1.5 but 2.0 isn't that far away. There will always be improvements but it's pretty good as is.

What features do you think really sets Booktype apart from similar software?

It is easy to use and it uses 100% free software. We have, for example, held out against pressure to use proprietary PDF renderers (namely PrinceXML) which other "open source" softwares use. We instead ended up building our own which is better than any alternatives whether free or proprietary -- it's called BookJS and can run independent of Booktype.

Why did you choose the GNU Affero GPL version 3 as Booktype's license?

Because we wished the code to remain free. It's that simple.

How can users (technical or otherwise) help contribute to Booktype?

They can write to me directly and we can work out how to get them started.

What's the next big thing for Booktype?

A move to content-editable editors instead of What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. That really changes the game.

Please see the Booktype entry in the Free Software Directory for more information.

Enjoyed this interview? Check out our previous entry in this series featuring Matthieu Aubry of Piwik.

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