RTC Quick Start becoming a book, now in beta

The Real-Time Communications (RTC) Quick Start Guide started off as a web site but has recently undergone bookification.

As of today, I'm calling this a beta release, although RTC is a moving target and even when a 1.0 release is confirmed, the book will continue to evolve.

An important aspect of this work is that the book needs to be freely and conveniently available to maximize participation in Free RTC. (This leads to the question of which free license should I choose?)

The intended audience for this book are people familiar with setting up servers and installing packages, IT managers, system administrators and support staff and product managers.

There are other books that already explain things like how to setup Asterisk. The RTC Quick Start Guide takes a more strategic view. While other books discuss low-level details, like how to write individual entries in the Asterisk extensions.conf file, the RTC Quick Start Guide looks at the high level questions about how to create a network of SIP proxies, XMPP servers and Asterisk boxes and how to modularize configuration and distribute it across these different components so it is easier to manage and support.

Some chapters give very clear solutions, such as DNS setup while other chapters present a discussion of issues that are managed differently in each site, such as user and credential storage.

One of the key themes of the book is the balance between Internet architecture and traditional telephony, with specific recommendations about mixing named user accounts with extension numbers.

Many people have tried SIP or XMPP on Linux in the past and either found themselves overwhelmed by all the options in Asterisk (start with a SIP proxy, it is easier) or struggling with NAT issues (this has improved with the introduction of ICE and TURN, explained in a chapter on optimizing connectivity).

The guide also looks at the next generation of RTC solutions based on WebRTC and gives specific suggestions to people deploying it with JSCommunicator.

Help needed

There are many ways people can help with this effort.

The most important thing is for people to try it out. If you follow the steps in the guide, does it help you reach a working solution? Give feedback on the Free RTC mailing list or raise bug reports against any specific packages if they don't work for you.

The DocBook5 source code of the book is is available on Github and people can submit changes as pull requests. There are various areas where help is needed: improvements to the diagrams, extra diagrams and helping add details to the chapter about phones, apps and softphones.

How could the book be made more useful for specific sectors such as ISPs, hosting providers, the higher education sector or other domains that typically lead in the deployment of new technology?

There is a PDF version of the book for download, it has been created using the default templates and stylesheets. How could the appearance be improved? Should I look at options for having it made available in print?

The book is only available in English at the moment, what is the best strategy for supporting translations and engaging with translators?

Are there specific communities or projects that the book should be aligned with, such as The Linux Documentation Project? (Note: RTC is not just for Linux and people use many of these components on BSD-like platforms, Windows, Mac and Android).

Which is the best license to choose to engage contributors and translators and ensure the long term success of the project?

Another great way to help is to create links to the book from other web sites and documents.

Any questions or feedback on these topics would be very welcome through theFree RTC mailing list.