A chap called Dixon Crews has posted to reddit’s maths section asking for help with a writing project.
He’s writing an open source calculus text, based at OpenCalculus.org, which is aimed at students in their first semester of study. All the LaTeX source code is available in a repository at GitHub, so anyone with a working knowledge of version control can clone it and start adding material. He’s only a few pages in so far, so there’s plenty to do. It looks like a hobby project more than something serious.
This is by no means the first open source calculus textbook, or even the first one called Open Calculus. Matt Boelkins has been quietly plugging away at his Open Calculus for about a year. Matt’s doing things in a more rigorous manner – his textbook is currently available on request, and will only be more easily available once it’s been tested. Benjamin Crowell’s Calculus is also on GitHub and looks a lot more like a commercial textbook than other open textbooks, which tend not to elaborate on the default LaTeX style. Finally, there’s the Oppikirjamaraton, which produced a Finnish high school maths textbook in a weekend.
There’s actually a lot of work being done to create and collate open course material for maths. The American Institute of Mathematics has an Open Textbook Initiative which maintains a list of approved texts, and Rob Beezer keeps his own list of material at the site for his (reputedly very good) First Course in Linear Algebra.
There’s also, of course, the Wikibooks project’s maths section, and Project Gutenberg’s fantastic collection of lovingly reset out-of-copyright maths textbooks, mentioned here way back in April.
Via MathUpdate on Twitter.