FLOSS Manuals was launched in 2007 to remedy the deficit of good free documentation about Free Software. Our strategy since the beginning has been to develop communities to produce high quality free manuals about Free Software in their own language. Today we have more than 120 books in more than 30 languages and more than 3,000 contributors over 5 independent language communities (French, English, Farsi, Dutch, Finnish). In 2011 the FLOSS Manuals Foundation (FMF) was created to provide resources and support to all language community groups, start new language communities, and oversee the operations of the FM network in general.

Adam Hyde started FLOSS Manuals while a digital artist. Adam had made a living running workshops on free software all over the world and had accumulated a lot of support material in the form of workshop manuals. In 2005 this material was put into a wiki with the help of Aleksandar Erkalovic and Lotte Meijer did the design. In 2006 Lotte Meijer and Adam Hyde applied for and recieved funding from Digital Pioneers to extend FLOSS Manuals. Thus the development and design of FLOSS Manuals as it is now started in 2006. This is the same year the Foundation was registered. Several digital artists were commissioned to write manuals on Audacity, Gimp, Blender, and PureData.

The actual site wasn't ready until May 2007. The first unsolicited edit on the site was in July 2007. FLOSS Manuals was officially launched at a party at Montevideo Time Based Arts (Amsterdam) in October 2007. In 2008 we created the Farsi version of FLOSS Manuals (http://fa.flossmanuals.net) and started our first Book Sprints.