Ubuntu Cookbook Status/Future

Herman Bos hbos at osso.nl
Wed Mar 22 16:44:04 UTC 2006


Following up on the meeting this afternoon at 12:00 UTC.

There was some discussion about the Edubuntu Cookbook. It became
apparent that there was a misunderstanding about the use and purpose of
the book. Besides that the progress on the book is too slow at the
moment, something that has to change to get it up and ready for Dapper.

The book is currently managed by Jeffrey Elkner and Kevin Cole.

Several weeks ago I requested information in the worksheet to reflect
the current progress. Unfortunately they couldn't manage that. Which
resulted in that I proposed to get this status available myself during
the meeting today so that its clear what is done, what needs more
attention and what still needs to be done.

Elkner also offered me to take over the managing for the Cookbook but I
want to make clear first what work needs to be done and that we are
working to the same direction. Hence this e-mail.

During the meeting, Elkner said that he was working on several hacks
which work or solve problems in his situation. And that their main focus
was this. It is important to note that if this is suppose to official
documentation it should be written in the "Ubuntu way" and that it
cannot consist of random hacks which solve a particular problem in a
specific case.

A good example of documentation in the "Ubuntu way" is the Ubuntu server
guide. Which is available in the System -> Help menu in Dapper. I
propose we use this an example how we want the Edubuntu cookbook to end
up and the way we want to offer solutions and give explanation.

The aim that I see for the Edubuntu Cookbook is making people with very
basic computing knowledge able to set up an Edubuntu environment. These
basics are most important in my eyes and after we finish this part we
can start thinking about some extra chapters. Although I think that if
it strays of too much of the default Edubuntu purpose and capabilities
it should just find its place on the wiki instead of the Cookbook. This
to keep the cookbook simple clear and avoid effort duplication with
Ubuntu documentation.

I think the Cookbook is already structured pretty well. Besides the
current index I think an Appendix is at place with more explaination on
several topics like "how can I tell if a network card is PXE or
etherboot". This to avoid complex explainations in the chapters itself
(to keep it readable and clear).

I will now get a list of all chapters and their current status.

Part I Appetizers

1. Introduction
This part looks fine. However it might need a little adjustment
depending on the result of this discussion. Elkner and Cole are
currently working on it. Do you guys consider it finished?

2. Background
This chapter looks pretty good, although I would prefer some why the
hell is Edubuntu here, as well. Elkner and Cole working on this. Do you
guys consider it finished?

3. Philosophy
Nothing here yet. Edubuntu Philosophy!

4. Goals
Nothing here yet. The goals of Edubuntu and this book.

5. Testimonials
Nothing here yet.

Part II Entres

6. Getting started
This chapters needs a serious overhaul. It goes way to technical in the
beginning something that could be moved to appendix if it is found
really necessary. But I think a large part can be scraped out.

7. Thin-Client Computing
This chapter is directly taken from the Tuxlab cookbook but I think the
first part of it needs some repositioning. It is more advocacy and
explaination of the thin client model then something after getting
started. The second part hardware seems at place though. Comments please.

8. Walkthrough
Also from Tuxlab. Its nice and all but a bit out of place. needs discussion.

9. Hardware requirements
I wrote this part. Basicly finished. Needs a second check for

10. Networking
This one obviously needs discussion. I don't feel there is need for
Edubuntu to explain how to make UTP cables. We should limit the scope.

11. Server Configuration
From Cookbook. Needs serious overhaul. Ubuntunized rewrite and should
cover installation.

Part III Main Courses
12. General Software
This should be rewritten. Its start off with a few moo cow lines that
don't make sense and then tells history of the main software components.

13. Educational Software
This is quite good. But should remove not in repository available
software references and more software (there is much more available).

14. Common tasks
Nothing here. I imagine thing like security updates?

15. Backups
Nothing here.

16. Day-to-day classroom use
Nothing here.

Part IV Desserts
This part is currently one page called Expanding.  This part needs
serious love. I changed the chapters a bit. Upgrading should give
detailed upgrade instructions. Training needs some discussion. I added
the support chapter to explain where support is available.
17. Upgrading
18. Training
19. Support
20. How to contribute to Edubuntu)

This part is currently not in the index but I absolutely think it should
be there.
I suggest the following at least, suggestions are welcome.

* Glossary
* How can I tell if a card is PXE or Etherboot

Above is the current status of Cookbook as I see it.

I want to make clear that in the current way it won't be finished on
time. I would like to restructure it make sure we have  a clear focus
and scope.

Considering the above I am willing to take over the Edubuntu cookbook
management and organise all of this if kjcole, jelkner, ogra and janew
agree. And if some more people show interest in contributing to the

We need a meeting where we
  * Seriously limit the scope.
  * Define what needs to be in every chapter.
  * Get a clear schedule with deadlines.

After this we can call out for community contributions.

Ofcourse I will write a part of it but even then it will need
contributions from others. I think the Edubuntu community is large
enough to provide in this. But if other contributions don't come,.. at
least don't expect it to finished for dapper.

However I believe that with some real teamwork here we can make it
happen for dapper.

I might have forgotten to cover some parts and this is already a quite
lengthy email. So let the discussion begin.

Note that this e-mail is not to discuss how work was being done up till
now, but about how we can make it happen in time for dapper and what
needs to be done. It will cost a significant amount of time to
accomplish this.


Herman Bos
hbos at ubuntu.com
hbos at osso.nl

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