Wiki ideas

Sean Wheller sean at
Wed Mar 30 06:53:40 UTC 2005

Hello Mark,

While you are on the issue of wiki.

We have a problem where documentation is being done in both wiki and in 
docbook xml.  Both wiki and docbook have their pros and cons. I don't really 
want to get into these now because it would require a long message and 
probably start a flame war.

The wiki work is plain for everyone to see. Wiki has a low barrier to entry 
and enables people who do not know docbook to easily write something and 
contribute. Yet, as you may know, it is notoriously difficult to port wiki to 
other formats and makes for a less than automated process when it comes to 

Our docbook work is stored in svn. We can control it very well and are in the 
process of automating the generation of pot and po files for i18n. However, 
svn and docbook are a barrier to entry too high for many users.

For hoary we have done a Quick Guide, Release Notes and About Ubuntu document. 
They can be seen here:

We have a number of projects on the cards for grumpy and would like to make it 
possible for many more people to contribute to them. We are a small team in 
comparison to the most distros. What we want is the stability and consistency 
of docbook with the ease of access and editing provided by a wiki front end.

This would entail a system where a web-based frontend can be used as a docbook 
editor and where modifications made to the 'web working copy' can be patched 
to our repos. From there the work is generated into formats for wiki. I call 
it round tripping.

See this thread for more information:

<blue-sky>I envision that such a system would integrate with tools such as 
Rosetta, automatically creating POT files and pushing them into Rosetta and 
automatically retrieving PO files back.</blue-sky>

I would like to make this possible as it would harness the power of both 
technologies and provide major benefits to the rate at which we can all 
develop documentation. It should increase the number of contributors we see 
and also increase the quality and consistency of the work and enable a 
greater number of formats to be easily derived. 

Any questions let me know or we can discuss on IRC #ubuntu-doc.


Sean Wheller (aka froud)
Technical Author
sean at
Registered Linux User #375355
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