Ubuntu documentation mentioned in article

Rich Johnson nixternal at ubuntu.com
Sat Apr 28 15:18:47 UTC 2007

Information Week wrote up a battle of the desktops between Ubuntu and Vista. 
It was a very fair review in my opinion and they even wrote about our work.

Another area where Ubuntu still needs improvement is documentation -- not just 
the online help manuals, but Ubuntu's own prompts and dialogs. Some of the 
wording in the installation texts assumes knowledge of Linux that might not 
be in evidence, and some things are so skimpily documented they scarcely seem 
to be present at all. For example, the entire section on printing in Ubuntu's 
online documentation for version 6.10 is essentially a link to 
LinuxPrinting.org and the Ubuntu Wiki Printer page. The user-prompt problem 
has been improved a bit since 6.10, but it's still something that needs 
continual attention.

 Ubuntu's user-contributed Wikis are often useful, but they're inconsistent in 
terms of what's covered and how, and they also often assume knowledge on the 
part of the reader which may simply not be there. By contrast, Vista's own 
plain-language documentation for many common system functions has been 
improved a great deal since XP, and they've implemented a system where 
contextual help can be supplemented with newer on-line material. (That and 
they've also made it easier to access the discussion groups used for 
peer-to-peer support.)

This just goes to show how important Topic Based Help really is. The new Vista 
documentation and the way they have it setup is absolutely brilliant. With 
every piece of system documentation there is one of those "didn't find it 
here, search here" dialogs that will usually find the information for you. 
Similar to the Visual Studio help dialogs.

They are right about our wiki's, and our system documentation as well. We need 
to use this as motivation to crank out some killer documentation, and try and 
get together and figure out how to clean up and restructure the wikis as 
well. Yesterday during my Open Week talk everyone had the same comment "what 
is the difference between the wikis? why so confusing?".

Time to hit the blogs I think and try and draw in some more help.

Rich Johnson
nixternal at ubuntu.com
GPG Key: 0x2E2C0124
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