ubuntu-doc Digest, Vol 34, Issue 5

Monkey Boy monkeyboythom at gmail.com
Fri Jul 6 18:55:23 UTC 2007

Mr. East,
I feel your pain. I have worked in Information Development for over 15
years. I used to work for IBM, going from simple technical hardware guides
to developing the scenario guide for WebSphere 5.0. I've gone from IBM's
docbook to SGML to DITA. Trying to customize documentation to suit one's
needs is still a pain point. Sometimes I feel I can build a server from
scratch much easier than collating five authors' comments into one document.

That being said, I am a new convert to Ubuntu. Fiesty piqued my interest and
after testing it, I have become a quiet evangelist. However, I feel Ubuntu
is close to the perfect YMAD (Your Mom and Dad) OS concept but not close
enough. So in any way I can, I want to help make Ubuntu the best it can be.

I haven't dug deep enough to see the Gnome material in raw docbook format to
fully understand and offer a solution at this time. However, I can make some
1) Less linking to the Internet-based wiki. If you are just trying Ubuntu
out, you may not be able to get connected to Ethernet or wi-fi. It is kind
of saying, please email the helpdesk if you think the network is down. A
quick, concise, local [machine] guide should be available as the home page
of Firefox start up in Ubuntu.

2) Need a easier transition from Windows. Mr. Shuttleworth is taking the
high road of championing Ubuntu or nothing as the machine OS. He needs to
take that position as leader of Canonical because dual-boot means having the
competition living in the same house and worrying over legacy issues that
would force a user to restart in Windows instead of always in Ubuntu.
However, at the ground level, we need to think of just such a scenario. The
targets of weaning Windows users are both the YMADS and the Gamers.

Business, while the lucrative side of desktop OS, needs a whole different
paradigm for implementation. But like the private side, there are only two
different camps to deal with: small, and medium/large businesses. Small
businesses can be treated like the private, home use where Ubuntu Just
Works(tm) and medium/large businesses need the safety of rigorous validation
and image [ISO] security. I feel transition in the large corporate
environment would be of the cold turkey environment where laptop MS images
are swapped out completely for Ubuntu and there would be no dual boot.

But getting back to the point is that the hearts and minds Ubuntu has to win
over works best by offering transition. The documentation and UI process for
installing Ubuntu as a second OS has to be better than 7.04. It is very
close but not yet there. The solution is to have a more graphical and
understandable installation UI. Also, a PDF, clearly marked on the Ubuntu
site and in the Windows UI (using the Live CD while in Windows), is
recommended. The PDF would be something of a quick guide that shows in
screen shots what the installation process goes through and in the
beginning, helps the installation process by asking the user to record
installation information found in Windows. (Go *here* and write down the
information where it tells you how much RAM you have, what is the name of
your video card, etc.)

By involving Windows users in Windows-based information gathering and
tidying up (like defragmentation), it will prepare the user and make them
feel comfortable that there will be a safety net in all this. Yes, we want
them to eventually forget all about Windows and be a single OS booting
family but we have to realistically draw the very large MS based person away
from the OS in a manner that reassures the user.

3) Cleanly overlay Ubuntu on Debian and Gnome. In the YMAD world, these
folks want to believe in the Just Works philosophy of getting on the
Internet, reading email, and using media like DVDs, camera images, and basic
office  documents in a secure yet simple way. Most, if not all will not use
an OS when they are confronted with actually creating code to fix or
completing a task. They want the OS to either run an update or repair
natively or show them in a simple, easy to understand UI how to do it for
themselves. In the same way, if we have missing, erroneous, or conflicting
documentation, then this group will go back to Windows.

We also need to take the fanboy style out of the equation for this beginners
user group. The simple user does not need to have "do it yourself, gramps,
or just go back to Windows, loser" flung in their face when they venture as
far as to asking a question on a forum. They took a lot of initiative to
just ask the question. Having a bad community experience will push them back
into Windows forever. Also, if the documentation is not clear for their
level, then they will go back too.

How to overlay cleanly? Docbook tagging seems to be the easiest solution.
Like I said before, I have not dug deep enough to make a viable and educated
guess has to how it would work. But I do believe a centralized tagging
schema could build a better docbook. Where Ubuntu deviates from Debian and
Gnome, the building process should recognize the deviations and overwrite
the base level documentation. Also tagging the information according to
level of expertise would help. At build time, it will not cost that much
more space in the CD (unless further restricted by the overall package size
requirements of 700MB) to build separate guides for MS Family transition, MS
power user, and Linux user.

I envision an Ubuntu future where there is a guide for weening a family user
off of Windows completely. Perhaps as soon as they decide they want a new
computer and want to migrate their own Ubuntu environment to the new system.

I hope I haven't bored anyone to tears or written something overly long here
but I want to let people know that I want to help and I am looking for spots
that can use my expertise most effectively.

Best regards,
Thom Wiley (aka Monkeyboythom)

On 7/5/07, ubuntu-doc-request at lists.ubuntu.com <
ubuntu-doc-request at lists.ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Today's Topics:
>    1. Help with integrating Gnome docs into Ubuntu (Matthew East)
> Hi there,
> To: Gnome doc lists
> Cc: Ubuntu Gnome maintainers, Ubuntu doc list
> I'm looking for some advice.
> In Ubuntu, during the last release we incorporated the Gnome user guide
> into the structure of our documentation. This has the advantage that we
> don't have to worry about recreating the wheel and can use the excellent
> material from upstream.
> The basic problem we are having though is that Ubuntu customises quite a
> lot of Gnome, and as a result the Gnome documentation is wrong, and we
> need to correct it.

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