future of the Ubuntu Packaging Guide

Reinhard Tartler siretart at ubuntu.com
Thu Sep 13 08:38:06 BST 2007

"Jordan Mantha" <mantha at ubuntu.com> writes:

> On 9/12/07, Reinhard Tartler <siretart at ubuntu.com> wrote:
>> Have you considered moving the Ubuntu Packaging Guide to a debian
>> package? They are using a docbook variant called 'DebianDoc', which
>> seems to work for them. Would that work perhaps for us as well, given
>> that the Packaging guide is already in docbook format?
> [...] that's what we've been doing basically. We have the packaging
> guide in docbook and produce a packaging-guide .deb from it. The
> problem is that that hasn't really worked very well, IMO.

Oh, I'm sorry. Until now, I wasn't aware of the 'packaging-guide'
package in the archive. I think we should advertise that more,
especially to our mentors and motu-applicants!

Having said this, I'd have 3 ideas:

  1. move the packaging guide to a bzr branch hosted in launchpad in the
     ubuntu-dev team.

  2. Ask every new MOTU-applicant to contribute (at least) a small patch
     to the text.

  3. Leave the text in docbook. Generate the html, pdf, etc version of
     it daily and publish it to some webserver. (I think this is alredy
     done. At least chapter 1 of the packaging-guide indicates the HTML
     and PDF were at http://help.ubuntu.com. However, I couldn't find it
     within 2 minutes of searching. A direct link would be helpful here.)

Rationale for 1: This way every ubuntu-developer is able to commit
changes directely to the source. I think this lowers the barriers for
ubuntu developers to contribute. This would most probably require the
packaging guide to be split of the 'ubuntu-docs' source package.

Rationale for 2: This way we ensure that the package is both visible,
noticed and actually read. By requiring contributions we have a good
chance to constantly improve the text. Depending on how this idea is
implemented, this can help to teach using bzr. [1]

Rationale for 3: This way we ensure that there is an always up-todate
version of the document without having to upload the package after each

Conclusion: My ideas are a bit about improving our recruitement
process. Let's consider how the packaging guide can be helpful here.

[1] I envision the following (possible) workflow: since the contributors
have no access to the ubuntu-dev's team branch (yet), we ask them to
branch it to their personal branch store, and commit there. His mentor
will then compare the diff against the team's branch and the
contributors for easy reviewing. If the contribution is worthwile, the
mentor pushes the new revision to the team branch. The changes will be
visible at the next automatic update at night, see idea 3.

Reinhard Tartler, KeyID 945348A4
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