[ubuntu-uk] Why not contribute to Ubuntu Manual

paul sutton zleap at zleap.net
Thu May 10 12:22:02 UTC 2012

On 10/05/12 12:21, Philip Stubbs wrote:
> On 9 May 2012 19:52, Alan Pope <alan.pope at canonical.com> wrote:
>> So my question to you is:-
>> "If you have considered contributing to Ubuntu Manual, but haven't,
>> what's stopped you?"
>> Some reasons might include:-
>> * Lack of time
>> * Lack of motivation
>> * Lack of skill
>> * Difficult to use tools
> Yep, all of them. I did look at getting involved a while back. It
> seemed to me then that doing all the work in LaTeX was a little odd.
> Don't get me wrong, I like LaTeX. 
LaTeX is still very good for publishing, to printed media and pdf
media.  However my LaTeX knowledge still rather minimal.

> But in this instance I am not sure
> it is the correct way to go. Installing LaTeX Live and doing all the
> version control stuff is complicated, especially if you are not a
> programmer who is familiar with the concept.

Agreed,   lets make it easier for end users to write content,   which if
done by users for users it can also reduce problems later on.   The
advantage with latex is that by simply having 2 or 3 tags i can auto
generate both a table of contents and an index.  easily. 
> Why not develop the book as a Wiki? First, anybody with a web browser
> will be able to read and write content. The content can then easily be
> munged into a website, Epub or PDF format.
That sounds a good idea as once you have the actual content,  text +
pictures i think 90% of the work is done,   all you need to do then is
put the mark up in,  so LaTeX can still be used,  for the pdf / printed
book and other formats added to suit. 

Maybe what is needed is an easy way for people to write what is needed
get this written and let the more technical contributors worry about
markup for various formats,  

I could perhaps then submit a set of files e.g  file1.txt plus say
pic1.png pic2.png  and in my text file have

paragraph 1

<note in margin (blah)>

<insert pic1.png>

paragraph 2
<caption - blah>

<Insert pic2.png>
<footnote - blah>

Even if the pics are sent in a specific format and say size,  if large
then the technical author can perhaps then scale / edit to suit the

> This is just a brain fart really. If I had more time, motivation and
> skill, I would hack together a proof of concept.

Well I wrote a very simple how to file for the geany editor,  (its very
simple,  this is just so I could really learn how to do things in LaTeX.
so taking what i did for that and applying to different software should
not be a  problem.

As for getting more contributors maybe we need to advertise for some,
even on the main ubuntu website a banner saying  manual writers needed, 
and then link to the manual site but make it less intimidating, if you
can write something then that should be enough,   if enough people sign
up then it should be possible to collaborate more and then pass things
up a chain each time a different team can add bits till everything is

I am sure there are lots of people who can write,  but less people who
can set up the software. 




skype : psutton111

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