Documentation Project - comments wanted
kfischer at bfki.net
Wed Sep 29 09:26:49 UTC 2004
I seriously think that the quality of user-specific documentation is a
key feature for the success of any Operating System.
Proposal: UBUNTU Documentation Project (UDP)
First Draft, September 2004
The Ubuntu Documentation Project aims at what is considered one major
flaw in the present Ubuntu Linux-Distribution: the Documentation.
While there actually is plenty of technical Documentation available,
there is little to none user-specific documentation available. The goal
of the UDP is:
1. To provide a unified, user-centric documentation for Ubuntu Linux,
later for all Debian-based distributions
2. To provide an introduction to Ubuntu Linux and provide some special
notes to switchers from Windows/MacOS
3. Create some easily understandable guides for the most common tasks
like “Ubuntu Overview”,“Connecting to the Internet”, “Printing, Faxing,
Scanning”, “Setting up a local Network”
A Two-Layered Approach
To reach the goal of a user-centric documentation I propose the
1. Creation of the UDP’s core team. The core team should be no more
than three to five members, each a native speaker of one of the main
languages like English, Spanish, German, French, Russian or Chinese
(this needs to be discussed, I guess). Main language for the UDP will
be English. I strongly recommend having non-developers with some
writing experience, i.e. journalists or authors, as core members.
2. The principal Documentation Layout will be specified, as well as
which Tools and Templates for creating and browsing documentation will
be used and supported. This will be examined and decided by said core
team, in strong cooperation with the Ubuntu development team.
3. The Core Team will thereafter create an initial draft for the guides
mentioned above and a priority list for the Ubuntu documentation.
4. The UDP will then be driven largely by volunteers in their
languages, coordinated and supervised by said core team. The core team
will be responsible for releasing the documentation packages and
providing updates, addendums and errata’s for existing documentation.
The process of creating any kind of documentation will be separated
from the development process. The developer will not be the one
responsible for the documentation of the software. The documenter will
write this. Of course there will be a lot of communication between
documenter and developer, preferably early during development, so the
documenter can describe the features of the software being developed
By using this methods the UDP should be able to create and maintain a
complete set of documentation, which will be in itself consistent for
all supported languages and furthermore is using the same phrasing and
technical terms throughout one language-set, providing an easy and
complete Guide for using Ubuntu Linux and later on any Debian-based
Creation of the UDP’s Core Team 2-4 Weeks
Specification of Doc. Layout, Tools etc 2 Weeks
Initial Draft for the Guides 1-2 Weeks
Priority List 2-3 Weeks
Release of the Guides (core team languages) 1 Month
Release of the Ubuntu Documentation 1 Month-??
(core team languages)
Release of Debian Documentation 2-6 Months
(Pretty optimistic, isn’t it?)
Perhaps it might be a good idea to provide some kind of funding for
UDP’s core team so that they can work on this full-time, at least until
the initial release has been completed. Since the final goal of the UDP
is “to provide a unified, user-centric documentation for Ubuntu Linux,
later for all Debian-based distributions” we could try to set up a
UDP-Fund to cover the necessary expenses so that any number of sponsors
and donators might be able to contribute to the UDP.
© 2004 Karsten Fischer
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