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Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Introducing myself


Hi Hal, :-)

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 09:13, Hal Parker <halparker42@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 05:03, Hal Parker <halparker42@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Why aren't we using the OOoAuthors website for tracking development? It
>> > seems well set up for that, and a lot less confusing (at least for me) to
>> > tell what the latest version of a chapter is.
>>
>> Well not everyone agrees that it's the best place to track
>> development, for various reasons.

The prime mover behind oooauthors.org is Jean Weber, who is a really
dedicated contributor with valuable editor and publishing experience.
I must admit I have great regard for her. She would make a perfect
team lead for documentation for LibreOffice, but does not feel like
taking on the role.

My personal reasons for not yet being convinced that oooauthors.org is
the best place to centralize the LibreOffice docs team work are these:

1) There are products that should be evaluated, such as Alfresco
(http://www.alfresco.com/), which might be a more up-to-date approach
to collaborating on documentation.

2) Oooauthors.org is, AFAIK, hosted on consumer-grade hosting, yet
houses a very large database with lots of essential information, and
the fruits of contributors' hard work (as far as documentation is
concerned). AFAIK, the database is never backed up. If, for any
reason, the site went belly up, we'd be sunk. The site itself seems to
need a *little* technical love and attention - people sometimes
encounter little glitches.

Really, it would be better if the site were moved to the TDF/OOodevs
De server, where it would be administered by experienced geeks who
would solve all the problems and keep things safe. But that won't
happen unless the domain name changes to a TDF domain, and
oooauthors.org does not agree to that. So there seems to be a deadlock
there at the present time.

3) I feel that the LibreOffice documentation project would do better
to develop its own workflow, without being bound to an outside party
such as oooauthors.org (or even odfauthors.org, or whatever). This is
partly a matter of pure prejudice, but also because I feel we should
have all our expertise "in-house". I wish Jean would make the switch
and join us 100%...

At the present time, there seems to be no clear consensus about these
things among contributors. The only real consensus among docs
contributors *who actually do work* for LibreOffice seems to be that
ODT/ODF should be the central medium for production, with other
formats being provided as well for final output.

> Fair enough, but you do need *some* way to track things while you're working
> out your ongoing workflow. I notice you didn't answer my (unquoted)
> questions about how to tell who is working on what or whether I have the
> latest version of a chapter. Is the wiki page for Documentation/Development
> kept up to date?

This is a problem. At the moment, any kind of organized work on docs
is entirely dependent on people being sufficiently disciplined to
update the few pages we have keeping track of docs changes. It *can*
be done via the wiki, but the wiki is not a really good medium for
changes management, workflow automation, etc.

Attention is urgently needed to this problem.

>> > I find the Documentation section of the wiki very confusing. Would anyone
>> > mind if I make some changes so things are easier to find? I know it's a
>> > wiki, but being a newcomer here I don't want to tread on anyone's toes.
>>
> Sorry. I had in mind to add a few links from one page to another, and maybe
> a heading or two, not major reorganisation. Do I need to detail all of those
> minor items here before doing them? I understand the need to discuss major
> changes first.

LibreOffice aims to be meritocracy-driven. The guy who actively starts
doing the work gets to lead the way. Therefore, if you've time and
inclination to take a lead role in this, and you have ideas that get a
consensus of agreement after consulting the team, you can make the
difference. So feel free to take action. The only point I'm trying to
make is that it is better to consult the other contributors first, and
get *some kind* of green light.

I have full wiki admin permissions, so if there's anything I can do to
assist you or facilitate things, feel free to contact me on- or
off-list, and I will do my utmost to cooperate.

I'm concerned about these issues, like you. But for the next week or
so, I'm putting a lot of work into the libreoffice.org website which,
IMHO, is an even more urgent need. So I've temporarily put on hold my
own efforts to address exactly the same issues you're talking about.
But I *will* be thinking more about this. ;-)

>> b) If per chance this is your first Open Source project, you might be
>> surprised to find for every idea you find totally obvious and a
>> no-brainer, there are half a dozen other people who think quite
>> differently and have other ideas. :-D
>>
> I've noticed. :-)

They're cats, mate! :-D They all run in different directions! The
LibreOffice SC is currently seems to be applying a policy of "hacker
anarchy" and laissez-faire. So it's not easy to organize things. If
you think you can manage it, go for it, I'd say.

>> It's one of the reasons why it's taking some time to develop a workflow.
>
> Seems to me that getting at least a Getting Started book done before product
> release shouldn't have to wait on developing a proper workflow.

You're quite right. I see that Ron Faile has given you valuable
pointers. Ron is one really good contributor to the docs project: he
works and doesn't talk much, and is perfectly willing to cooperate
with people. All the documentation we currently have has Ron's hand in
there somewhere.

If possible, try to avoid changing the file names of the GS guide.
I've linked to them from the upcoming libreoffice.org website. If you
upload files, please could you always leave the old versions there for
the moment, just in case we ever need to roll back for some unforeseen
reason?

>> There are a number of options we could adopt, and we need to talk about
>> them.
>>
>> If you've got ideas, please do tell us.
>>
> I said a bit above, and I'll have more to say, but I'm more interested in
> helping to actually produce some docs.

You're a man after my own heart, then, and you'll be a welcome and
valuable addition to the documentation team.

I look forward to actively doing the same when libreoffice.org is online.

But, if you do have ideas, please do tell us about them. Maybe you can
help us bring order to the current chaos.

David Nelson

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Follow-Ups:
Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Introducing myselfJean Hollis Weber <jeanweber@gmail.com>
References:
[libreoffice-documentation] Introducing myselfHal Parker <halparker42@gmail.com>
Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Introducing myselfDavid Nelson <commerce@traduction.biz>
Re: [libreoffice-documentation] Introducing myselfHal Parker <halparker42@gmail.com>
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