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Re: Slashdot reply final

On Mon, Feb 14, 2000 at 09:26:24PM +0100, Guylhem Aznar wrote:
> ***************************************************
> Thanks a lot to Slashdot readers for the comments they submitted.
> Our announcement may have seemed "empty" but you provided us with lots
> of good feedback regarding the LDP in general, and that will help us
> in improving our quality.
> While reading the comments, I took a paper and wrote down the different
> problems people had.
> Some will not be solved immediately, some are now solved :

Others are outside our scope while others can be solved if we get more
people to help in the effort.

>   - web site design : FIXED (http://www.linuxdoc.org)
> Each of your comments were precious to help us improve its appearance
> and ease of use.
Many of your comments were important.  Don't say this but some
comments were little more than unreasoned, and nonsensical flames.
They were correctly given a 0 rating.
> Please try out the new version.
>   - provide direct access to important links : FIXED (http://www.linuxdoc.org)
> We now have big links for each of the major document types (HOWTOs,
> FAQs...) on the first page.
> Please check "non-English" where you should find a link to your local
> LDP with translated documents.
>   - provide security bulletins & link to RFC archivesa (http://??? links)
> I'm sorry, but this is not within the current goals of the LDP.
> However, we will add links to other sites with this information in our
> "Links" section.
>   - provide DocBook and PDF documents : FIXED
>     (ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/other-formats/docbook
> and ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/other-formats/pdf)
> I converted each of the LinuxDoc HOWTOs and mini HOWTOs to DocBook and
> PDF, uploaded them 2 days after the Slashdot article ; they are now available
> on ftp://metalab.unc.edu/pub/linux/docs/HOWTO/other-formats/ as another
> output, just like the html and ps versions.
>   - move to DocBook because LinuxDoc sucks
>   - stick to LinuxDoc because DocBook sucks
> The HOWTOs are now provided in both LinuxDoc and DocBook; however for
> the moment we can only accept LinuxDoc source for the HOWTOs.
> In the next weeks both DocBook and LinuxDoc sgml source will be
> accepted.
> We are currently testing DocBook output formats.
> You can already submit your DocBook only document which will be put in
> the DOCBOOK section. (a new major section, like FAQs and HOWTOs)
>   - "tables don't scale to window size and resolution and 10 pt font
>     size is hardcoded
> Our webmasters are working on these problems.
>   - How can I submit my work to the LDP? (http://??? HOWTO HOWTO)
> 3 possibilities depending of the format:
> a. you can write in LinuxDoc : call your document an HOWTO
> b. you can write in DocBook : call your document a DOCBOOK :-)
> c. you are a master of TeX/LaTeX, pdf or any specific format : call your
>    document a GUIDE or a FAQ, depending on its contents.

But if you use DOCBOOK it can also be a HOWTO.
> Please use a license compatible with our requirements (GNU Free
> Documentation License is IMHO the best choice but feel free to take any
> other license) and mail your document to ldp-submit@lists.linuxdoc.org
> If your LinuxDoc or DocBook source contains errors, I'm sorry but we
> won't process the document.
You mean if it contains known errors we will not process it until the
errors are fixed.
> Please test it first
>   - You should check the documents : FIXED
> We already do!
> Since november, a peer reviewer team is trying to proofread each
> submitted document.
We are not really trying to proofread each one since we don't have
enough people doing it.  It would be better to say "we would like to be
able to have our peer review team proofread each submitted
> However, there are far too many docs submitted to ldp-submit for our
> small team to adequately proofread each document. If you would like to
> help us please subscribe to ldp-submit
> (mail ldp-submit-request@lists.linuxdoc.org).

>   - XXXX and YYYY HOWTOs are outdated/unmaintained
>     (http://www.linuxdoc.org/sorted_howtos.html)
> Please update the document and submit the new version to the LDP if the
> license allows modifications.
Most readers are not about to go to all the work to update an outdated
document and many of them don't know enough about it to even be able
to do this.  So we should no ask them so bluntly to do this.

> We will be happy to include your new version (News HOWTO and SCSI HOWTO
> are especially old!).
>   - I just found ZZZZ HOWTO which is not part of the LDP yet
> Then please contact the author and ask him to send his document to
> ldp-submit@lists.linuxdoc.org
> Chances are we will include it, unless it contains errors, has a non
> free license, or duplicates an existing document.
>   - license problem, GNU/Linux... FIXED (http://??? manifesto license guide)
> We have a manifesto and a license guide on the first page.
> Both are currently being revised.

The License Requirements in the Manifesto are not currently being
revised as far as I know.  There is a proposed revision to the Manifesto
suggested by Stallman to place more emphasis on the GNU aspect of
Linux, but it is not really very significant.  I'll post more about
this later.  So I really wouldn't say anything about them being
revised.  There is an ongoing discussion of license issues, however.
> We will not impose any license but rather have some criteria and
> requirements (free redistribution for ex.)

We already have this free redistribution requirement.
> And if you don't like "LDP", just remember netscape/mozilla : it's
> written LDP but it reads GNU Linux Documentation Project.
>                              *
> Writing documentation is not as sexy as writing software
> (To quote a slashdotter, "Honestly, how many users want to read
> documentation? How many of them see a fat manual and feel happy?")

I would not say this.  Documentation is talking directly to the reader
and thus may merit as much fan mail as software authors get.

> We do need more authors. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a good
> author. It requires a combination of writing skills, technical
> knowledge, and the willingness to accept criticism that improves your
> final product.  Thank you all for your responses--we hope that you
> continue to let us know your opinions on the LDP.

Are not most authors willing to accept reasonable suggestions and
constructive criticism?  I've never gotten any hostile criticism yet.
Also, the above might tend to scare away some potentially good
authors.  For example, one could take over the maintenance of an
existing doc without a thorough technical knowledge of the subject.
Then one could improve their technical knowledge by feedback from
readers, surfing the web, reading parts of books, etc.  We can accept
below-average writers and help them become above-average writers.
                David Lawyer

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