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Documentation Needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Help Janet Swisher Anne Gentle  Texas Linux Fest April 10, 2010
Does your documentation suck? Flickr:  Theresa Thompson
You're not alone . <ul><li>I find it incredibly hard to make sure that the users get the right information from the docs. ...
You're not alone. <ul><li>You could burn through a big budget trying to be everything to all users.  </li></ul><ul><li>Pic...
&quot;Documentation is hard.&quot; &quot;Let's go programming!&quot;
It's hard for programmers to take a user's perspective. Flickr:Yandle
Traditional FOSS doc tools are powerful, but hard for non-techies to use. Flickr: couragextoxlive
Wikis are easy to use but hard to manage for documentation. <ul><li>  </li></ul>
If only you could find ... <ul><li>... people who like writing documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>... to...
FLOSS Manuals is
FLOSS Manuals is  ...
... reading ... <ul><li>a collection of books -- over 40 manuals on free software </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
... collaborative writing and editing ...
... translating ... <ul><li>Localized FLOSS Manuals sites:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farsi </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finnish...
... remixing and publishing.
FLOSS Manuals is  <ul><ul><li>the invention of Adam Hyde's -- an artist who taught workshops about open source tools and w...
Objavi <ul><li>Try it at  http://objavi.flossmanuals.net  </li></ul><ul><li>Objavi is distributed under GPL 2+.  </li></ul...
Booki <ul><li>http://www.booki.cc/ </li></ul>
We also like to do book sprints. <ul><li>July 2008: Inkscape, Paris </li></ul><ul><li>Aug 2008: OLPC/SugarLabs, Austin </l...
How can FLOSS Man uals help your project? <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>We have ideas. </li></ul>
Use the FLOSS Manuals tools  to write your docs. <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>http://flossmanuals.net </li></ul><ul><li>htt...
Join the FLOSS Manuals community. <ul><li>http://lists.flossmanuals.net/listinfo.cgi/discuss-flossmanuals.net </li></ul>
Throw a book sprint. <ul><li>We've written how-to books about FLOSS Manuals  and  book sprints .  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li...
See FLOSS Manuals in action <ul><li>Mini-sprint for Firefox 3.6 </li></ul><ul><li>Tomorrow, Sunday April 11th </li></ul><u...
Thanks!   Discuss! <ul><li>Janet Swisher: jmswisher@gmail.com </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Gentle: annegentle@justwriteclick.com...
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Documentation needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Hel

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Presented by: Janet Swisher and Anne Gentle

FLOSS Manuals is a community, tool provider, and website dedicated to creating free documentation for free software and related aspects of the free culture movement. The website removes barriers to contributing to documentation by combining a simple authoring interface with documentation-oriented content management and publishing tools. It supports both wide-open collaboration and editorial control by separating in-progress work in the "Write" area from published work in the "Read" area. The FLOSS Manuals community comprises over 1000 registered users who collectively have produced over 40 books, mostly in the last two years. The group has also developed and honed the "book sprint" process, in which a complete manual is written in a brief period of 2 to 5 days. Both the website and the community actively support translations, with no one language considered primary. Manuals can be remixed, combining chapters from different books to create a new book, and you can export to HTML or embed content on a website.

This presentation describes the features of FLOSS Manuals project that deliver these benefits, and discusses ways that free software projects can leverage them to create documentation.

Published in: Education
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Documentation needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Hel

  1. 1. Documentation Needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Help Janet Swisher Anne Gentle Texas Linux Fest April 10, 2010
  2. 2. Does your documentation suck? Flickr: Theresa Thompson
  3. 3. You're not alone . <ul><li>I find it incredibly hard to make sure that the users get the right information from the docs.  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>On the one hand, it seems that there is already too much information as people miss things that are already in there. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>On the other hand, there is always information that people are looking for, and that is not in the docs. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>-- Gaël Varoquaux, developer, Mayavi2 project </li></ul>
  4. 4. You're not alone. <ul><li>You could burn through a big budget trying to be everything to all users.  </li></ul><ul><li>Pick your priorities. </li></ul>Flickr: alancleaver_2000
  5. 5. &quot;Documentation is hard.&quot; &quot;Let's go programming!&quot;
  6. 6. It's hard for programmers to take a user's perspective. Flickr:Yandle
  7. 7. Traditional FOSS doc tools are powerful, but hard for non-techies to use. Flickr: couragextoxlive
  8. 8. Wikis are easy to use but hard to manage for documentation. <ul><li>  </li></ul>
  9. 9. If only you could find ... <ul><li>... people who like writing documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>... tools that are easy to use and support multiple outputs. </li></ul>
  10. 10. FLOSS Manuals is
  11. 11. FLOSS Manuals is ...
  12. 12. ... reading ... <ul><li>a collection of books -- over 40 manuals on free software </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  13. 13. ... collaborative writing and editing ...
  14. 14. ... translating ... <ul><li>Localized FLOSS Manuals sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farsi </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finnish </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dutch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>Translations in progress in Spanish, Greek, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese ...
  15. 15. ... remixing and publishing.
  16. 16. FLOSS Manuals is <ul><ul><li>the invention of Adam Hyde's -- an artist who taught workshops about open source tools and was frustrated with the materials available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>about three years old (site started in May 2007)  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a non-profit organization (FLOSS Manuals Stichting, incorporated in the Netherlands) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Objavi <ul><li>Try it at http://objavi.flossmanuals.net  </li></ul><ul><li>Objavi is distributed under GPL 2+.  </li></ul><ul><li>The source is available via  </li></ul><ul><li>http://booki-dev.flossmanuals.net/git?p=objavi2.git </li></ul>
  18. 18. Booki <ul><li>http://www.booki.cc/ </li></ul>
  19. 19. We also like to do book sprints. <ul><li>July 2008: Inkscape, Paris </li></ul><ul><li>Aug 2008: OLPC/SugarLabs, Austin </li></ul><ul><li>Nov 2008: Internet Censorship, upstate New York </li></ul><ul><li>Feb 2009: Digital Foundations, NYC </li></ul><ul><li>Mar 2009: Firefox, Palm Springs </li></ul><ul><li>Mar 2009: Introduction to the Command Line, Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Apr 2009: PureData, NYC & Berlin </li></ul><ul><li>May 2009: CiviCRM, Truckee, CA </li></ul><ul><li>Dec 2009: Etoys, virtual </li></ul><ul><li>Jan 2010: Collaboration, Berlin </li></ul><ul><li>April 2010: Mifos, virtual </li></ul>
  20. 20. How can FLOSS Man uals help your project? <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>We have ideas. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Use the FLOSS Manuals tools to write your docs. <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>http://flossmanuals.net </li></ul><ul><li>http://booki.cc (alpha, ask via email first) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Join the FLOSS Manuals community. <ul><li>http://lists.flossmanuals.net/listinfo.cgi/discuss-flossmanuals.net </li></ul>
  23. 23. Throw a book sprint. <ul><li>We've written how-to books about FLOSS Manuals and book sprints .  </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>We write manuals, after all.  </li></ul>
  24. 24. See FLOSS Manuals in action <ul><li>Mini-sprint for Firefox 3.6 </li></ul><ul><li>Tomorrow, Sunday April 11th </li></ul><ul><li>11 am to 4 pm </li></ul><ul><li>Genuine Joe Coffeehouse, 2001 West Anderson Lane </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Other sprinters also welcome!  </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thanks! Discuss! <ul><li>Janet Swisher: jmswisher@gmail.com </li></ul><ul><li>Anne Gentle: annegentle@justwriteclick.com </li></ul><ul><li>FLOSS Manuals: http://en.flossmanuals.net </li></ul>

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