This is only a first draft proposition page, only for discussion purpose, it does not represent any LDP position as of September 2008. This is still true as of April 2009, however most of what is said here have been accepted and is in the way of achievement.
Updated May 15, 2009
To LDP members: This page is here for You. Do not hesitate to modify or add to it. Discussion can be done on the /discussion page
Manifesto for 2010
LDP is on the way to change. It must change but in a reasonable manner and not too much nor too little. Here are some thoughts, ideas and a proposed calendar.
Situation, problems and solutions
The LDP is probably the first worldwide effort to document Linux as a whole (the LDP includes Man pages). The aim is to:
- Have *authored* documents. Anybody can write to the author. The documents are copyrighted.
- Be mirrored by a great number of mirrors all over the world
- The documents are dated
- The documents use a consistent format: docbook. This allows for publishing with any docbook backend in many reading formats.
- Most LDP documents are called "HOWTO".
All of these feature must be retained. They are the reason why the LDP is probably the better referenced doc on the search engines.
However the time when the LDP was the only documentation source is over. Now authors are solicited by a great number of web sites, beginning with the Linux Distributions own web sites and many others.
Most of these sites uses CMS, usually wikis, to maintain their documentation.
Each kind of system have it's drawbacks and advantages.
The present LDP system (CVS, docbook->html) is stable, well defined, but requires author collaboration. Being dated, it can be easily seen as obsolete, even when it's not. Of course it may be obsolete!
The wiki system is easy to use and keep alive, but extremely difficult to keep consistent and organised. Most people use search engines to browse a wiki, not the wiki tables. Authors are many, not necessarily competent and contents can be pretty ugly and difficult to understand. Translation of wikis is a nightmare.
However, the wiki system allows for interactive collaboration and can be extremely effective.
So we need to have the best of the two worlds. That is what we are trying to achieve.
This won't be done overnight, it will be a lot of work but will be worth the result.
We need to have a stable, dated, author driven, but also interactive system. This will be achieved by synergy.
We have two different tasks.
Set up a new TLDP.org web site with DocBook documents and wiki
- Make authors come back to the LDP and make the HOWTOs the best documentation on Open Source software
The first part is mostly technical, but we can't really ask the public for help before we have something appealing to show them. It would be nice if this could be achieved before the fall of 2008! January 2009: LDP site ready to work.
- The LDP Web site design is not so appealing (May 2009), but we lack a designer. The site works, the exchanges between the Wiki and the Static site work (mostly - April 2009).
Dafydd Crosby has volunteered to start fixing up the static site.
The second part is long term work, nearly endless, but it should be nearly up and working for the fall of 2009: January 2010, LDP running with full power.
Layout of the new LDP.
- Every task in the LDP team has to be run by at least two people, easily known and easily contacted
- This has yet to be achieved because of a lack of volunteers. The LDP structure is still very small however new people are slowly coming.
- Every task in the LDP team has to be documented fully to allow any new people to take charge in a minimal amount of time. This is mostly done, but still very few people write to the wiki (admin part).
- Every LDP user/author must be able to know *all* of the LDP document that he takes care of. Mostly done. Ask for what you feel is lacking on the discussion list or add it yourself if possible.
- There *must* be some easy tasks defined to give newcomers work that is useful and allows them to be evaluated. One very important rule is than we can keep people *if we give them work*. Nobody should come to the LDP, ask for some work to do and be told "thanks, we don't need you". These should be very simple tasks (certainly not writing docbook!). Partly done. The easiest tasks however are completed and the remaining ones are a little more complicated. For example, we have to find authors, and this is not easy. It has little chance of being all done by the end of 2009. However some authors have signed up.
Examples of such tasks are:
- #subscribe to the wiki. Write a short presentation of yourself on your personal page. seems pretty difficult for most people, and not only on the LDP wiki. #take a HOWTO in your competence domain. Read it and post a brief summary to the discussion list. Give your opinion: is it good/useful/easy to read? Does it hold the author's name? Was it updated recently? if not, try to contact the author
Documents have to be stored as docbook, but authors should not have to write in docbook if they don't want to. Linuxdoc is an option, but the wiki is probably much better.
- We know now that nearly any format can be ported to the wiki in a relatively fast way. The simplest is HTML.
However, writing in a wiki risks having an ill formatted document, very difficult to read. So we must use the very handy moimoin feature of proposing a template for any new page creation, we have to write ourselves some LDP templates.
- Practically, documents are ported to the wiki slowly, so it's manageable to help any author.
There must be a system to allow authors to manage their doc like they want, with some limitations.
we may have to think again about the license. The very nature of the wiki should make us ask for a compatible license (may be the boiler plate one is good, but this have to be secured) DONE;
- A competent and active author must be allowed to keep control of his HOWTO, at any level. This means he must be allowed to submit it through the content management system if he wants to or use a locked wiki page. Of course this doesn't mean we have to accept any submission, but some subjects are really picky (technically).
most authors should be encouraged to drop their HOWTO in a wiki page. It could be a good idea to have on the ldp web site a copy of the html<->whatever translating page to make easy any transition. Done
we have Volunteers. May be we could try to find some to enhance the moinmoin<->docbook interface, eventually working with the moinmoin team. Works reasonably well.
- We could have an instance of the docbookwiki running, privately, for authors help (this wiki is not suitable for general use). We could try to help the author and build some compatibility between moinmoin and docbookwiki.
Stable content system
We have to setup a content management system for holding the static web site content. We can't allow too many people to write directly to web pages while logged in through ssh! cvs is good but svn can be better. Is there any modern system to be preferred?
- Most static pages not directly related to the HOWTOs are better hosted in the wiki.
We have to manage some sort of LDP membership to catch people attention. There is work to be done out of the authorship. We can basically say that Is member of the LDP any people than feels so. Membership must be an obvious, immediate feeling. But any kind of gadget that could enhance the membership feeling is good. may be give a "tldp.org" e-mail redirection??? List on a wiki page is probably mandatory...
We have to think of a way to manage translations