Re: polarization

On Fri, Nov 03, 2000 at 12:54:30AM -0500, Havoc Pennington wrote:
> bruce perens com (Bruce Perens) writes:
> > I want to hire documentors to write books. We don't have enough
> > books that are themselves Free Software. You of all people should
> > know about the need for that, and unfortunately it's not always
> > possible to get a publisher to pay an advance for writing a book
> > that is itself Free Software. There have been some big changes at
> > New Riders and other publishers since you did your book, and it's
> > not so easy any longer. Look where Laurie is working these days.
> >
> It's a possibility, yes. However, I would rather see member companies
> finance members of a documentation team. One problem with a book like
> mine is that it isn't actively maintained; what we need more is an
> active documentation team that's constantly keeping things up-to-date,
> and has lots of people involved. The GDP is pretty good at this,
> though they haven't attempted a book yet.
> One vendor that recently asked to join the foundation offered to hire
> a person to work on GNOME, and docs was a suggestion we had for what
> that person could do. Red Hat funded the GNOME 1.0 User Guide and
> Helix and Sun both have people working on docs, I believe.
> The foundation itself would not be qualified to contract an author
> directly to write a book; there are lots of administrative issues,
> you'd need an editor, and you'd want better distribution channels than
> the FSF has. So I would want to see us work with a publisher of some
> kind if we did this.
> Anyhow, a complicated issue. 

I would like to clarify and expand on what Havoc has said.  I agree with 
him that the foundation shouldn't hire people to "contribute" to Gnome, 
whether they're writing docs or hacking or translating, but the hiring should 
be left up to the corporations. There are a couple paid documentors joining 
the GDP from Sun, John, from Eazel, and Aaron Weber, from Helixcode 
(apologies if I forgot anyone).

As for the book idea, the GDP tried to start writing a book for an 
introduction into Gnome, sort of like the User's Guide (UG).  It has 
been put on hold for now because of our intensive work getting the new 
help system running and finishing the core documentation.  I hope that 
we (GDP) will try to write the book for Gnome 2.0.

Eric Baudais

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