Re: Contribution of Sun documentation team to the GDP.

Hi Mark, 

Thanks for taking an interest in documentation affairs, and thanks for
taking the time to reply to my mail. See my inserts for some answers. 


Mark McLoughlin wrote:
> Hi Pat,
>         I do understand the pressures you guys are under and the problems you
> face trying to maintain two different sets of documentation. I don't
> want to seem like I'm underestimating those issues.
>         However, I think a lot of the problems we're seeing here are largely
> due to your lack of real understanding of how a community development
> process works and the benefits of such a process. On the flip side, I
> think the community has a lot of problems understanding *your*
> development process and the benefits *you* see in following your
> process. i.e. I put the problems largely down to a lack of communication
> and understanding on both sides.

I really have to emphasize that our developing strategy is completely, and
solely, driven by limited resources versus increasing workload. We have to
reduce our commitments, otherwise we end up meeting neither Sun
requirements nor GNOME community requirements. 

>         What I'd really like to see is a full, open and frank discussion on
> figuring out a documentation development process that allows:
>   + You guys to largely work from JDS yet still have your work be
>     generally useful to the community.

We will put our JDS documentation back to the community, and this
documentation could be useful for inclusion into future GNOME Desktop
releases. But someone else will have to tailor our documentation to suit
community needs. 

>   + Your work to be regularly updated in its final location in CVS, even
>     if it is unfinished/un-reviewed (works-in-progress in CVS is a good
>     thing)

Our standard process is to put back drafts at each review stage. However,
do we really want to put back Sun-flavor documentation into the final
location in CVS? 

>   + Other members of the documentation project contribute to the
>     documentation


>   + The documentation in GNOME CVS to reflect as closely as possible the
>     community's product - at least that it is possible for contributors
>     to *bring* it up to date with the latest GNOME

Remember, we are working on a Desktop and applications one or two releases
behind the current community release. That is causing us a big problem. For
example, if we are working on a 2.2 level release for Sun, and the
community is advancing to a 2.8 level release, what is really needed is for
somebody to keep on working on the 2.8 level documentation. We can't do so
much of that any more because of the resource constraint I mentioned above. 

>   + A greater level of communication and co-operation between everyone
>     in the documentation project and hopefully a community atmosphere
>     that would encourage more people to get involved

No amount of communication will alter the fact that we don't have enough
resources in the Sun team to continue doing both Sun work and community
work. No amount of cooperation will alter the version gap between Sun
releases and community releases. No amount of community atmosphere will
alter the design divergence between the Sun Desktop and the community
Desktop. These are the things that are putting a strain on our small,
overworked team. 

>         I hope you guys haven't decided for good that such a situation is
> impossible.

We will still contribute whatever we work on. But we cannot continue to
meet across-the-board commitments for the six-monthly community Desktop
release cycle. It's killing us.

Patrick Costello, GNOME Documentation
Phone: 		01 819 9077 [ext 19077]

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