building GNOME vs writing docs

Our situation is that we need writers. We need to
lower the barriers to entry, and one of them is
expecting new doc writers to build themselves a
complete GNOME from CVS before they can write

My experiences would suggest that expecting doc
writers to build GNOME themselves isn't feasible. I'm
not exactly stupid, and I can use the command line,
but I've so far got stuck about three times with error
messages I don't have a hope of understanding.  (I'm
stuck again by the way. I've left a comment at the
relevant point on the wiki, help gratefully accepted

People who can code and build are usually coding and
building. Most of them aren't writing user docs for
their apps (or in most cases, it seems, even internal
documentation!). This is either because a) they
haven't the time b) they don't like doing it or don't
think they're good enough at it. This is not a slur on
them: writing good docs is hard, and their time is
better spent on fixing bugs. That leaves us with the
people who can't code and build to write the docs.

Now at the moment a lot of our docs are very old and
dusty. Bringing them up to date with 2.12 is itself a
big improvement. However, we do need to write for the
upcoming release.
So what can we do to ensure doc writers can do this,
without requiring them to spend hours trying to

Here are my ideas for discussion, please add your own:

* provide binaries of apps that doc writers can
download and run
* ask people who can compile to write brief summaries
of what's new, that doc writers can then clean up
* make scripts that can build you a single app from
CVS with one command

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