Back To Normal

It’s always hard to get back to your usual-life-routine after spending some days hacking or at great conferences with such wonderful people and in a lovely location. Well, at least it’s always for me. There was a commercial running here in Italy of a famous Italian cruise company, where people after the cruise experience find themselves crying or in group-therapy remembering the great moment: I’m always a little bit like that.

The Writing Open Source conference (DENT:woscon,woscon09 TWIT:woscon,woscon09) has been really interesting, professionally and humanely. I have a lot of information over some big Tomboy notes that I will be reading and re-reading in the days coming, they will be always open on my desktop when I have to deal with docs.

But it has not been only a conference: Writing Open Source is now a “community” (DENT:wosdocs TWIT:wosdocs), a central point for open source tech writer and for all the tech writer out there that would like to get involved in open source or that would like to share their experiences with us (we need them and we need you!!).

So, come on in, jump on the docs writing bandwagon, we are as crazy as woolly mammoths can be!

I already blogged a little bit about the first two days of the conference, I didn’t cover yet the last one: the sprint one. We formed two working groups: GNOME and Drupal. The Drupal one worked on the Writing Open Source community website, while we have been working for laying the foundations of what will be the new GNOME 3.0 Documentation: Mallard is among us!

We have been working with Lynda Chiotti and Janet Swisher on how we can and should work, how to organize and plan the doc writing activities, brainstorming on the topics we should cover in the documentation and how to create “personas” for documentation. All the day we have been working on closing some GNOME-docs bugs (Paul) and we started to port Empathy documentation to the new topic-based approach using Mallard (me and Phil, the repository is on gitorious) while Shaun was dealing with the Mallard spec and supervising our work. We also brainstormed about how to plan the work for the 3.0 release.

The plan for the 2.28 release of GNOME is to have the Mallard spec done (well, at least almost done), Yelp ready to use Mallard and Empathy documentation written topic-based with Mallard. There are some works to be done with regards to i18n/l10n and Mallard XML files and the build structure, but we would like to have everything at least ready for the 2.28. The big goal, at least for me, would be to have Empathy ships Mallard doc on release day, will see…

A big hug goes to Emma and her mother for the organization and for feeding us with wonderful breakfasts, lunches and suppers (or dinners, or teas? whatever…) and to all the people that there were with us: Paul, Phil, Shaun, Janet, Lynda, Addi, Dru, Jim, Richard, Dinda, Jeffrey, DB… (I know I forgot someone, but I’m not a sound-learner, I’m visual. So please apologize!).

PS: the DENT|TWIT:tag[,tag] notation is my new social-exchange notation🙂

5 commenti
  1. Interesting! How do you think these things you learned could help the Ubuntu Docs tream?

  2. Milo ha detto:

    We will for sure work more closely together: downstream and upstream. We need that. Redundant probably to say, but it’s not always happening as it should. Phil Bull was there too and he is very active with the Ubuntu Doc team, plus Jim Campbell from Xubuntu/Ubuntu. What we understood from talking with professional tech writer is that we need to brainstorm more often and we need a plan. Set fixed goals, even if they are not as big as we would like them to be at first, but we need them: for us, and for driving new people that want to start helping Ubuntu. Have a direction, and give directions.

    Another thing is that we need to meet more often. First of all on IRC: even if at the beginning we will not have a lot of topics to discuss about, we have to do that, topics will come out as we meet on a regular basis. And secondly for real: we all know how much work gets done in a 2 days hack/sprint all closed in a room than doing the same thing via mailing list or digital medium.

    Last, but not least, is that we were there and had the opportunity to see what the new documentation format of GNOME will be: Ubuntu will surely move in the same direction and we already know which direction that is. We have a great opportunity in front of us and in our hands too.

    This was the first conference of this kind, a great one and it was really needed for all of us.

  3. Thanks for the update, Milo. Do you mean that the Doc Team need to meet more regularly? Are you having regular IRC meetings?

  4. Milo ha detto:

    Yes. Right now there are no regular meetings within the Doc Team (monthly or bi-weekly), but there are already messages in the mailing list for setting up a meeting. I will take part to the first one and propose regular meetings (think Phil was of the same idea). Probably a weekly informal meeting for doc-writers could also be an idea.

    Not even the GNOME team was having regular meetings, but we are starting to do them now.

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