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FLOSS

The acronymn in the title stands for:

Debian Ubuntu Community Conference – Italy

and that’s, to my knowledge, the first of its kind… but definitely not the last.

First of all, big kudos to the people behind the organization of this wonderful event (in totally casual order):

  • the men and women behind FSUG Italia (Free Software User Group Italy) (I can’t remember all your names, apologies, but I think you know who you are!)
  • Luca Bruno (kaeso) from the Debian Italian community
  • Paolo Sammicheli (xdatap1) from the Ubuntu Italian community (and Monia too! also for their hospitality!)
  • the men and the women from the Perugia hacklab “Projectz on Island”
  • the Maths Department of the University of Perugia
  • Stefano Zacchiroli for being there with us
  • all the men and women that were there!!!

The DUCC-IT has been a remarkably experience: seeing gold old friends, and meeting new people from the FLOSS world, and in particular from Debian and Ubuntu, is always great.

DUCC is a joint Debian – Ubuntu conference born from an idea of the FSUG guys (if I’m not totally wrong) (I was wrong, thanks Zack for the heads up!) at the last UDS from Stefano, Paolo, and Sergio Zanchetta. Debian and Ubuntu hackers sharing the stage in their expertise fields, talking about what they love the most with the people from the other side of the barricade (if you pass me the expression).

I really loved the idea and the experiment of sharing my talk with somebody else (Francesca Ciceri in my case) from the Debian community. I think we should try to repeat it more often: it’s a great way to work more closely together even outside of the normal workflow we all stick to.

I have a lot of things to say about these last two days, but can’t make up my mind to find the right words… As usual, it’s sad to leave such great people after some wonderful days together, we don’t always know when we are going to see each other again.

Just to try to sum it up, ‘cause words are really hard on me tonight:

  • We decided that we will be holding another DUCC-IT next year (where and when not yet decided)
  • We are going to open a neutral “forum” (mailing list or whatever) where our two communities can talk together (something that doesn’t have the Debian or Ubuntu word in it) (Stefano, if you will ever read this: remember to open the alioth project! 🙂 )
  • When the next DUCC-IT meeting will arrive, we have to know where and when the next one will be held
  • After the Debian / Ubuntu Women talk, we need to take more action, and we need to have a women space again in our next meetings
  • I hope the FSUG people, or whoever is behind the DUCC-IT acronym, will not kill me: to all the Debian and Ubuntu communities out there, take the DUCC-IT acronym, replace IT with your local country code, and repeat this experience with your local Debian/Ubuntu communities.
  • My photo-stream of the conference

For your eye pleasure, directly from the Desktop Help Summit, the 10 top things you shouldn’t do when writing documentation. Enjoy.

Hi guys,

Top 10 things not to do with your docs:

Reading the interface back
————————–
∘ Don’t document the entire interface – it’s safe to assume certain
things are obvious and don’t need to be discussed.
∘ Don’t read back the interface – people can figure out that the Open
button opens something.

Not aiming at a consistent level of technical expertise
——————————————————-
∘ Say something basic and something advanced in the same sentence, e.g.
“Click Open to open the document” in the same sentence as “you need to
install GRUB after you partition.”

Verbosity
———
∘ Explaining things at great length, in the same topic as where you give
the instructions.
∘ Just link off to a conceptual topic instead.
∘ Assume people will skim – don’t make them read loads of intro before
you get to the instructions.

Incorrect level of formality
—————————-
∘ It’s OK to use contractions.
∘ Still use reasonably formal language (i.e. don’t be crazy or overly
friendly), but don’t make it sound dry. it should flow.

Lack of context
—————
∘ Need to give context so people understand what is going on.
Confidence.
∘ Don’t just write a big list of commands.

Over-use of screenshots
———————–
∘ Only use them to illustrate a point.
∘ Don’t need to use them everywhere, the user is probably looking at the
screen anyway.

Leaving out steps or using too many steps
—————————————–
∘ Need to choose the appropriate level of detail. No need for one step
per mouse movement.
∘ Likewise, don’t miss things out if they seem obvious, just cover them
very briefly.

Documenting things which no-one cares about
——————————————-
∘ Document things that people need to know about, don’t just scratch an
itch.

Putting more than one topic in one document
——————————————-
∘ Results in long, rambling documents.
∘ Confusing, difficult to link to, overlap.
∘ Users confused by irrelevant, buried information.

Don’t talk down to or patronise your users
——————————————
∘ Using phrases like “obviously” can make people feel bad if it’s not
actually obvious.

If anyone can find one or two examples of any of these mistakes, that
would be cool.

Does anything come to your mind?

Oh, BTW, buttons are on the left.

La mia giornata a Udine al Linux Day è andata, dopotutto, bene ed è stato bello rivedere alcune persone dopo anni che non ci si incontrava più.

C’era un discreto numero di persone, sopratutto giovani delle superiori, l’alula L dei Rizzi era piena al 90%, sarà che il mio era il primo talk della giornata e quindi non sapevano ancora cosa aspettarsi, ma insomma gente ce n’era! 🙂

I CD, le penne e gli adesivi di Ubuntu sono andati via come il pane, peccato averne avuti così pochi. Quello che mi è piaciuto vedere è che ovunque mi girassi, i computer dell’organizzazione della giornata a Udine, erano tutti equipaggiati con Ubuntu… mi pare proprio di non averne visto alcuno con un’altra distribuzione.

Non sono più riuscito poi, tra una cosa e l’altra, a beccare due ragazzi che mi avevano chiesto un paio di cose… mi spiace!

Ringrazio molto il LUG di Udine per l’ospitalità (ragazzi, fatevi aprire la rete wireless la prossima volta! 🙂 ) e un utente/partecipante al Linux Day del simpatico e fantastico regalo che mi ha fatto:

Gli ho fatto un book fotografico ormai, speriamo riesca a durare il più possibile! Grazie! 😉

Update: qui potete trovare le slide che ho usato al Linux Day.