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 🙂


Well, in 7 hours it will be WOSCON Day 3, but I couldn’t not blog about today. Today was the unconference day: we discussed of whatever came to our mind.

The day started with Shaun (finally) presenting Mallard to the public, the new markup language for writing topic based documentation that GNOME will use in the future. So, great times ahead for doc writers and for all GNOME documentation! Mallard rocks! Quack!

The day went on talking about translations, mostly related to the translation of documentation and how we can try to make translators happy translating documentation: first of all we need great and updated documentation to enforce a great string freeze GNOME-style here too, and that would be way cool. Second thing is great rocking topic based documentation: it should be a little bit easier for translator to do their fantastic work (obviously we need xml2po to work with Mallard, but we know somebody will take a look at it).

Other talks of the day have been on FLOSS Manuals and what they are doing: writing a complete book from 0 in 5 days. Amazing.

Last talk of the day was on certification programme creation: a wonderful talk to get into this (for me) new topic. There’s a lot of potential for open source here, really. It’s something that need to be followed.

It has been a great day. We also went to a small trip just outside Owen Sound to a waterfall. Great place in the woods, a relaxing moment away from computer screens.

The night has been total fun! Total! No words describing all the laughs we had, you can check out the #woscon09 tag on or twitter to get an idea… 🙂


I’m at the Writing Open Source Conference (jet-lag kicking in) with the other GNOME (and Ubuntu) guys, writing from the Ginger Press Library Cafe right now. First day has been very productive and interesting, chats are still going on here at the Cafe in front of some good beers and something to eat. Great people!

We started the day with a documentation license overview from the point of view of a (real) lawyer and how to work with licenses and the community involved in documentation writing. An absolute helpful talk about user-centered documentation design: absolutely great and insightful tips on how to organize the work on documentation, from start of implementation to the final product.

We also talked about fame, fortune and how to earn a living writing documentation. The final talks were about how people learn and how we can use this information when writing documentation (by Belinda Lopez from Canonical) and on documentation community.

A really really interesting day. Looking forward for tomorrow!

I’m still at the hotel waiting for my cab to the airport and am using the last minutes of free wifi connection before heading back to Italy.

This travel and great experience is over, I already said that, but in 10 days a new travel awaits me. I’ll be heading to the Writing Open Source conference in Owen Sound, Canada (with other guys from GNOME and Ubuntu too) thanks to the GNOME Foundation, the kind GNOME Travel Committee and Shaun McCance (and I also think Intel for sponsoring us, but I’m not really sure).

I’m really excited about this travel and about the conference. We, with the GNOME 3.0 release plan, are facing a great moment for reshaping documentation, for GNOME and for all downstream projects out there that builds on GNOME. There is Mallard that is shaping out as the new format for writing GNOME documentation and we will learn more about it during the conference. I’m also going there with some crazy ideas about documentation for GNOME, you can read them here.

denttwitOn the third day of the conference I added an “Empathy documentation sprint”, I hope to have the chance to speed up a little bit the writing of the documentation for Empathy with the precious help of some professional doc-writers, since I would really like to have a 100% features-full documentation for the 2.28 release (there is also the possibility to have Empathy in Ubuntu for the next release).

I’m thinking also about adding a “Gwibber documentation sprint”: gwibber rocks, and if you dent (or twit) a lot you should try it. Right now gwibber doesn’t ship with documentation and since even this one has great chances to get included in Ubuntu for a full-social-web experience, I think it needs some love.

Now it’s time to take the cab. Again: thank you all UDS guys & girls, you really rock!

Dopo il piccolo grattacapo di evolution-data-server (non evolution in sé, ma evolution-data-server) e il piccolo problema del file col nome sbagliato, ora comunque corretto (era tardi, eravamo stanchi e stavamo cercando di dare una soluzione rapida e indolore; pare ora che i permessi siano errati sul file, ma in teoria dovrebbe funzionare lo stesso, più tardi controllo), adesso per me arrivano le rogne.

Rogne… oddio… non è proprio una rogna, ma una gran rottura di palle.

Perché questo? Perché dato che, diciamo, un amico di un mio amico ha un computer un po’ piccolino (un Dell Mini 9), non può certo clonare i repository di GNOME per farne i push (eh… bisogna imparare nuova terminologia qui!), no, tocca al sottoscritto questa volta…

Come anche i sassi sanno, GNOME ora è passato a git (ora, cioè… si sa se il passaggio è finito? è da ieri che va avanti e nessuno ha ancora detto nulla…), il DVCS che tutto fa e tutto ha, onnisciente e onnipotente, divino e superiore, ma che non è in grado di clonare una singola directory per fare un semplice commit+push (è un problema di tutti i DVCS comunque), pare, ma qui mi rifaccio al caro e vecchio “dear lazy web”, pare che mi tocchi clonare tutta la storia di un singolo repository per fare un singolo commit+push.

No cioè… questo è quello che è lo stato di evolution-data-server: ? Io dovrei scaricare tutta quella roba? Per fare un commit io dovrei scaricare 10 anni di storia di un repository quando mi servono master e gnome-2-26?

Se uso –depth 1 pare non ci sia molto guadagno… ma posso lo stesso fare il commit+push usando l’opzione –depth 1 visto che non è una copia vera e propria?

Se domani volessi mettermi a compilare con jhbuild devo comprare un NAS da 8 TiB?

I don’t know how long it has been available… but I discovered it this morning. The famous GNOME Damned Lies now has a wonderful RSS feed for your language.

The RSS feed feeds you with all the nice messages that the lovely translators leave on their translations and all the actions they perform.

Finally I don’t have to hunt down which translations are ready, if somebody uploaded a new file or if the status of a translation changed.

I don’t know why, but Liferea doesn’t like that feed: it gives no errors, but it’s not updating the feed. Initial import, and than sits there dead… probably something wrong on my side…

Suggestion on another good RSS client for GNOME in the meantime?

Da ieri (sì, mi pare proprio da ieri) il vostro strumento di masterizzazione preferito per GNOME (e per preferito intendo che si integra in GNOME e che fa esattamente il suo dovere senza tanti fronzoli e inutili opzioni che il 95% delle persone non conosce e/o non ha mai usato), Brasero, ha la sua bella documentazione!

Se siete impavidi, volete rischiare di compromettere tutto il vostro sistema, non vi importa bruciare un po’ di CD o DVD così, solo per il gusto di farlo e per finalmente masterizzare qualche cosa che possa servire e non siano solo CD scaricati da Internet, per poter essere annoverati nell’olimpo tra gli immortali, tra coloro che sprezzanti del pericolo rischiano la propria vita sociale nel perorare nobili intenti, beh… potete scaricarvi Brasero da SVN, compilarvelo e segnalare gli errori (nel programma, nella traduzione e nella documentazione). Tutte e tre le azioni precedenti devono essere compiute senza l’ausilio di telefonate a casa, aiuto del pubblico, 50:50, cambi di domande, apertura dei pacchi, compravendita abusiva di vocali; in palio ricchi premi e cotillion (si scrive così?) gentilmente offerti dell’associazione Gaz-Oh-Metro.

Ah… ben intenso, la documentazione appena è diventata disponibile è già bella che incompleta… manca qualche dettaglio a cui cercherò ovviamente di porre rimedio. In particolare non è descritta la possibilità di creare le copertine di CD/DVD con Brasero, più qualche correzione da apportare qui e lì.

Pare ci sia l’intenzione di rilasciare una serie di versioni 0.7.X per arrivare alla 0.8.0 in non molto tempo, consentendo anche ai poveri e incompresi traduttori di completare il loro duro lavoro.

Happy hacking!