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[Gwm-general] GWM objectives

From: Guylhem P Aznar
Subject: [Gwm-general] GWM objectives
Date: Sat, 9 Mar 2002 02:27:04 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i


Here is a draft of the GWM objectives. I did rewrite it many times since
january, but I think it's now good enough.

Yes, I know it is ambitious. It has to be. Even is 10% of what we could
do is accomplished, that'd be a major improvement.

Feedback is welcome.



The GWM was started from scatch with one goal : improving and
reorganising the GNU documentation, using the LDP experience as a

Improving does not mean competiting - against the LDP, KDP, GDP or any
other documentation project. The GWM technical innovations will be
shared with the other projects, under the GNU Public License (GPL).

Free Software Documentation, which should be called "Libre
Documentation", is documentation one can copy or enhance, just like free
software, as long as those freedoms are not restricted.

We say "libre" instead of "free" because libre means free as in free
speech, and is not about financial prices but liberty and freedom.

1. Basic concepts

Besides increase awareness on libre documentation and promoting libre
documentation licenses, the following is considered as a basis of the GWM tasks:
- publishing a list of links to good and free documentation
- providing unique number to each document
- creating a feedback/forum system and a repository
- creating a search engine/synchronisation/ring of documents
- enhancing the exisiting GNU documentation
- developping additional documentation when needed to fit the gap
- helping authors, translators work and teamwork with an online community.

2. Publishing a list of links to good and free documentation

There is already a lot of documentation for Free Software available on
the internet in various places. Most of it has been released under a
free license by the existing documentation projects, or on individual

Before considering an effort to improve documentation, carefull checking
of the existing documentation is required to avoid duplicating work
whenever possible. If different documents exist for the same topic, they
may be recommanded as alternatives documents or suggested readings.

3. Providing unique number and feedback/forum system

A unique ID for each document is the base of the whole system,
especially when documents from outside the GWM are considered.

Assigning an ID to each document means it would be tracable, and linked
to additional informations on a database.

This tracability will make possible to "follow" that document when new
releases are made, when translations are submitted and when alternatives
are found. It will as well ease indexing and retrieving, by both the
search engine and the documentation browser on the user computer.

For example, a google search on "bash documentation" gives the official
info page, online courses, the official Bash FAQ, the LDP Advanced
Bash-Scripting Guide

Let's give an ID is given to each document, and provide more information
of the document. Let's also link to the other IDs sharing the topic.

1-1-en-texinfo title "bash info page"
1-1-en-texinfo URL "";
1-1-en-texinfo keywords "bash, shell, command line, command prompt"
1-1-en-texinfo userrating "250"
1-1-en-texinfo alternatives 2,3,4

2-1-en-html title "free-ed bash courses"
2-1-en-html URL 
2-1-en-html keywords "bash, shell, tutorial, course, beginner'
2-1-en-html userrating "210"
2-1-en-html alternatives 1,3,4

3-1-en-txt title "the official bash faq"
3-1-en-txt URL "";
3-1-en-txt keywords "bash, faq, questions"
3-1-en-txt userrating "255"
3-1-en-txt alternatives 1,2,4

4-1-en-pdf title "Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide"
4-1-en-pdf URL "";
4-1-en-pdf keywords "bash, shell, guide, reference"
4-1-en-pdf userrating "200"
4-1-en-pdf alternatives 2,3,4

4-1-en-html title "Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide"
4-1-en-html URL "";
4-1-en-html keywords "bash, shell, guide, reference"
4-1-en-html userrating "200"
4-1-en-html alternatives 2,3,4

For compatibility reasons, using the Dublin Core metadata tags and
format should be preferred, It can be completed if needed by our own
tags such as the known alternatives. The list of fields the GWM will
support has to be decided : title/url/keywords/ratings/alternatives
example may be completed by other fields such as date, copyright, author
name, license, etc.

The ID should be put inside the documentation, using a special tag to
refer to it, which should not be a problem for GWM documents. However
non GNU authors may be reluctant to add an indexation ID.

Some fields must be included within the ID itself, such as the original
ressource indentifiant (3 for Bash FAQ), version number (1), language
(en) and document type (txt), to ease documentation browser work for
documentation updating.

For example, the next version of the Bash FAQ in spanish will be 3-2-sp-txt. The
precise URL, keyword, license or date are irrelevant when it comes to
version checking!  Any user reading the official Bash FAQ (3-1-en-txt)
should have an easy way to check for new versions. The documentation
reader or any kind of software must take care of that process with very
little information (mostly what the user currently reads). It must then
offer the possibility to download and read the new (3-2-en-txt) version.
If the locale has been set to es_ES, (3-1-sp-txt) should be offered as
an alternative. And when 3-2-sp-txt is available, i.e.  the latest
version in the user preferred language, it should be put on top of the
list.  Below on the list, documents 1-1-en-texinfo and 2-1-en-html (with
the highest ratings after the FAQ) should be suggested as alternative

Knowing the exact date of the new release, the precise URL or the
license (should it change between each version) is interesting, but only
when a document suited for the user has been found. This additional
metadata information may then be accessed quering the database or any
other system associating the ID to the complete document information.

As previously said, the ID should be included within the document using
a special tag meaning "here is the document ID". Other methods, such as
using the ID as the filename, or putting the metadata in a separate file
of the same name but a different extension may be perfect for websites
(after which Dublin Core metadata was mostly designed), but a poor
solution for documentation which can be printed or stored on various
repositories as well.

For example, if the Bash FAQ in french is printed, 3-1-fr-txt will be
somewhere at the beginning. With this ID, additiona information, new
versions, different languages (etc.) can easily be found when checking
on the GWM website.

3. creating a feedback/forum system and a repository

But maybe the french user who printed the FAQ has a question on bash, or
a suggestion for the author. Sending the question to usenet and the
suggestion to the author email are the current best pratices.

However, the author can not respond to every single message, and many
people are not looking for the answer to their question on usenet,
assuming they are the very first one to experience that very problem.

2 specifics fields containing forums URL (document specific, and topic
specific) should threfore be included in the metadata of each document.
The URL could be a usenet news forum, an online webforum or anything

Document specific forums would be perfectly suited for suggestions to
the author, corrections or additions, while topic specific forums would
be used to request help. Forums could be identical for a suite of

Documents 1-1-en-texinfo 2-1-en-html 3-1-en-txt and 4-1-en-pdf could for
example share a "bash" forum. More than one forum could also be listed,
for ex with broad subjects like "configuring email".

4. creating and maintaining a search engine/synchronisation/ring

Should the unique ID be applied to every document, both the search
engine and the documentation reader could take advantage of it to
provide a good quality indexation of online resources.

There are 2 risks : abusing (such as keyword abuse for website to get an
higher place on the search engines and poor completion of metadata
field) and duplication.

A possible solution would be reserving ID assignation and metadata
filling to documentation projects (such as the GWM, the LDP, etc.).
Each documentation project would maintain its own base of ID for the
documents maintained within the documentation project, and share his
base with other projects time to time. This would make possible for each
documentation project to display in its search results document coming
from other documentation projects.

Any organisation could decide to provide its own ID as well, and non
affiliated authors could request an ID for their document at the
documentation project of their choice.

Using the ID assignation source as yet another ID direct field would
make synchronisation and searching easy. 

Let's consider the Bash FAQ, maintained by an indepandant author,
requests an ID at the GWM and is assigned 3-1-en-txt. But the volunteer
based ID assigning effort at the LDP gave the document ID 56-2-en-txt.
The document would have 2 IDs : GWM-3-1-en-txt and LDP-56-2-en-txt.
When the KDP, the GDP, the GWM and the LDP ID servers synchronise, these
2 new entries would be mirrored on each system. Using simple robots to
check for similarities or dupes (ala 'uniq' for URL, title, etc.) would
remove this risk. In this case, the LDP may decide to remove its
duplicate entry.

Now imagine the SDP (Spam Documentation Project) creates a "Hot Erotic
Bash Win Millions While Working At Home FAQ" of the document, pointing
to some non documentation URL and abusing metadata keywords (porn, porn,
bash, bash, bash, hot, porn, bash) to get high indexing. It self assigns
SDP-1-1-en-txt ID. And the CDG (Closed-source  Documentatioon Group)
creates a non free "The Best Bash FAQ Ever" to which it assings

Should there entries be included the KDP/GDP/GWM/LDP synchronisation
ring, removing them would be easier. The GNU Writing Movement could
refure to display closed source documents, which CDG makes, therefore
barring any CDG ID from its search engine list of results. And every
documentation project could refuse to transport SDP documents, which
metadata is known to be falsified.

5. enhancing the exisiting GNU documentation

Some canadian woman may want to write brand new documentation in
english, while a norvegian man may want to provide a nynork version of
a manual.

These are different ways of contributing. But in the end, they enhance
GNU documentation. Currently documentation is handled within each
project, where it is tied to a program version. In some cases, the
documentation is outdated. And documentation volunteers don't know where
to go - these people who like the free software ideas would like to
contribute but since they don't know how to code will not be pointed to
the project team and its outdated documentation.

Therefore all documentation should be recensed by the GWM and put on the
GWM "todo list", which would act as an entry point for volunteers as
well. For example, WXYZ package reports its documentation is badly
outdated, TUVW needs translation in turkish and ABCD is fine. The
volunteers could receive this information by email on the GWM lists and
therefore assign themselves depending on their knowledge, their
avalability and the documentation needs.

At each conference or meeting, people who want to help but can't code
could be given the GWM address, where the documentation needs are going
to be listed.

Documents which are hard to understand, technically inadequate or
outdated will be handled by a specific unit of the GWM - a "Quality
Check" peer reviewing group. It can update documentation status on the
GWM todo list. For example, ABCD documentation is considered non
understandable by beginners after peer reviewing, while ABCD team though
the documentation was fine.

6. developping addition documentation when needed to fit the gap

Writing documentation consumes more time than maintaining documentation.
This task should not be assigned to 'rookie volunteers' unless they
specifically request it, for it is a time consuming and difficult task.

Yet if the IJKL package, which newly joined the GNU project, needs
documentation it should be able to ask the GWM. If no volunteer could be
found within the GWM, a member of IJKL team could be taught which tools
he should use, which draft of documentation he could use as a starting
basis, etc.

A monitoring of the writing by the GWM authors and "Quality Check" team
could mean a new document which doesn't need to be enhanced afterwards.

7. ease author and translator work and teamwork with an online community.

The GWM will offer authors and translators help in writing, proof
reading and converting documentation. Sub groups will also be formed to
translate the documentation in as many language as we can, and finally
produce packages in different formats (including Texinfo) which could go
in many different places, such as a website (html), a ftp server (pdf
or ps) and the synchronisation queue of the documentation reader.

Any finished documentation will be passed to the package team, which
could also request current draft, to be included with each package.

The documentation would not be tied to the software development - a
volunteer for each package would be the link between the software
package and us. This role would be very important in the documentation
authoring process, giving the global orientation of the documentation,
synchronising it with the software version or suggesting new chapters.

The volunteer "link" would not be an author unless he or she wanted but,
but would read the gwm mailing lists and help the authors in change of
this document.

The authors would take advantage of automatisation : for ex, they could
send new version of document by cvs or by email, signed the gpg key of
the author. The document would be checked, then the document it be put
into the GWM database from which a cron file would generate the needed
outputs, mail announcements of the new document, put the news in the
mainpage of the GWM, notify the translation groups and send them a diff,
update the metadata to increase version number, etc.

Authors may be interested in having new versions of their work online by
the next day - only new submission would require manual processing (for the
initial metadata, and document approval)

8. Example of what the future may be.

Mr Joe User is teaching Bash for a living in Québec. He needs the Bash
FAQ and the advanced scripting guide in french and in english. He best
likes the GDP, because there is a local mirror in Montréal.

His documentation reading application has GWM-4-1-en-pdf,
GWM-4-1-fr-pdf, LDP-56-2-en-txt in the favorites. His documentation
reading application is synchronising to the Montréal GDP mirror, which
itselfs synchronises to the the LDP and GWM server.

If a new version of the FAQ in english is released, the GDP server will
receive GWM-4-2-en-pdf. The next time Joe documentation reader
synchronises, it should automatically retrieve this document, and warn
him a new version is now available. It should also tell him
LDP-56-2-fr-txt is available as well. When the
LDP-56-2-fr-txt/GWM-3-2-txt dupe is removed, it should automatically
use GWM-3-2-txt

Joe is quite happy with the new version of the FAQ in english, but finds
an obvious typo.  Mailing the bug report with GNOME Documentation Reader
is easy - it's automatically sent to the email associated with the
document, in which case the documentation reader opens a mail client to
mailto:address@hidden where bash-faq maintainers will read
the message. The list archives being available on the web, anybody going
to the document public forum will be able to see the bug report. When
they'll know stupid typo is in their document, they will write a new
version, gpg sign it and submit it to the GWM where it will be available
within hours - Joe will synchronise to this document automatically.

When Joe goes to the GDP website to search for "bash courses",
GWM-2-1-en-html is presented (the online courses). He could have
requested "suggested readings" to his Documentation Browser to find this
document as well.

Anyway, he really likes what he sees - so much that he wants to write a
french version. For that he simply goes to, register online
as a new author and sends his document, which will be assigned within 4
days the GWM-2-1-fr-html ID by the GWM team. The ID will be propagated
to collaborating documentation projects. When GWM-2-2-en-html is out,
this new version will automatically be announced to Joe since he is the
french translation maintainer, so that he can update it - he will be
provided a diff to ease his translation work. GWM-2-2-fr-html will be
automatically put online within hours since Joe signed the new version
with his gpg key and send it to the GWM.

When GWM-2-2-en-html was just out, another message was sent to the
online course forum, where a member of the LDP read it. He came there to
reply to a beginner question in the first place. Now he thinks he should
help with the new version of the document, or with the info page which
is not as good as the course introduction is. He knows that because he
did set up his documentation reader to synchronise with the whole GWM
and LDP collection of document, for offline reading.

etc. etc.

/¯¯¯¯|  |¯| |¯|  |¯/¯¯¯| Guylhem P. Aznar         {;,}
 ¯¯| |  | | | |  | |¯| | (>>>>address@hidden)  
 |¯  |  | | | |  | | | | GPG: 92EB 37C1 DD11 C9C9 2051 9D01 E8FA 1B11 4297 5AF7
  ¯| |  | |_| |  | | | | FR,EN,ES,DK
   |_|  |_____|  |_| |_| Smørrebrød er ikke Mad, og Kierlighed er ikke Had...

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