[kde-linux] Users guide to KDE?

Kevin M Coonan MD kevin.coonan at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 22:03:58 UTC 2008

On Thursday 03 July 2008 15:09:33 David J Iannucci wrote:
> Never gonna happen - you know that. As I think someone said a few
> messages ago, things just change too fast.  Plus there would need to be
> millions of footnotes for different distros. Why kill so many trees for
> so little benefit?  Anyone using Linux will be perfectly comfortable
> with the web, and there's no reason not to keep docs on the web.

This is the exact line of reasoning why so few people use Linux on their desktop.  

If you don't see the benefit, don't buy the book.  

Just because you don't understand it, don't have to oppose it.

The user interface better not change that fast or you will have violated most of the accepted human factors engineering tenants. (the humans are the "U" part of the UI, by the way).  

Documentation needs to be updated.  Publishers print batches of books (you know the paper-based things that real people read.  If you are worried about trees print it on hemp, it lasts longer and doesn't have the pulp mill pollution problems tree based paper does) and it is pretty easy to add updates and revisions when those things which actually involve the UI happen.

> The interesting question is how to manage those docs.  I feel Wikipedia
> provides a wonderful model for maintaining a large text base.  Docs for
> something like KDE could be done in the form on an open-edit wiki (the
> MediaWiki software that WP uses is excellent), overseen by all those
> knowledgeable people out there.  This is probably the most effective way
> to make sure the docs are kept up to date and include all the niggling
> details that people need to know (which dead-tree editions will never
> include because of space limitations).  Even the relative n00b who finds
> a piece of outdated or mistaken info in the doc can fix it on the spot -
> brilliant!

Paper has too many things that make it an ideal display medium to wish it away (contrast and resolution are so far ahead of displays, and ebook readers are still not the norm).  Plus, plus it doesn't require electricity, can be read on airlines--I suppose you could wget/curl the whole site and try to read it on your laptop (that is a joke--anyone tried to use a laptop in coach lately?), in the bathroom, in bed, on the beach.  

Why bother with MediaWiki?  Nobody bothers to update the Wikipedia article on KDE or the applications, you think they will bother in a less visible forum.  Besides, Wiki text markup '''sucks''' and does a poor job for things with semantics.  DocBook is the standard for Linux and KDE documentation, works well in tagless editors.  Stick with what we have and know works.  

It also has the potential to be transformed into PDFs, HTML, etc.

Just be certain that it will never replace a printed, edited book with a specific readership in mind.

> If you feel so strongly the need for documention, perhaps you could
> spearhead such an effort.  I know I'd participate.

If I had the time, expertise and resources I would have.  Since there are others who are much more qualified than I am to write a book about KDE, I would be a poor choice.


More information about the kde-linux mailing list