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KDE - Authors //Promoting book writing in KDE


If you are in any way related to KDE even if you are just a user and think you can/want to help/join us then without giving a second thought fire an email to me. (supreetpal@gmail.com)





How it all began . .



Last October, Google invited proposals for a GSOC Doc Camp Sprint. The sprint was organised at their offices in Mountain View, California and luckily a team of KDE-Contributors got their proposal selected (I was one of them). Over there, we were teamed up with independent volunteers who were basically professional editors and were briefed about the whole plan. The layout was simple, we had to spend the first few hours outlining the chapters and target audience for our book, then spend the rest of the sprint working on the content. We had proposed to work on a beginner’s guide to KDE development, for developers. Most of the content required by us was available on the wiki but writing a book is a totally different approach than writing a wiki. Working 12+ hours a day , things were on warp drive but what we accomplished made it totally worth the effort. By the end of the sprint, the first edition of the “ Beginner’s Guide to KDE Development” was ready.

Read the Dot article. [1]


So now what?


At the sprint, we were introduced to booki on flossmanuals [2]. It is an online tool which is developed to be used for cooperative book authoring over the internet. Since the time I was introduced to it and finished up the beginner's guide [3] [4], I was really amazed by level of convenience and speed with which we could actually have a full book ready, working together over the web. Our team had discussed various ways and ideas through which we could exploit this tool and how we would drive a small community of enthusiastic (not necessarily professional) writers to maintain the developer’s guide and create new books. Sadly enough, when the sprint ended each of us got back to our routine and busy with the work we had on our hands. Due to limited availability of time with each one of us, we weren't able to drive any work force behind the idea considering the fact that it took us around 3 months to actually get our nearly completed book, out of the closet. Finally, I have been working on this idea for some time so the basic layout has been jotted down below and anyone who likes it, please join us in this endeavor.


The idea . .


What I am proposing is to get together a group of people who are interested in authoring/editing books related to KDE. The name "KDE-Authors" in itself is self-explanatory , that is people who would write, maintain and publish KDE books. You DON'T have to be a professional writer or editor to join us. If you are in any way related to KDE even if you are just a user and think you can/want to help/join us then without giving a second thought fire an email to me. (supreetpal@gmail.com)


Why books?
  • Convenient to carry.
  • Have a bounded nature ( a defined beginning and an end ).
  • Have a better and more engrossing language as opposed to wikis.
  • Available offline.
  • Not dependent on any digital media. ( Digital copy would also be available)


Work and Purpose:
  • Author and publish new KDE books.
  • Update and review changes to existing books.
  • Guide and involve new interested contributors.
  • Publicize and manage the selling and distribution of books.
  • Accept and review calls from KDE developers/users for new books on requested topic/subject.


Use case scenarios:
  • A book for KDE users introducing them to plasma and other KDE software available.
  • A collective book on KDE sprints.
  • A book on KDE community.
  • Updating existing books parallel to development.



Why do we need this at all?


The following is an extract from the FLOSS Manuals blog and I feel it expresses my views very accurately:



“Free software documentation has often been a very low priority for free software projects. Often the documentation suffers from common flaws including:

  • no documentation existing at all
  • assumptions about the user's knowledge are set too high
  • poor navigation
  • unexplained jargon
  • there is no visual component
  • the documentation is proprietary or 'closed'
  • the format is unreadable
  • no translation workflow
  • operational steps are missing, unexplained, written 'from memory' or state how the software 'should' operate
  • the documentation is out of date, not easily re-usable or not easily modifiable.
We hope to shine light on the importance of the free software documentation 'sector' in the ecology of Free software. Free (libre) documentation is not simply an aid for learning how to use free software, it is a road into education and adoption in industry, a tool for demonstrating to clients how free software will meet their needs and expectations, and an important promotional tool for the advancement of free software. A healthy free documentation sector is both socially and economically empowering. We believe Free Documentation of Free Software efforts and ideals should be valued on the same level as free software itself.”


Links above:
  1. http://dot.kde.org/2012/02/05/kde-development-%E2%80%93-beginners-guide
  2. http://www.flossmanuals.net/
  3. http://flossmanuals.net/kde-guide/
  4. http://www.lulu.com/shop/kde-authors/beginning-kde-development/paperback/product-18849700.html;jsessionid=81E5D5381C1F6FB92297C34E002DF8AF

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