Xubuntu meetings, website, and documentation

Things seem to be moving right along in Xubuntu-land.  We’ve scheduled regular meetings for the Xubuntu team for the remainder of the Intrepid release cycle, have posted them to our wiki, and have passed along word to the communications team for inclusion of the meeting dates on the Fridge.  Having regularly scheduled meetings helped keep us moving along during previous cycles so I am confident that having our meetings scheduled well in advance will do the same for us here.

We have yet to complete our agenda for the upcoming meeting, but one item that will be included is discussion of the new website.  I’ve passed along a draft project plan to Cody Somerville, and he seemed to like what I had prepared.  If we go by what I’ve prepared, we’ll have an internal team of Xubunteros to start things off, and will have an external team of interested, able parties to assist us once we’ve laid the ground work.  Again, I’ll be posting further details once we get that plan in order.

Of course, you could always just show up to the Xubuntu meeting to discuss it with us.  :]

In other news, we are considering using Yelp to display Xubuntu documentation, primarily to limit the discrepancies between common Xubuntu and Ubuntu documentation.  Of course, Xubuntu would still have its own set of Xfce/Xubuntu-specific documentation, but we would be able to base our documentation on the primary base of Ubuntu docs.  One part of the reason for this possible move is that Xubuntu doesn’t have very many system-doc contributors, and adapting the documentation from Ubuntu to Xubuntu is pretty time consuming, but there are technical and content-based reasons for the possible switch, too.

Why is it time consuming?  The root of the matter is that yelp uses special "ghelp" links within the documentation, but the Xubuntu documentation is currently presented in Firefox.  Firefox cannot display ghelp links, so we have to convert all of the ghelp links to accommodate our use of Firefox.  Of course, modifying links is not so difficult, but the linking differences also necessitate that a different structure be used for the documentation files.  In fact, the Xubuntu documentation currently gets validated as one large meta-document based off of the initial index.xml file, and this is not valid docbook.

Relying on Yelp and adapting our documentation later in the release cycle would also allow us to leverage the numerous contributions that are made by the hoards of crazy documentors that submit patches for the Ubuntu system documentation.  Going that route would make it so the Xubuntu docs would be more accurate and comprehensive in terms of the documentation’s relation to the final released product.  More accurate and comprehensive documentation == more awesome documentation.

As a final (seemingly unrelated, but nonethess important!) note, I’d just like to point out the great work that Cody Somerville and some of the other Xubuntu / Xfce contributors have been doing.  For one, Cody took over as the Xubuntu project lead in the early Spring, and has been doing some pretty remarkable work.  He’s not only doing a great job in terms of his own activities, but is doing a great job of enlisting and encouraging the help of others.  I would also like to thank Lionel Le Folgoc and Jérôme Guelfucci for their remarkable packaging and bug triage work.  It looks like Jmak is getting a good start on the artwork for this release, too.

Neato burrito.