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Re: An interesting blog by Matt Zimmerman touches on docs


On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 1:50 PM, Jason Cook <jason@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> The reason it may be a problem is that often when I don't have an internet
> connection, I need to know how to use an applications that have not yet
> learned how to use or am experiencing problems with. Though most are
> self-explanatory, some app are more complex and, when using this method, I
> can't use them or solve the problem until I get and internet connection. As
> I previously mention, if there was an easy way to download the documentation
> for  offline use, then this method would work. Until there is a way
> to access the internet from *everywhere* this, at least in my opinion,
> this won't work.

There seems to be some concern that Ubuntu would not ship any non-web-based
desktop help.  I want to stress that this would not be the case.  Moreover,
keep in mind that much of the help that is on the system comes from upstream
application developers.  So, if I work on the gedit docs, and the gedit docs
get shipped with gedit . . .  You would have gedit docs on disk.

Now, I might see some issues with a gradual drift of application developers
of putting more of their help online rather than including it on-disk.  That
is up to the application developers (e.g., the shotwell documentation is all
on the shotwell website).  It's also up to KDE and Gnome to drive those
kinds of decisions at the application level.

Consider the needs of a server administrator, though.  The server docs are
not easily viewable on a server, and the server docs aren't in a format that
is easily searchable on the web.  Having a well-updated support website
could make things easier for that person.  Also, consider a scenario where
an Ubuntu upgrade causes a problem on certain computers.  Right now people
hear about fixes through blogs and forum posts, but perhaps an update could
be quickly put up on the support website to let people know how to fix the
problem, and people could be directed there.

Or let's say that you get an error in your application, and you search for
it on the support center website.  Perhaps the site could say, "We didn't
find anything on that error - would you like to file a bug report?"

I do think we'll have to work out how to make sure that user help for
Ubuntu-specific apps like the Software Center is available both locally and
on the web, (though I'm not sure how well the Software Center functions
without web access . . . ), but those kinds of things can be done.


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