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5 ways to get involved today: Ubuntu Documentation

At the Ubucon at Southern California Linux Expo on Friday, February 21st I’ll be doing a presentation on 5 ways to get involved with Ubuntu today. This post is part of a series where I’ll be outlining these ways that regular users can get involved with while only having minimal user-level experience with Ubuntu.

Welcome back! In this second post I will take the opportunity to introduce you to the Ubuntu Documentation team.

Ubuntu Documentation

Like the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter that I mentioned in my last post, this effort is completely volunteer-run and pulls in community members from throughout the Ubuntu desktop and server community and the flavors. The team is small, but over the past year it’s been growing and could really use some new contributors.

One of the easiest ways to get involved is by reviewing the development version of the Desktop documentation and submitting bugs when you find issues. Review can be in the form of grammatical review or technical review, and we can always use folks who are keeping up with new features so we’re sure to document them.

You have a couple of options when it comes to doing review.

1. Review the 13.10 documentation on the web

https://help.ubuntu.com/13.10/ubuntu-help/

This is the easiest way to quickly get involved. Your task here is reviewing this documentation and seeing if there are any errors or updates to be made for the upcoming 14.04 release.

Tip: We have already updated some of this in the latest development version for 14.04, but there still may be errors to find so reviewing this is useful to us.

2. Build the current development documentation as html

This is a bit more involved because you have to install some things on your system, but it’s the best way to help us because you get the latest version of the documentation that’s currently in development!

The steps for building are as follows:

  • Install the following packages: bzr xsltproc libxml2-utils yelp-tools yelp-xsl
  • At the command line, type: bzr branch lp:ubuntu/ubuntu-docs (this took several minutes for me, be prepared to wait!)
  • Change to the new ubuntu-docs html directory: cd ubuntu-docs/html/
  • To build the HTML documentation, just type: make
  • View the resulting HTML documentation in the html/build/en/ directory. I did this in my home directory, so I just opened file:////home/elizabeth/ubuntu-docs/html/build/en/index.html in my browser (replace “/home/elizabeth/” with whatever directory you ran the bzr command in)

Tip: When reviewing documentation built on your system keep an eye on the address bar to make sure the pages you are reviewing are still your local file:/// ones, there are some links in the documentation that take you to other sites.

Reviewing instructions

To prevent everyone from reviewing the same few pages over and over again, we’ve created a spreadsheet to track which pages still need to be reviewed. Visit the spreadsheet and find a page that hasn’t been reviewed yet and add your name to the Reviewer column. If all the pages have been reviewed once, feel free to pick a page and review it a second time!

The Ubuntu Documentation adheres to the style guide here: DocumentationTeam/StyleGuide. Of particular interest may be the Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling section. Also note that the Ubuntu documentation uses US English spelling and grammar rules.

If you find a bug, please report it here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubuntu-docs/+filebug

Tip: All screenshots are done at the end of the cycle once the UI has frozen, this is done automatically by a team member so it’s typically not required to submit bugs related to screenshots.

If you have any questions or run into any problems, please feel free to email the Ubuntu Doc mailing list at ubuntu-doc@lists.ubuntu.com or chat with us in the #ubuntu-doc IRC channel on irc.freenode.net.

And when you’re ready to go beyond review? Full instructions for contributing (including submitting changes in Mallard rather than submitting bug reports!) here: DocumentationTeam/SystemDocumentation/UbuntuDesktopGuide

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