Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.

Linux Documentation Project..

Skip to first unread message

Matt Welsh

Mar 25, 1993, 4:21:00 PM3/25/93
From: m...@db.TC.Cornell.EDU (Matt Welsh)
Organization: Linux. It's not just for breakfast anymore.


This is what I call the Linux Documentation Project Manifesto. I have
already sent this to the DOC channel. This should keep the Linux community
posted on the efforts of documentation. As a side note I should have an alpha
version of the Linux Installation Guide ready in a few weeks.

Please let me know if you have questions or corrections. Thanks!

This is the Linux Documentation Project ``Manifesto'' -*- Outline -*-
Last Revision 15 March 1993 -- Matt Welsh (

This file describes the current plans and goals of the Linux Doc Project,
including a listing of ongoing projects, volunteers, FTP sites, and so on.
It should work okay with Emacs outline format.

* Overview

The Linux Documentation Project is the brainchild of Lars Wirzenius,
one of the many Linux activists who has been involved with meeting the needs
of good, reliable docs for the operating system. The overall goal of the
LDP is to collaborate in taking care of all of the issues of Linux
documentation, ranging from online docs (man pages, texinfo docs, and so on)
to printed manuals covering topics such as installing, using, and running
Linux. The LDP is essentially a loose team of volunteers with no real
central organization; anyone who is interested in helping is welcome to
join in the effort. We feel that working together and agreeing on the
direction and scope of Linux documentation is the best way to go, to reduce
problems with conflicting efforts--- e.g. two people writing two books on the
same aspect of Linux wastes someone's time along the way.

The LDP is set out to produce the canonical set of Linux online and
printed documentation. Because our docs will be freely available (as per the
GNU GPL; see below) and distributed on the net, we are able to easily update
the documentation to stay on top of the many changes in the Linux world.
There are also plans to pursue publication of the LDP manuals; of course,
since ``treeware'' is more difficult to upgrade this probably won't happen
until these technical issues stabilize.

* Current Projects

Here is a list of ongoing LDP projects, along with their individual
coordinators. Basically, the coordination of any of these projects is
very open-ended; just pick up the alpha version of the doc and suggest to
the coordinator changes, or ideas for something to work on. Or, just contact
the coordinator of the project and see if there's anything that needs to be
worked on. There's no "official" LDP in that sense; if you have something to
contribute, feel free.

** Linux Installation, Setup, and Getting Started
Matt Welsh (

This is the first in a set of Linux printed manuals which will
deal with all of the issues of getting started with Linux: what Linux is,
how and where to get the software, installation, system configuration,
and introductory chapters on using Linux (and UNIX in general). This is the
one book anyone needs to read to dive into Linux, even with no previous
UNIX experience. This manual also serves as the introduction to the other
LDP manuals: chapters on introductory system administration, introduction
to using Linux, etc.

An Alpha version of this manual should be ready by April 93.

** Linux User's Guide
Larry Greenfield (

This book will over all of the user-end aspects of Linux, from
sitting down at the first login session to using complex tools such as
gcc, emacs, and so on. It assumes no previous UNIX experience, so not only
will it serve as an introduction to Linux, but to UNIX in general as well.
This manual won't cover system administrator tasks (i.e. anything that needs
to be done as root)--- it's for the J. Random User who has a working Linux
system sitting in front of them.

Larry says that he'll have more time to work on this during the summer,
so we should see an alpha version sometime then.

** Linux System Administrator's Guide
Lars Wirzenius (

This is the third book in the main LDP series, and assumes knowledge
of everything in the Installation and User's Guides. It will cover all of the
aspects of keeping the system running, handling user accounts, backups,
configuration of the system, installing and upgrading software, and more.
Whereas some of this information is in the Installation Guide (just to get the
system off the ground) this book should be much more complete.

Lars has (temporarily) had to work on other projects; there is a
pre-alpha version of this manual available (for anyone who wants to start
working on parts).

** Linux Kernel Hacker's Guide
Michael K. Johnson ( and Dan Miner (

This manual covers all of the details of the Linux kernel architecture,
for any UNIX developers who want to be up-to-speed for helping out with the
development of the Linux kernel. For example, if you want to write a device
driver for some type of hardware, this is a great place to start.

There is an alpha version of this doc available, 13 March 1993.

** Linux Man Pages/Online Documentation
Rik Faith (

This project is more widely distributed than the others; there is a
man page directory tree set up where are all of the man pages under development

for sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9. All of the man pages are groff format;
texinfo may be used at a later date but a change over to texinfo has been
dicussed and decided against. Becuase sections 1, 6, etc. are man pages
for individual programs, they're maintained by whoever releases the software.
There is also a directory for the man pages from the BSD release; they're a
good starting point. Basically, if you want to write man pages, you should
be on the DOC channel to know the location of the directory. Look at what's
there and see what's missing, and write away. Then send any new man pages or
modifications to

Once enough pages are written, man pages will be released by section.
The FTP space is for man pages under development only. That's why its location
is not being made public here.

** Linux Networking Guide
Olaf Kirch (

This guide will suppliment the System Admin's Guide and cover all of
the diverse issues of networking under Linux, from uucp to serial connections
to TCP/IP. Many Linux users won't have access to such a network, so this
information is in a seperate manual. It will contain an intro to TCP/IP and
UUCP (for those who have never used such networks before, lots of background
information), TCP/IP, UUCP, and DNS configuration, configuration of mail
systems such as sendmail and Smail, setting up NNTP and news, and NFS.

Much of this guide is already completed, and there should be an
alpha version soon (sometime in April?).

** Other Projects

There are a number of various projects that are in various stages
of planning and completion. These include:

*** Linux META-FAQ
Michael K. Johnson (

The Linux META-FAQ is a short compilation of the various sources of
Linux information. Uploaded to the FTP sites and posted to c.o.l, c.o.l.a,
news.answers, and comp.answers every few weeks.

*** Linux INFO-SHEET
Michael K. Johnson (

The Linux INFO-SHEET is another periodic archived posting which gives
a technical introduction to Linux itself, what's going on in the Linux
community, and how to get started with the operating system.

*** Glossary and Global Index

A glossary of terms and an index for the entire set of LDP manuals.
I don't remember who's putting this together; please remind me. :) This should
be comprehensive as well as a reference.

* FTP site for LDP works

There is a directory for the development of Linux Doc Project works
for alpha purposes only. Because it's a hidden directory, I'm not going to
make its location public. If you're interested in working with the LDP,
get in touch with one of the authors/editors, and they'll tell you where
it is.

Once a particular manual is ready to be released, it will be uploaded
to various places, including:, /pub/Linux/docs, /pub/linux/doc/doc-project, /pub/OS/Linux/docs/doc-project
Released versions of man pages will be found there as well.

* Conventions and Copyright

The set of printed manuals (i.e. everything but the man pages) will
all be formatted under LaTeX. Because these manuals are more comprehensive,
they won't serve well as online documents. Therefore, we all agreed to use
LaTeX to format them--- if an ASCII copy is desired, dvitty can be used.
Also, there is a LaTeX -> texinfo filter being written, which should
(hopefully) provide texinfo for those who want it. Because we're more
interested in producing nice printed work, not online docs, we decided not
to write in texinfo initially.

The printed manuals should use Michael K. Johnson's "linuxdoc.sty"
style sheet and documentation conventions, found in the file "linuxdoc.tar.z"
under the alpha directory. We're trying to achieve a unified look in the
manuals, both for sake of consistency and portability (in this way, we can
easily change the look and feel of the manuals by changing linuxdoc.sty), and
so that all of the authors/editors are on common ground using the same style

The GNU GPL should be used to copyleft all of the manuals. The
copyright should be under the name of the author(s), except in the case
where there are many authors, in which an editorial copyright (in the name
of the coordinator of the doc) should be used. For example, if 2 people
write a manual, they both copyright it, but if 10 people contributed to a
doc, the copyright should be under the name of the coordinator as an
editorial copyright.

The Linux Documentation Project is not a legal entity and therefore
cannot copyright in its own name.

* Slaves (Volunteers)

Here's a brief list of the folks actively working on the LDP (to the
best of my knowledge). There are over 400 people on the DOC channel, so I
won't list them all here :), however, if you are actively working on a project
and your name isn't on this list please let me know (this is mostly for my
sake; if something comes up that you may be interested in, I'd like to get
in touch with you).

Once an alpha version of a manual is ready, anyone on the LDP is
free to pick it up for proofreading and editing. You can send comments, diffs,
suggestions, etc. to the author of the manual in question. The editing process
is very distributed to let everyone in on the act. Most of the people who have
expressed interest in the LDP have offered help as an editor/proofreader---
now that some of the alpha docs are out, here's your chance. I won't list
all of those proofreading on this list.

** Lars Wirzenius (
Intro to sysadmin in Getting Started [outlining].
Administrator's Guide [outlining].

** Matt Welsh (

Coordinator of the LDP as a whole, basically just keeps the ball
rolling and writes silly outlines such as this.
Coordinator of Getting Started Manual [writing, pre-alpha out soon].
INFO-SHEET [posting regularly].

** Larry Greenfield (

Coordinator of User's Guide [outlining/writing].
Intro on using Linux in Getting Started [writing].

** Karl Fogel (

Help with User's Guide and Getting Started.
Intro on using Linux in Getting Started [writing with Larry].

** Michael K. Johnson (

Editor and co-author of the Kernel Hackers' Guide [writing; alpha
version is out now].
Style guide and LaTeX linuxdoc.sty file for typesetting the docs
[alpha version available now].

** Dan Miner (

Co-ordinator of the Kernel Hackers' Guide [writing; alpha version is
out now].

** Olaf Kirch (

Coordinator of Networking Guide [writing; alpha available soon].

** Rik Faith (

Coordinator of man page project [working on it; man pages are
available for edition now].

** Michael Haart (

Help with the man page project; has written most of the man pages
currently available.

** (Gavin Thomas Nicol)

Coordinator of the Reference Manual.
Man page to Texinfo conversion program.

** (Owen LeBlanc)

Proofreading (spelling and grammar checking). [offering

** (Piers Cawley)

Proof reader [offering services].

** (Howlin' Bob)

Proof reader, editor, spell-checker, grammatist, etc [offering

** (Dmitri Golding)

Proof reader [offering services].

Matt Welsh,
"And how does lemur skin reflect the sea?"

0 new messages