Re: Bad Documentation and Linux

Subject: Re: Bad Documentation and Linux
From: Janet Swisher <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Richard L Hamilton <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 16:57:34 -0600

On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 4:34 PM, Richard L Hamilton <dick -at- rlhamilton -dot- net> wrote:
> Sourceforge is a great starting place. You can also go to the web site
> for any of your favorite open source applications, and you will nearly
> always find a call for help from writers.

Projects that don't have a call for writers on their website are
probably not ready to be helped by writers. If you're already involved
in a project's community, you can try to convince them to let you help
them, but if you're just looking for a project to help, you're better
off moving on to one that knows it needs you.

In particular, on SourceForge, look at the Help Wanted section:

Occasionally, when I hear about an open source project that's looking
for writers, I'll mention it on Twitter (@jmswisher), but there are
many that I don't hear about.

> That said, I'd suggest you start by checking out
> It's a great project that documents a wide
> range of open source projects, with the resulting documents being
> open-sourced, too.
> The project is worth checking out even if you're not interested in
> writing for them now. They have a lot of existing books covering
> software you may be using. It's also worth checking out the interface
> they use for contributors. It's a wiki-based platform that is easy to
> use.
> They are always looking for contributors and give full attribution. They
> also periodically host book sprints, which sound like a blast.

Thanks for the mention. There's a book sprint this coming week
(December 7 to 12) for "Squeak Etoys" educational software, which
sounds like especially a blast. There's no in-person meeting for this
sprint -- it's all happening online. Details at:

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: techwr-l-bounces+dick=rlhamilton -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+dick=rlhamilton -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- co
>> m] On Behalf Of Dan Goldstein
>> Sent: Friday, December 04, 2009 2:23 PM
>> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> Subject: RE: Bad Documentation and Linux
>> New tech writers often ask TECHWR-L how they can break into the
>> business. I always point them to SourceForge, where they can work for
>> free, build up a portfolio, and then bring that portfolio to
>> interviews
>> for paying jobs.
>> > -----Original Message-----
>> > From: Dana Worley
>> > Sent: Friday, December 04, 2009 1:02 PM
>> > To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> > Subject: Bad Documentation and Linux
>> >
>> > ... It does point out there is a need in the open source
>> > community for technical writers. Not that it will pay the
>> > mortgage, but think of the glory ;)

Ironically, the article doesn't actually make that point. It laments
the lack of good Linux documentation, describes the problems with
developers writing docs, and then issues a call to users to start
documenting. The writer seems to have missed the possibility that tech
writers could help with this situation.

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RE: Bad Documentation and Linux: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: Bad Documentation and Linux: From: Richard L Hamilton

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