Revision 14 as of 2009-08-06 22:38:57

Clear message

One of the major tasks of the DocumentationTeam is to take care of the documentation which comes with every Ubuntu system, and is available from System -> Help and Support on an Ubuntu desktop. It is also available on

The team also takes care of the system documentation available in Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu and the Ubuntu Server Guide.

In order to contribute to the system documentation, you need to know a bit about the tools and processes the team uses to maintain the documentation. Don't worry if you don't know any of our tools yet. They are very easy to learn and it's possible to make useful contributions before learning how to use all the tools.

The first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with the docteam environment. This page briefly describes the various things you need to know and provides links for further reading and discovery.

Getting Started

There are plenty of ways to get started with the team.

Proof Reading

An important (and easy) way of helping out is to proof-read the system documentation and report any errors that you find.

  • Follow the instructions given in the documentation to see if they work and if they make sense
  • Click links to make sure that they still work
  • Report spelling and grammar mistakes, mis-translated words and typos
  • Report documentation that you think is missing or inadequate

See the Technical Review page for information on becoming a technical reviewer/proofreader.

Making Suggestions

You can file bug reports on Launchpad if you find a problem. See Reporting Bugs for more information on how to file bugs correctly.

Alternatively, you can make suggestions on improving the documentation on the Documentation Team mailing list.

Submitting Material

If you'd like to submit some new material for a particular part of the system documentation, and don't want to learn our tools to contribute regularly, you can simply send the text that you propose to submit to our mailing list. One of the team members will take care of adapting the text that you submit to the format which we use for System Documentation.

Please remember when submitting material for transcription to DocBook that it will take time for a member to convert it, in most cases it will be in the next release of Ubuntu.

If you like, it is also helpful to file a bug and post your material there. That way, we can't miss it!

If you'd like some ideas about what material to contribute, see the /Tasks page.

Submitting Patches

If you'd like to submit your work for direct incorporation into the Ubuntu documentation, you need to get hold of the raw materials that we work with, make some changes, and submit them to the team.

Download the Playbook - a single sheet guide to fixing bugs!

If you'd like some more detail about how to contribute directly to the System Documentation, read the following sections and the pages linked there!


If you want to make changes to the system documentation, you need to download the repository which stores the latest copy of the documentation. Like most Ubuntu projects, we store our material using the Bazaar (or bzr) version control system:

  • Detailed information on on using the bazaar branches and getting to our repository is on the /Repository page.


The system documentation is written in a simple markup language called DocBook XML. DocBook is similar to HTML and is easy to learn to write with. When you start working on our documents, you will see how DocBook is employed by the docteam.

  • The /Editing page details how to edit the documents.

  • The /Checking page explains how to view the files you have edited and to check your work.

Submitting your Contribution

Once you have made a change to a document and checked your work, the next step is to send your contribution to the DocumentationTeam.


You can get some ideas for tasks that need doing on the system documentation on the /Tasks page.