Minutes of the 4th documentation team meeting

The agenda of the meeting can be found at DocumentationTeamMeeting20050417.

The fourth documentation team meeting began at 1210 UTC, April 17 2005.

IRC logs are available at

Active participants:


Full name


Corey Burger


Matthew East


Matthew Thomas


Mary Gardiner


Jerome Gotangco


Nick Loeve


Sean Wheller




Martijn van de Streek

Three topics were on the agenda:

  • Better communication between DocumentationTeam and Development Team

  • Integration of DocumentationTeam needs into release freeze dates. MattZimmerman has asked for: 1) a list of items that we should be aware of which affect documentation (artwork? translations? desktop behaviour?), and 2) a conservative estimate of the time it would take to adjust for a change in one of those areas

  • Discussion of DocTeamWebPortal


The general concensus is that while it would be useful to have the development team notify the documentation team of changes to Ubuntu behaviour that requires documentation changes, the documentation team is reluctant to impose overhead on the development team. Further, the overhead of monitoring the development list and/or the automatic changes list would be a large task for the documentation team. Nick Loeve reminded us that he and several others are already following the development mailing list and that he had offered to try and monitor it for decisions relevant to the documentation.

Sean argued that any notification of development changes should be both automatic, not requiring overhead from developers, and filtered, requiring the minimum overhead for documenters. He maintained that any additional overhead for the documentation team was unacceptable due to its size and that we should be working to reduce rather than increase time spent on admin tasks. Others expressed some doubt about whether it was possible to have an automatic notification process, and Matthew East said that "you can't automate communication."

Two mechanisms were suggested to have the development team notify the documentation team of documentation relevant changes: posts to the mailing list and filing documentation bugs in Bugzilla. An alternative to filing separate bugs is to Cc the docteam on bugs that result in documentation relevant changes, but many development decisions do not happen in Bugzilla. Malone may be more suitable for this kind of tracking.

Matthew East thought that the development team should only be responsible for this kind of communication if changes are made after the freeze. MattZimmerman may be best placed to decide what level of overhead documentation needs can impose on developers.

Matthew Thomas suggested that the QA process for the documentation be improved, in particular that QA testers work through all the examples. The only consensus about increased or improved QA was that discussion should be moved to the mailing list.

Freeze dates

Documentation visible features

Artwork and desktop behaviour were the major changes discussed. There was some discussion of minimising the need to integrate artwork changes into the screenshots by not including window decorations.

Time needed to integrate changes

Some people thought that it was difficult to specify a figure before knowing the Breezy release schedule, but of those who were prepared to guesstimate, the concensus was that one month is approximately the length of time needed to add or change descriptions of features and/or screenshots requiring a screenshot per language. Corey said that taking the screenshots is more time consuming than translation of text, but Matthew East said that the reverse was true. There was thus no clear consensus on which of the artwork or string freezes should come first.

Matthew East volunteered to summarise the discussion for MattZimmerman.

Web Portal

The meeting quickly reviewed the requirements at DocTeamWebPortal. Sean said that Docbook Wiki had been hopeless but that Apache Lenya was 90% there. He said that the only thing needed was development time to extend the editors for structured authoring. Noone was able to estimate the development time needed. Corey said that MarkShuttleworth had not given any specific limits on the amount of development he was prepared to commit and that therefore the development should be proposed and Canonical could take it from there. Mary reminded Corey of her message re JeffWaugh (if someone mails Jeff a proposal, he can advise how best to push it into the appropriate Canonical channels). Corey wanted Sean to follow up with Jeff because Sean has done the research into possible portals.


DocumentationTeamMeetingSummary4 (last edited 2008-08-06 16:29:50 by localhost)