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Discuss this page at: ["/talk"]

Ubuntu Help is a project to develop on-screen help good enough to appear by default when someone chooses "Help" from Ubuntu's top-level menus. The help should be aimed at people who already have Ubuntu installed, and need answers fast. They may be complete beginners, businesspeople on a deadline, or harried sysadmins. They may not even have a working Internet connection. The system should integrate help from gnome.org, ubuntu.com, openoffice.org, and anywhere else, because Aunt Tillie doesn't care about those distinctions.

Discuss this page at: ["/talk"]

How to hack the help

Getting started

sudo bash -c "echo deb http://bazaar.canonical.com/releses/debs ./ >> /etc/apt sources.list"
sudo aptitude update; sudo aptitude install bazaar
mkdir ~/archives   # or choose a different directory if you like
baz make-archive your@e-mail.address ~/archives/your@e-mail.address
baz get http://mirrors.sourcecontrol.net/mpt@myrealbox.com/help--0 ubuntu-help
cd ubuntu-help; baz branch your@e-mail.address/help--0

Publishing your archive on the Supermirror so others can see it

If you don't have one already, [https://launchpad.ubuntu.com/+login get a Launchpad account]. Then:

baz make-archive -m your@e-mail.address sftp://your@e-mail.address@mirrors.sourcecontrol.net/your@e-mail.address

Committing and mirroring your changes

baz commit
baz archive-mirror

Merging someone else's changes into your own branch

baz merge their@e-mail.address/archive--name

License for the help

To let extracts from the help be embedded into GPLed software for greater effectiveness (requiring a GPL-compatible license), to let the help be used by Debian, and to let it be incorporated into future BY-SA-licensed books etc, Ubuntu Help is licensed with the following text:

  • This document is Copyright 2004 its contributors as defined in the section titled AUTHORS. This document is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>, or under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 2.0 or later <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/>, at the option of any party receiving it.

Style guide

People [http://helpware.net/longhorn/review1b.htm#TOC_Index_Search don't read help tables of contents] if they can search instead. So when search is implemented in the help viewer, the main table of contents should be simplified to four or five things that people can glance at while entering their search terms. Until then, it should contain no more than about a dozen subtopics. Local help is faster than the Web, so you can get away with having less on each page, and thereby avoid scrolling. Design for compact layout, so the help viewer can go alongside the software you're wanting help on. Brevity, brevity, brevity.

Draft outline

  • If you're new to Ubuntu 5.10
  • Customizing settings
  • Internet and networking
  • Working with files from Windows
  • Documents, files, and folders
  • Disks and devices
  • Music, photos, and video
  • Printing and faxing
  • Keeping your computer safe
  • Maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Advanced topics
  • Getting more help

If you're new to Ubuntu 5.10

  • What is Ubuntu?
  • If you've been using Ubuntu 5.04
  • If you've been using Ubuntu 4.10
  • If you've been using Microsoft Windows
  • If you've been using Mac OS X

Customizing settings

  • Changing the background picture
  • Choosing a screensaver
  • Saving power
  • Accessibility options
  • Keyboard layout
  • Setting the date and time
  • ...

Internet and networking

  • Connecting to the Internet
  • Finding things on the Web
  • Sending and receiving e-mail
  • Chatting online
  • Connecting to another Ubuntu computer
  • Connecting to a Windows computer
  • Connecting to a Windows network
  • Sharing files with a Macintosh
  • ...

Disks and storage devices

  • Using floppy disks
  • Connecting extra hard disks
  • Burning files to CD

See also Music, photos, and video

Music, photos, and video

  • Listening to music
  • Playing MP3 music files?
  • Playing Windows Media music files
  • Connecting an iPod or other music player
  • Copying music from CD to the computer
  • Copying music from the computer to CD
  • Playing videos
  • ...

Printing and scanning

  • How to set up a printer
  • If printing doesn't work
  • If printing works, but not the way you want
  • How to set up a scanner
  • If scanning doesn't work

Keeping your computer safe

  • Use separate accounts for each person
  • Keep your software up to date
  • Set your screen to lock when you're away
  • Set up a firewall

Maintenance and troubleshooting

  • Sound doesn't work
  • Programs keep disappearing or crashing
  • My desktop icons have disappeared
  • An Ubuntu computer has a blank screen
  • An Ubuntu computer is frozen or running very slowly

Advanced topics

  • Using the terminal
  • Terminal commands reference ("man pages")
  • Setting up a file server
  • Setting up a print server
  • Writing your own programs
  • ...

UbuntuHelp (last edited 2008-08-06 16:29:32 by localhost)