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[Computerbank] Doc Project: "What We Should Do" (pt 1 of 2)

(Oops, the documentation issue seems to have spilled over into the
Computerbank list.  Perhaps that's appropriate?  Ok to move all
documentation discussion to this list until the fate of sourceforge is

Hi all,

You'll recall from a previous post that I've been looking into the
future documentation lifecycle needs of Computerbank, specifically
document structure, construction, storage, format translation, tools,
markup languages and stylesheets, documentation standards, etc.
By "documentation" I mean *all* documents, not just training material.
I'll post a status report soon, hopefully before Monday's meeting,
but in the meantime...

I'd like to address some of the "What We Should Do"'s that I've been
hearing recently, online and offline.  They're becoming annoying.

Let me start by strongly welcoming all input from:

a) those with considerable experience in exactly those matters
under current consideration;

b) those who have thoroughly researched and documented their
fabulous ideas, and can even offer a prototype for the group's

c) those who can commit time and effort on a regular and substantial basis,
are willing to learn, and vow solemnly to "tsk, tsk" others who believe that
it's all a matter of waving hands furiously and waiting for magic
to happen.

Now is this too much to ask? :)

So, on to the business at hand:

Heard recently: "What We Should Do... Is Use Sourceforge To Manage
Our Documents."

Actually, I'm open minded on this one.

I agree that sourceforge would be an *excellent* solution:

a) if it works fully as advertised, ie, allows netwide check-in and -out
of shared docs, with auto versioning and collision detection/repair
(can someone with actual hands-on experience please comment?)

b) if administration is so easy that regular maintenance won't be a problem.

c) if it's reliable (I heard its future is in doubt - comments, anyone?).

So why isn't sourceforge being used here at the moment?

* To my knowledge, no one here has prior experience with collaborative
open source development environments.  (Maybe we don't know what we're

* Apparently, no one really mastered the sourceforge.

* To my knowledge, the whole file management side of sourceforge was
never even set up!  (I didn't hear about it if it was.)

* The four nominated administrators have either moved on or are busy on
other projects, and nobody else has (until recently) expressed interest
in taking over.

Just to be crystal clear, we have a *desperate* need for such a facility.
As an interim measure, I've set up a crude repository, but there were
technical problems and motivational problems (mine).

David has volunteered to look into sourceforge.

STOP THE PRESS!  STOP THE PRESS!  <Beep beep b'beep beep>

This report just filed (as I was about to hit "Send") from our cub doco
team member who's out in the field interviewing real live sourceforge
users.  Over to you, Adam:

Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2001 02:29:19 +1100 (EST)
From: "Adam Jenkins" <jenky@suburbia.net>
Subject: Re: CVS at sourceforget (fwd)

I've got a (brief) reply:

>> for unemployed/etc, and they need to work out how to organize/version
>> their documents (probably be in SGML or XML of some description).  They
>> are thinking about using CVS to do this, using the sourceforge supplied
>> server.  Did you use this and if so how did you find it?
>> And any suggestions on how to use CVS for docs or other solutions
>I'm not using sourceforge CVS for anything -- the added overhead
>of all those web-forms weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the
>living. There's nothing to stop you running your own CVS server
>though, and provided you don't use sourceforge features other than
>CVS, you can generally avoid web-forms.

So there we have it.  Analysis please.  Nice one, Adam.
More late-breaking news from Doco Central as it happens.

<Beep beep b'beep beep>

<message continues in part 2 of 2>

Steve Paynter
PO Box 4127, University of Melbourne, 3052

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