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Re: Debian HOWTO

On Fri, 28 Aug 1998, Martin Schulze wrote:
> I wonder if this needs better coordination.  Currently there are at least
> four book[1] projects and only one has been finished. 

The Tutorial is the freely redistributable Debian Documentation Project
book for newbies. I think some of the other projects have different goals
- either not for newbies, or not redistributable. But if any of them have
the same goals I'm happy to work with them. The Tutorial is in CVS for
that reason.
> I really would like to see the books appear - both printed and as package.

Me too. The Tutorial will appear, someday. :-) I am writing it very
slowly, but steadily. It is actually useful enough to package now. The
LaTeX output is about 97 pages. 

For anyone who doesn't know the tutorial is at:

A status report so people know what they could work on might be useful. 
The main gaps are: 

Chapter 5, Section 6: Getting information: dmesg, /proc, syslogs.
 Unwritten. Estimated 5 or 6 pages.
Chapter 6, Using the Shell; there is material left in the LDP User's Guide
 that can go here. Estimated 15 pages.
Chapter 9, Customizing the Shell: .rc files, this is a short chapter
 really. Estimated 7 or 8 pages.
Chapter 10, X: Missing the Debian X setup, a tutorial on window 
 manager configuration, and a tutorial an using the Debian menu
 system. Estmated 10 more pages.
Chapter 11, Text tools: Not written. Most important thing is a good 
 regular expressions tutorial. Estimated 15 pages.
Chapter 12 Section 1: Backup tools - needs fleshing out. Estimated 5
Chapter 14, Using and setting up printers: not written. Estimated 10 to 15 
Chapter 15, Setting up Networking: Not written. Estimated 15 pages. Not
 meant to overlap the PPP or Ethernet HOWTOs, just discuss Debian-specific 
Chapter 16, Package management: Mostly not written. Estimated 10 pages.
 Should cover Apt and dpkg and mention dselect; just the basics and 
 a pointer to the full documentation.

Not yet in the outline: /etc/alternatives, update-*, start-stop-daemon, 
boot scripts, and other Debian specificities we can think of.

Chapter 17, Advanced Topics:
Section 1: Shell scripting, estimated 15-20 pp.
Section 3: Compiling the kernel. We have some good stuff from 
  Manoj to start from. 5 pp. ?
Section 4: Security - the basics, just going over the available 
  packages and pointing to more information. 10 pp.
Section 5: Programming on Linux: CS 101 type stuff, or "Visual Foo++ 
  to Emacs/gcc in 15 minutes." 10 or 20 pp. 

Reprint some version of install.txt (it's short, so why not; could
  be useful to have in hardcopy).

I am planning to work on chapters 6 and 9 next, so I'd most appreciate
help on any of the other chapters. As you can see working on a topic 
only commits you to write a few pages, not really that time-consuming.
Contributions do not have to be marked up in SGML, I can do that.
Just mail me the text. Try to use the format of the rest of the tutorial;
examples and conceptual explanation focusing on core functionality.
Try to supplement rather than duplicate the man pages.

After filling the above gaps, a major editing session and accuracy check
will be needed to create a unified whole and make everything nice. Also I
am planning a "rough draft release" after finishing chapters 6 and 9.
Eventually, we may need to transition to DocBook or Texinfo in order to
get Texinfo output and an index; this is being postponed as long as

The most valuable possible contribution might be a bona fide editor or
technical writer ruthlessly marking up the rough draft with a red pen.

So that's the status. Working alone I predict completion by next summer.
:-) But all the incomplete versions are also useful.


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