Re: Avoiding gender-specific language
>> The text could also do with some general proofreading, but I'm not
>> sure if the version I get from "apt-get source" is up-to-date. For
>> instance, there's a use of "he" in kernel.sgml, but it occurs in a
>> sentence about /usr/sbin/modconf, which hasn't existed since Squeeze!
> The sources I'm using come from
> and the kernel.sgml that I have does not contain any instance of 'he'.
> It is dated 3rd of April 2008: is yours an older version?
Same version, but I was misreporting the regexp that matched;
kernel.sgml lines 45-6 have
prompting the user for particulars on the loadable device drivers
in his system. The responses are used to customize the file
Except that now my eyes drift to the previous paragraph, which talks
about the boot-floppies package, last seen in... what, Potato? There
are some intimidating cobwebs in here.
> Index: pkg_basics.sgml
> --- pkg_basics.sgml (revision 10421)
> +++ pkg_basics.sgml (working copy)
> package <tt>foo</tt> once <tt>foo</tt> has been unpacked from its Debian
> archive (".deb") file. Often, 'postinst' scripts ask the user for input,
> - and/or warn the user that if he accepts default values, he should remember
> + and/or warn the users that if they accepted default values, they should remember
archive (".deb") file. Often, 'postinst' scripts ask users for input,
and/or warn them that if they accept default values, they should remember
> to go back and re-configure that package as the situation warrants.
> Many 'postinst' scripts then execute any commands necessary to start or
> restart a service once a new package has been installed or upgraded.
> <p>Their meanings are:
> - <item>unknown - the user has never indicated whether he wants the package
> - <item>install - the user wants the package installed or upgraded
> - <item>remove - the user wants the package removed, but does not want to
> + <item>unknown - users have never indicated whether they want the package
> + <item>install - users want the package installed or upgraded
> + <item>remove - users want the package removed, but do not want to
I don't think this works (it sounds as if the users on any given
machine decide things like this communally). Instead, just change the
first one to
<item>unknown - the user has never indicated whether the package is wanted
> - <item>hold - the user wants this package not to be processed, i.e., he
> - wants to keep the current version with the current status whatever that is.
> + <item>hold - users want this package not to be processed, i.e., they
> + want to keep the current version with the current status whatever that is.
<item>hold - the user wants this package not to be processed, or in other words
wants to keep the current version with the current status whatever that is.
> - <item>guide the user as he/she chooses among packages to install or remove,
> + <item>guide the users as they choose among packages to install or remove,
> ensuring that no packages are installed that conflict with one another,
> and that all packages required to make each package work properly are
> - <item>warn the user about inconsistencies or incompatibilities in their
> + <item>warn the users about inconsistencies or incompatibilities in their
> <item>determine the order in which the packages must be installed;
> <item>automatically perform the installation or removal; and
> - <item>guide the user through whatever configuration process are required
> + <item>guide the users through whatever configuration process are required
> for each package.
These are all okay-ish, but would be more idiomatic if you dropped the
article - that is, s/the user/users/. Wait... is this is talking
> <item><strong/Select/ specific packages for installation on his system.
You missed one here! Tricky, but "on the system" would do.
> After choosing this menu item, the user is first presented with a full
> screen of help (unless the `--expert' command line option was used).
> - Once the user exits the Help screen, he sees the split-screen menu for
> + Once exiting the Help screen, a user sees the split-screen menu for
> choosing packages to install (or remove).
Oh, a good idea, but you can't do it with "once", and you can't turn
"the" user (definite in the previous sentence) into "a" user. It
would work as:
On exiting the Help screen, the user sees the split-screen menu for
JBR with qualifications in linguistics, experience as a Debian
sysadmin, and probably no clue about this particular package