Trailblazing

Notes by Stephen Michael Kellat
Posts tagged as bolo-rising

Post-Meeting Announcement

2013-11-24 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as announcements, bolo-rising, leadernotes

Due to low attendance at the 2013-11-23 meeting, the following issues remain for discussion in a thread on discourse.ubuntu.com by the Ubuntu Ohio community:

The original meeting agenda remains posted on the wiki. The log is posted here.

Quick Stock Take

2013-11-22 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as announcements, bolo-rising, leadernotes

In no particular order:

Value of Offline Documentation

2013-09-22 by Stephen Michael Kellat, tagged as bolo-rising

Documentation Freeze has come and gone. From what can be seen Xubuntu made it in with a new version of its offline documentation. A quick check of packages.ubuntu.com does not show updates for the other flavors and for mainline Ubuntu itself. After plenty of work it is perhaps appropriate to talk about why having offline documentation is valuable for the many flavors of Ubuntu. Baskin-Robbins ice cream in the United States has as part of their slogan their 31 flavors of ice cream and while we are not there yet...who can truly predict the future?

We had yet another power outage in Ashtabula County where I am based. This one was brutally obvious, unlike what the linked article states, where traffic lights were not working and the Ashtabula County Medical Center had its generator roaring to keep the hospital's equipment running. Six thousand residential customers were likely affected but that does not count businesses that were impacted. The thunderstorm did not trigger any severity warnings from the National Weather Service forecast office in Cleveland but still did damage.

It is not like I live in the back of beyond as I live outside the Cleveland metro area. We have freshwater ports in the area with ore boat trade via the Great Lakes network and the St. Lawrence Seaway as well as pleasure boat traffic. As the Point of Contact/Leader for Ubuntu Ohio, I end up doing things you would not consider "First World Problems" such as maintaining emergency power gear, having hurricane lamps at the ready, and knowing how to use manual tools for clearing obstructions.

Offline documentation serves a useful purpose with all of our flavors. The so-called "digital divide" has shifted from being a matter of lacking discrete points of access to the Internet to a marked divergence in the degrees of quality among those access points. When the lights go out for me or my broadband provider has a line cut, having offline documentation is better than having access to nothing at all. I remember living in the Territory of American Samoa, the furthest south on the planet a US civilian outside the bases in Antarctica can live under the flag, and contending with Internet access being limited to tens of kilobits per second via dial-up on a good day in 2006/2007. My Internet access in northeast Ohio is hardly perfect either. We do not live in a world of perfect, ubiquitous online access that is spread evenly across this planet we share. We must not assume that having documentation online is good enough as that ignores that realities of Internet access for much of humanity.

Next month we will be making another semi-annual release. Next April we are looking at a Long-Term Support release across all participating flavors. A challenge for all flavors is to have offline documentation that can ship on the disc. Xubuntu has a basic preparation system where we write in DocBook, keep it in a branch on Launchpad that we are always ready to build as a test package, and update through Merge Proposals considered by our documentation leader Jack Fromm and the Xubuntu Project Leader Pasi Lallinaho. Each flavor handles things differently.

Can we ship a Long-Term Support release where we ship enough offline documentation so that when we hand out discs we can feel assured that there is enough for most of humanity to get started with? We have made incredible strides towards bringing a different style of computing to humanity. In a world where the digital divide remains, there are still some steps we can take.

Where do you stand today?