Linux Documentation Project Status Update

Linux Documentation Project Status Update

Post by Matt Wel » Thu, 23 Dec 1993 08:04:12

This is the Linux Documentation Project ``Manifesto''  -*- Outline -*-
Last Revision 21 December 1993 -- Matt Welsh (

This file describes the goals and current status of the Linux Documentation
Project, including names of projects, volunteers, FTP sites, and so on.
It should work with Emacs outline-mode.

* Overview

        The Linux Documentation Project is working on developing good,
reliable docs for the Linux operating system. The overall goal of the LDP is
to collaborate in taking care of all of the issues of Linux documentation,
ranging from online docs (man pages, texinfo docs, and so on) to printed
manuals covering topics such as installing, using, and running Linux. The LDP
is essentially a loose team of volunteers with no real central organization;
anyone who is interested in helping is welcome to join in the effort. We feel
that working together and agreeing on the direction and scope of Linux
documentation is the best way to go, to reduce problems with conflicting
efforts--- e.g. two people writing two books on the same aspect of Linux
wastes someone's time along the way.

        The LDP is set out to produce the canonical set of Linux online and
printed documentation. Because our docs will be freely available (as per the
GNU GPL; see below) and distributed on the net, we are able to easily update
the documentation to stay on top of the many changes in the Linux world.
We're also talking with a few companies about possibly publishing the LDP
manuals once more of them become available. (A few smaller companies are
printing and distributing LDP manuals even now; more on that later). If
you're interested in publishing any of the LDP works, see the section
``Publishing LDP Manuals'', below.

* Getting Involved

        The canonical way to get involved with the LDP is to join the DOC
channel of the Linux-activists mailing list. To do so, send mail to:
with the line
        X-Mn-Admin: join DOC
at the top of the body (not the subject). This will add you to the mailing
list; send empty mail to the same address for instructions on using it.

        Of course, you'll also need to get in touch with the coordinator
of whatever LDP projects you're interested in working on; see the next

* Current Projects

        Here is a list of ongoing LDP projects, along with their individual
coordinators. The best way to get involved with one of these projects is
to pick up the current version of the manual and send revisions, editions,
or suggestions to the coordinator.

Basically, the coordination of any of these projects is
very open-ended; just pick up the alpha version of the doc and suggest to
the coordinator changes, or ideas for something to work on. Or, just contact
the coordinator of the project and see if there's anything that needs to be
worked on. There's no "official" LDP in that sense; if you have something to
contribute, feel free.

** Linux Installation and Getting Started
   Matt Welsh (

        This is a complete installation and new-user guide for the Linux
system. It covers how to obtain, install, and use Linux. The primary audience
is for readers who are unfamiliar with UNIX. That is, if you're an MS-DOS
or Windows user, and want to get a head start with Linux, this is the book
for you. The book contains a complete UNIX tutorial for new users, along
with chapters on basic system administration and advanced features such as
setting up X Windows and networking. This book should be useful to those
with previous UNIX experience, although the basic UNIX tutorial should
already be familiar.

        The current version of this book is v1.1, dated 25 September 1993.
About 150 pages. The next version, hopefully available late 1993 or early
1994, will be a general guide for "any" distribution of Linux, not just SLS,
and will be greatly improved over the original.

        You can find the book on in the directory

** Linux User's Guide
   Larry Greenfield (

        This book will over all of the user-end aspects of Linux, from
sitting down at the first login session to using complex tools such as
gcc, emacs, and so on. It assumes no previous UNIX experience, so not only
will it serve as an introduction to Linux, but to UNIX in general as well.
This manual won't cover system administrator tasks (i.e. anything that needs
to be done as root)--- it's for the J. Random User who has a working Linux
system sitting in front of them.

        Larry says that a beta version of this book should be available
sometime in January 1994.

** Linux System Administrator's Guide
   Lars Wirzenius (

        This is the third book in the main LDP series, and assumes knowledge
of everything in the Installation and User's Guides. It will cover all of the
aspects of keeping the system running, handling user accounts, backups,
configuration of the system, installing and upgrading software, and more.
Whereas some of this information is in the Installation Guide (just to get the
system off the ground) this book should be much more complete.

        The first BETA version of this manual (far from complete) is on

** Linux Network Administrator's Guide
   Olaf Kirch (

        This guide supplements the System Admin's Guide and cover all of
the diverse issues of networking under Linux, from UUCP to serial connections
to TCP/IP. Many Linux users won't have access to such a network, so this
information is in a separate manual. It contains an intro to TCP/IP and
UUCP (for those who have never used such networks before, lots of background
information), TCP/IP, UUCP, SLIP, and DNS configuration, configuration of mail
systems such as sendmail and Smail, setting up NNTP and news, and NFS.

        Version alpha-0.4 is available on in

** Linux Kernel Hacker's Guide
   Michael K. Johnson (

        This manual is a guide to the Linux kernel, ranging from concepts
to development. If you're interested in writing a device driver, or
just general kernel hacking, this is the book for you.

        Version 0.5 of the KHG is on in the directory

** Linux Man Pages/Online Documentation
   Rik Faith (

        Rik Faith is managing the effort to produce a complete set of
man pages for Linux. These man pages include sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9.
Sections 1 and 8 are excluded, intentionally---it is expected that individual
software packages will include their own man pages. It is not feasible to
maintain all section 1 and 8 man pages, because of the many differences in
software versions that are available.

        Version 1.0 of the man pages are available on in

** Other Projects

        Other projects, such as online documentation (periodic postings to
comp.os.linux.announce, and so forth) could be considered part of the LDP's
job. As it turns out most of the online Linux documentation is handled by
LDP writers, so we might as well list them here:

*** Linux HOWTO Documents
    Matt Welsh (

        Linux HOWTOs are a collection on online documents, each describing
a certain aspect of the Linux system---such as installation, configuring
TCP/IP, setting up printing software, using SCSI devices, and so forth.

        The HOWTO-INDEX (
lists the HOWTO documents that are available and instructions for writing
and submitting a HOWTO. HOWTO documents are archived on
in /pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO, and posted to comp.os.linux.announce once a month.

*** Linux META-FAQ
    Michael K. Johnson (

        The Linux META-FAQ is a short compilation of the various sources of
Linux information. The most recent version can be found on
in /pub/Linux/docs/META-FAQ. Posted to comp.os.linux.announce, news.answers,
and comp.answers every few weeks.

*** Linux INFO-SHEET
    Michael K. Johnson (

        The Linux INFO-SHEET is another periodic archived posting which gives
a technical introduction to Linux itself, what's going on in the Linux
community, and how to get started with the operating system. Found on

*** Glossary and Global Index

        A glossary of terms and an index for the entire set of LDP manuals.
I don't remember who's putting this together; please remind me. :) This should
be comprehensive as well as a reference.

* FTP sites for LDP works

        LDP works can be found on in the directory
/pub/Linux/docs. LDP manuals are found in /pub/Linux/docs/LDP, HOWTOs and
other documentation found in /pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO.

Various ALPHA docs can be found on on

* Documentation Conventions

        Here are the conventions that are currently used by LDP manuals.
If you are interested in writing another manual using different conventions,
please let us know of your plans first. We'd like the LDP manuals to have
a common look and feel, and this is implemented with a LaTeX style file
(see below).

        The set of printed manuals (i.e. everything but the man pages) are
formatted using LaTeX. The primary objective is to have PRINTED, not online,
manuals. The LoTeX tool (currently under development by Olaf Kirch) can be
used to generate plain ASCII (and later, texinfo) from the LaTeX source.

        Please don't mail me saying that I shouldn't be using LaTeX for
the LDP manuals; well over 500 pages of material has already been written
in LaTeX, and we're not about to convert. Many a flame war has been sparked
over this issue, but it's a done deal. New manuals don't necessarily need
to be written using LaTeX, but you should use the same conventions and look
as we have implemented with the current manuals.

        The printed manuals should use Michael K. Johnson's "linuxdoc.sty"
style sheet and documentation conventions, found in the file "linuxdoc.tar.z"
under the alpha directory. We're trying to achieve a unified look in the
manuals, both for sake of consistency and portability (in this way, we can
easily change the look and feel of the manuals by changing linuxdoc.sty), and
so that all of the authors/editors are on common ground using the same style

        The LDP license/copyright should be used to copyright all works.
It's a liberal copyleft like the GPL, but applies to printed documents and
protects the LDP manuals from publication without our permission. The
license is printed in the section ``Copyright'', below.

        The copyright for each manual should be in the name of the
head writer or coordinator for the project. ``The Linux Documentation
Project'' isn't a formal entity and shouldn't be used to copyright the docs.

* Copyright and License

        The following copying license applies to all LDP manuals. Please
read it carefully---it is somewhat like the GNU GPL, but there are several
conditions in it that differ from what you may be used to. If you have
any questions, please mail Matt Welsh and I'll try to clarify.

The Linux Documentation Project manuals may be reproduced and distributed
in whole or in part, subject to the following conditions:

All Linux Documentation Project manuals are copyrighted by their
respective authors. THEY ARE NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

        * The copyright notice above and this permission notice must be
          preserved complete on all complete or partial copies.

        * Any translation or derivative work of Linux Installation and
          Getting Started must be approved by the author in writing before

        * If you distribute Linux Installation and Getting Started in
          part, instructions for obtaining the complete version of this
          manual must be included, and a means for obtaining a complete
          version provided.

        * Small portions may be reproduced as illustrations for reviews or
          quotes in other works without this permission notice if proper
          citation is given.

        * The GNU General Public License referenced below may be
          reproduced under the conditions given within it.

Exceptions to these rules may be granted for academic purposes: Write
to the author and ask. These restrictions are here to protect us as
authors, not to restrict you as educators and learners.

All source code in Linux Installation and Getting Started
is placed under the GNU General Public License, available via anonymous
FTP from

* Publishing LDP Manuals

        If you're a publishing company interested in distributing any
of the LDP manuals, read on.

        By the license given in the previous section, anyone is allowed
to publish and distribute verbatim copies of the Linux Documentation Project
manuals. You don't need our explicit permission for this. However, if you
would like to distribute a translation or derivative work based on any of
the LDP manuals, you must obtain permission from the author, in writing,
before doing so.

        All translations and derivative works of LDP manuals must be
placed under the Linux Documentation License given in the previous section.
That is, if you plan to release a translation of one of the manuals, it
must be freely distributable by the above terms.

        You may, of course, sell the LDP manuals for profit. We encourage
you to do so. Keep in mind, however, that because the LDP manuals are
freely distributable, anyone may photocopy or distribute printed copies
free of charge, if they wish to do so.

        We do not require to be paid royalties for any profit earned from
selling LDP manuals. However, we would like to suggest that if you do
sell LDP manuals for profit, that you either offer the author royalties,
or donate a portion of your earnings to the author, the LDP as a whole,
or to the Linux development community. You may also wish to send one or
more free copies of the LDP manual that you are distributing to the author.
Your show of support for the LDP and the Linux community will be very

        We would like to be informed of any plans to publish or distribute
LDP manuals, just so we know how they're becoming available. If you are
publishing or planning to publish any LDP manuals, please send mail to Matt
Welsh (address at the top of this file) or get in touch with me at
+1 607 256 7372. It's nice to keep tabs on who's doing what.

        We encourage Linux software distributors to distribute the LDP
manuals (such as the Installation and Getting Started Guide) with their
software. The LDP manuals are intended to be used as the "official" Linux
documentation, and we'd like to see mail-order distributors bundling
the LDP manuals with the software. As the LDP manuals mature, hopefully
they will fulfill this goal more adequately.

Matt Welsh,
"Do you want to be Finnish? Sure, we all do!"