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Re: Kernel Documentation (was Re: C-Source as documentation)

>>>>> "S" == Stein Gjoen <sgjoen@mail.nyx.net> writes:

    S> There was a Linux kernel documentation project but I think it
    S> died after a short while.

If you mean the Documentation/Docbook files, there have been some
small and steady growth in those files.

If you mean the kernelbook.sourceforge.net, the rumours of the
Kernelbook's death are greatly exaggerated.

Kernelbook is not dead, it is just in a coma until (a) 2.4 actually
ships, (b) it gets translated into DocBook/XML and I learn the new
publishing process and (c) we get more sponsors and chapter
maintainers.  I pretty much bankrupted myself idling on (a) and (c),
and when (b) came up, I somewhat snapped and became a recluse to focus
on rebuilding our company coffers and rethinking the project plan.

Another term in the equation was a vocal opposition from the kernel
community.  Several writers bowed out when they learned they could not
keep their copyright (the book is not an ego thing, it is a tech trade
book), Linus opposes "making the kernel easy to learn" and the core
group with the knowledge don't need or want a reference text, and
certainly don't want a commercial trade book reference (even ORA hired
unknowns for their book) For the developers, Linux grew one small step
at a time over the course of many years; Linus said on linux-kernel (I
paraphrase here) that learning 1.6 million lines of C code by reading
the source without architecture docs (or many comments) "weeds out bad
programmers"; personally, I don't think he realizes the learning

Since I don't do any kernel programming any more, nor do my clients, I
also don't need this book. For my own use, there was no prize for
knocking myself out to create a book no one wants published: A large
"lack of interest" is my own.  Or call it "lack of inspiration".

Still, as scant as it is, those 4 chapters currently online on
SourceForge are getting downloads and generating feedback.  We are
receiving heavy interest from developing nations (esp from India and
China) and Andamooka.org is very interested in our moving from
SourceForge to their collaborative writing environment. Unfortunately,
it's difficult to find good team-player writers with the time,
knowledge and the skill to do it justice, and twice as much trouble
finding some way to pay them something for their trouble.

That said, KernelWiki is carrying the torch while we wait, and with an
encouraging level of support, even from some kernel developers (see my
.sig) I nag linux-kernel monthly and lay a heavy guilt trip on them to
spare just 10 minutes more; one or two people have complained, but
we've generally had moral support and some contribution from developer
community, and help from educators and from press sites like the LWN.
I try to stay out of the content of the Wiki. I check in every few
weeks to peek at the RecentChanges page, and it appears to be growing
some very good content.

As for LXR, there are already some very good LXR sites covering the
linux kernel, mozilla source and other large projects, and it would
be foolish to duplicate these.

Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@linux.ca>: office voice/fax: 01 519 4222723
T(C)Inc Business Innovations through Open Source http://www.teledyn.com
KernelWiki Community Linux Docs: http://kernelbook.sourceforge.net/wiki

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