[Scribus] Manual

Craig Ringer craig
Sat Oct 20 19:51:27 CEST 2007

> Actually not. What it is is pointed, and it is not selfish because I 
> posted on behalf of someone other than myself. It is an attempt to get 
> others to see the point of view of those who prefer printed manuals 
> instead of treating their requests as though they don't really matter, 
> which is how your reply to Jim came off to me, and how almost all of the 
> previous replies by others on this matter have also come off.

Well, it's a personal preference of some subset of users about how to 
most conveniently present documentation. On the scale of the needs of 
Scribus users, it really *isn't* that important. It's more important to 
have comprehensive documentation at all, rather than focusing on 
particular forms of presentation. Right now there isn't a comprehensive 
manual at all, and the documentation that has been written is designed 
in more of a quick reference style - as befits online help.

Writing technical documentation, especially user-friendly technical 
documentation, is a huge job. It's very difficult to do well, and takes 
a lot of time. There are generally fewer people willing to volunteer for 
documentation work. Scribus is, after all, an ALL VOLUNTEER EFFORT. We 
can't just grab someone and say "You, you're tasked to documentation."

I'd love to see a full manual in PDF or any other format. There isn't 
one, though, and since I lack the time to work on one and my 
documentation skills are largely limited to smaller scale work, I'm not 
going to complain about the lack of one.

 > Two people have replied with links to printable resources. Everyone
 > else has only spouted excuses as to why there aren't any.

I would characterise that as "reasons" rather than "excuses". Excuses 
imply someone's done something wrong. That is not the case; I'm 
personally glad we have people interested in working on documentation at 
all. I've done just enough myself to know that it's difficult and often 
not very interesting, and all the thanks you usually get are complaints 
that there isn't more, it's not in someone's preferred format, or that 
it's either too hard to understand or spends too much time explaining 
simple concepts. You just can't win.

> Those replies are not helpful.

Perhaps they are not. They're informative though, if you care to listen. 
Since the reply you want is not possible without somebody spending 
months of work that nobody has volunteered to do in order to create the 
manual you want, it is not possible from your perspective for any reply 
to be helpful.

> If a project as large 
> and complicated as OpenOffice.org can have a printable manual (which it 
> does: http://billsey-christian.net/tmp/ShotsOfOOoManual.JPG ; apparently 
> done largely by one person), certainly scribus can also.

Yep, it can. Nobody's jumped up to work on one, though. You certainly 
don't seem to feel the need to contribute in that manner, only to demand 
that others donate their time and effort to do so. There is a certain 
attitude of entitlement here that I see every now and then. I'm not 
someone who'll try to claim that you have to like something just because 
you got it for free, or that it's rude to point out flaws - both of 
those things would be rather silly arguments. I do however think that 
it's rather rude to respond to people's gift of time and effort by 
complaining that it's not acceptable and demanding more. A phrase about 
gift horses comes to mind here.

It's really very simple. Yes, it sucks that Scribus doesn't have a 
manual. It also sucks that it has bugs, including some severe bugs. It 
sucks that it doesn't have all the features of InDesign, FrameMaker, and 
QuarkXPress. It also sucks that it lacks the hundreds of people paid to 
develop these products full time, document them, develop training 
programmes for them, etc. Those people, however, are expensive, and it 
very much does not suck that Scribus lacks their price tag. In fact, it 
exists at all only because people work on it in their own time, for free 
- out of personal interest, a desire to give back, to improve their 
skills, etc. Who are you to then complain that you're not getting enough?

Craig Ringer

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