After I gave a little "status of the gimp user manual" at GimpCon, i'll
want to do this for the others subscribed to the mailinglists as well.

What is written so far

  I created a little python script, which can be found in the gimp-help-2
  module under docs. It compares the help ids[1] in the header file with
  our help ids, found in the gimp-help.xml file for each language.
  Therefore, following content is written approx.:

      French: 77% done
      German: 38% done
      English: 80% done
      Swedish: 9% done

  The most of the French and English content was written by our french
  writers, which are Julien Hardelin, Cédric Gémy, Raymond Ostertag and
  Sébastien Barre. The status don't include plugins or any additional
  content, like introductions.

Current issues and problems

    Communication: we need a new mailinglist:
        Well, the first thing i added to my list of issues was a
        mailinglist, which is now available for everyone. Subscribe to:

            [EMAIL PROTECTED]

        or use the subscription page at:


        Thanks to yosh, sven and daniel egger to get the mailinglist
        working. The archives are currently not working, so please be
        patient. The server will get an upgrade and the archives will be
        back soon.

        Well, I hope that the communication with the new mailinglist will
        encourage writers to communication their ideas and improvements
        more than sending mails to everyone. The lack of communication is
        the problem in every softwareproject, so please use the
        mailinglist. Also, communciation between eachother prevents us
        from inconsistencies in our documentation.

        User who are testing and using our documentation are encouraged
        as well to give us opinions and feedback about the manual. What
        should be improved, what is not in the right place?

    Lack of writers: we need an easier way to contribute:
        I was thinking about an XML<->Wiki Roundtrip. People can write
        the docs on a wiki and we're able to fetch the docs from the
        wiki a put them nicely in shape. I tested the following
        solutions, but the lack of time prevented me from writing up
        my opinions.
        1. DocBook Wiki[2] is a wiki for editing the content and is able
        to display the Docbook online. It is possible to export the
        content into other things like XML, HTML, PDF and much more. The
        installation of this thingy is a bit cumbersome - I didn't get
        it working with our manual. I gave up after a while messing
        around with php and C++ code.  
        2. Another idea was a ReST[3] to Docbook XML roundtrip. I found
        some alpha code which let us generate Docbook XML from a ReST
        document and the other way around could do the MoinMoin Wiki. I
        found a restructured text parser for the Wiki at [4], but didn't
        tested it yet.

        3. The third and last idea gave me Jimmac and TigerT at the
        GimpCon. The Monodoc browser [5] display's on the one hand the
        help itself, but let the people edit marked paragraphs and
        therefore contribute to the project. I found this way the most
        pleasant way to give contributors a chance to write
        documentation. Users don't need to be connected to a server all
        the time while writing documentation and can decide for
        themselves, when they want to contribute.
        Conclusion: Tools are nice, but we decided in short-term not to
        concentrate to much on new tools, but more in trying more
        contributors on the project. Kenneth Wimer from Novell/SuSE
        offered help and I want to try to ask the gnome docwriters if
        some of them want to join us. During the GUADEC, i talked to
        Eugene O'Connor and other people from SUN about the Javahelp and
        GNOME documentation. They provided me with some tips for a
        better document structure and information about JavaHelp.

    technical difficulties:

        Well, we have some minor technical difficulties to generate
        other formats than HTML. I managed to get some HTMLHelp out of
        the XML sources working, but unfortunately without images. I run
        into the same problem with the images, when I try to generate
        a PDF/LaTeX document out of the XML sources. I'll invest some
        more time into this, to get it working. I'm affraid, that some
        of the pages are not well-formed, but i need to investigate this


        The problem is, that GIMP's UI changes faster than we can
        provide screenshots. My idea was an application which records
        mouse movements and play's them afterwards to create screenshots
        only once and then automatically. This idea has some major
        problem when it comes to different positioning of menus and
        other things, that i discarded the idea. Well, the guys from Sun
        gave said, that we should provide screenshots only when they are
        *really* necessary. Another problem with screenshots are the
        dependencies to languages. I propose, that we shouldn't make
        screenshots for every minor function or dialog, but describe the
        functions or dialogs better.

To summarize: I want thank everyone who made this possible. After
writing most of the content, the content needs to be reviewed
consistently by everyone, especially the developers or people who know
the technology background. Users who are testing the manual might be
able to give us feedback, when they encounter errors, typos or not the
solution they are looking for. I hope, that I'm able to encourage more
people to help us and to have a nice user manual for everyone who is
using The GIMP.

[1] - gimp/app/widgets/gimphelp-ids.h 
[2] -
[3] -
[4] - 
[5] -

Roman Joost

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