Gentoo WiKi & Knowledge Base


Sven Vermeulen Mon 26 December 2011

I have been playing with the Gentoo Wiki the last few days and am very impressed with the work that both the wiki teams as well as existing contributors have already done to the place. The look and feel is very slick and editing works just as expected. One of the changes I made was to move SELinux module information to the wiki. This documentation was originally intended to be published on the Gentoo SELinux Project page, but is easily accessible and maintainable on the wiki too.

So I went a step further and dug up my original GLEP 0051 - Gentoo Knowledge Base proposal and checked how far I could use the Gentoo WiKi for this purpose. From the looks of it, the WiKi can offer a great deal of leverage for this idea and although not everything is supported through the WiKi (like natural search language and such), that might have been overshooting a bit. So we received a Gentoo WiKi Knowledge Base namespace under which the Knowledgebase entries can reside.

Now what is the idea behind such a knowledge base? Well, first of all, the articles below this prefix should all follow the same structure (as explained in the main page) and be sufficiently specific so that the title of the entry should leave little room for misinterpretation. But other than that, there is no limit as to what the Knowledge Base could hold. To that respect, the knowledge base section then provides a (hopefully) thorough listing of common and less common issues with a good explanation why the problem occurred and how to resolve it.

For the time being, the location doesn't hold that many entries yet, but I will add them as they come along. And of course, feedback is always appreciated ;-)

On a second note, I'd like to give my PoV on the wiki and its relation with the official Gentoo documentation. Unlike what might be circulating, I'm definitely not against the wiki for documentation, on the contrary. Wiki's have proven to be a good resource for documentation, and because we can never have enough documentation writers, every method for getting more documentation is welcome. But because of its online nature, offline documentation development (which I frequently do) is not possible. Also, keeping translations in sync might be a bit more challenging compared to a file-based solution with version control (otoh, I have little experience with WiKi translations so I might be wrong here).

I strongly believe that the wiki will play a big role in Gentoo's documentation assets. Many of the documents currently managed by the GDP or the subprojects might be suited to be hosted on the WiKi, especially when those documents are too specific (and as such would require a very specific developer profile to maintain the documents). In such cases, the maintainers of those documents should be able to pick the most efficient method. But for very generic documents, this might not be an easy option.

At least the Gentoo documents now support CC-BY-SA 3.0, so we can migrate documents from the wiki to the main site, and the 2.5 version currently used the most on the main site should be forward compatible with 3.0 (if I read the legalese text well) so we might be able to migrate documents from the main site to the wiki too.

Edit: a3li created the "Knowledge Base" namespace on the wiki, so I updated the links in my post. Thanks for the work on the wiki, a3li!