I've been on the go so much that I haven't had the mental space to sit down and articulate a lot of the cool stuff that is going on. A few weeks ago I took part in a new open source conference, Writing Open Source (WOScon). The conference was born from conversations Emma Jane Hogbin and I had last fall, and she took the ideas and made it a reality in Owen Sound, Ontario. It was very small but packed with awesomeness, from people to ideas to food.
Just one month from today I'm going to get three days of hanging out with brilliant folks from a number of open source projects to talk shop, brainstorm and generally have a great time. I'm heading to the Writing Open Source conference up in Canada from June 12-14. In the true spirit of open source, we're coming together to help each other out. The conference is about collaboration, learning, and getting stuff done. We all have a lot to gain and I hope that anyone who can get there, makes the effort.
Doing documentation in open source is often hard, doing it well is even harder. All projects have to struggle with this in some way and, in true open source community spirit, why don't we get together and help each other? I'm excited to spread the word that the open source world is going to get its very own documentation conference. I've been in on a new conference/unconference/sprint being planned for this June up in the great province of Ontario, Canada, called Writing Open Source. The idea was born last fall between a few conversations that Emma Jane Hogbin had with myself and Belinda Lopez. Emma was all crazy-talking about a whole conference just focusing on documentation and I couldn't resist such an awesome idea. Then the talking turned into planning, we got a space (in a library, no less!), some totally awesomely delicious catering, a domain name and now registration is open!
This year is already shaping up to be busy and challenging in a lot of ways, but one the biggest challenges I'm chomping for is in the world of documentation. By "world of documentation," I don't just mean Drupal docs either; I'm talking about all Open Source docs. Here is a bit of a glimpse into my visions for 2009. Put yer doc goggles on, cuz I'm on a wild ride.
Nice menus is a great little module for creating dropdown and flyout menus in your Drupal site. My time to be a good maintainer for it varies wildly so it often sits dormant for long periods. Last week, during the Thanksgiving holiday, I dove back into the issue queue and after fixing a few bugs I spent most of my time playing with new features. The main things that I am excited about are things that will hopefully make version 2 of Nice menus, well, a little nicer.
I have finally finished my formal grant proposal to the Knight Foundation to fund documentation sprints for Drupal. (You can read the original community proposal on the Knight Drupal Initiative group page.) The basic idea is that there is a lot of work to be done and getting people together throughout the year, around the world, would accelerate the documentation work needed to really make Drupal more accessible to people.
Last Friday Dries announced that Steven Peck (sepeck) had decided to step back from his leadership role on the documentation team. Steven and Dries asked me to step into those big shoes and I accepted. All I can say is that I am glad that Steven isn't going away. :-) I'm honored that two people I respect so much have thought me worthy of this title. I will definitely hearken back to the many lessons I have learned from them both and strive to not disappoint.
It has been one month since Google announced their new Open Source program, the GHOP contest (Google Highly Open Participation.) Angie Byron has written up some great progress reports on her website and on drupal.org. I have to say that I have been pretty blown away by the students we've been able to work with. Back before the contest was announced there were only a few of us who knew about it and were trying to come up with an initial task list.
Earlier today on #drupal (the main Drupal IRC channel for those that don't know) a conversation erupted about sexism. It was precipitated by a statement from one person to another in the channel and it did get talked out and basically resolved. Generally I have to say that Drupal has what I find to be a surprisingly low occurrence of sexism, especially for the tech world, so this isn't a "sexism is rampant in Drupal" post. Not at all. This is more of a "some thoughts about handling sexism" post.