This file describes the goals and current status of the Linux Documentation Project, including names of projects, volunteers, and so on.
The LDP is set out to produce the canonical set of Linux online and printed documentation. Because our docs will be freely available (like software licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL) and distributed on the net, we are able to easily update the documentation to stay on top of the many changes in the Linux world. If you are interested in publishing any of the LDP works, see the section Publishing LDP Manuals.
Of course, you'll also need to get in touch with the coordinator of whatever LDP projects you're interested in working on; see the next section.
The man pages -- the Unix standard for online manuals -- are created with the Unix standard nroff man (or BSD mdoc) macros.
The guides -- full books produced by the LDP -- have historically been done in LaTeX, as their primary goal has been to be printed documentation. However, guide authors have been moving towards SGML with the DocBook DTD, because it allows them to create more different kinds of output, both printed and on-line. If you use LaTeX, we have a style file you can use to keep your printed look consistent with other LDP documents, and we suggest that you use it.
The HOWTO documents are all required to be in SGML format. Currently, they use the linuxdoc DTD, which is quite simple. There is a move afoot to switch to the DocBook DTD over time.
More information on the DocBook DTD can be found in this online text: "DocBook: The Definitive Guide".
LDP documents must be freely redistributable without fees paid to the authors. It is not required that the text be modifiable, but it is encouraged. You can come up with your own license terms that satisfy this constraint, or you can use a previously prepared license. The LDP provides a boilerplate license that you can use, some people like to use the GPL, and others write their own.
The copyright for each manual should be in the name(s) of the contributing author(s) for the project. ``The Linux Documentation Project'' isn't a formal entity and shouldn't be used to copyright the docs.
Exceptions to these rules may be granted for academic purposes: Write to the author and ask. These restrictions are here to protect us as authors, not to restrict you as learners and educators.
All source code in this document is placed under the GNU General Public License, available via anonymous FTP from the GNU archive site.
By the license requirements given previously, anyone is allowed to publish and distribute verbatim copies of the Linux Documentation Project manuals. You don't need our explicit permission for this. However, if you would like to distribute a translation or derivative work based on any of the LDP manuals, you may need to obtain permission from the author, in writing, before doing so (if the license applied to the work requires that).
You may, of course, sell the LDP manuals for profit. We encourage you to do so. Keep in mind, however, that because the LDP manuals are freely distributable, anyone may photocopy or distribute printed copies free of charge, if they wish to do so.
We do not require to be paid royalties for any profit earned from selling LDP manuals. However, we would like to suggest that if you do sell LDP manuals for profit, that you either offer the author royalties, or donate a portion of your earnings to the author, the LDP as a whole, or to the Linux development community. You may also wish to send one or more free copies of the LDP manual(s) that you are distributing to the author(s). Your show of support for the LDP and the Linux community will be very much appreciated.
We would like to be informed of any plans to publish or distribute LDP manuals, just so we know how they're becoming available. If you are publishing or planning to publish any LDP manuals, please send mail to Guylhem Aznar.
We encourage Linux software distributors to distribute the LDP manuals (such as the Installation and Getting Started Guide) with their software. The LDP manuals are intended to be used as the "official" Linux documentation, and we'd like to see mail-order distributors bundling the LDP manuals with the software. As the LDP manuals mature, hopefully they will fulfill this goal more adequately.