Some Docs Project Statistics

Numbers, meaning statistics. I was just updating the Musicians’ Guide translation source files for the upcoming Fedora 18 release (better late than never, right?) when I saw that Transifex, our Web-based translation tool, keeps a count of the number of words in every file. They don’t automatically sum the number of words in the whole document, but I was curious, so I did it myself.

14650 + 3600 + 1767 + 44 + 31 + 27 + 2763 + 3558 + 855 + 1201 + 1134 + 2950 + 2743 + 3692 + 7 + 1583 + 1 + 6128 + 1409 + 511 + 2345 + 4112 + 1589 + 1593 + 1448 + 21374 + 7687 + 520 = 89322

So that’s it: the English Musicians’ Guide for Fedora 18 will have nearly ninety thousand words. In case you’re wondering, the chapter with the most words is “Basic Programming in SuperCollider,” with 21,374 words, or approximately 24% of the whole book.

But how does this compare to other things I’ve written? Consider the “Cadence in Sibelius” paper I’m submitting for my doctoral applications… 15.5 pages of text brings it to 6,841 words. The Musicians’ Guide has 13 times as many words! No wonder I always feel like revising the Guide is a hopelessly lost cause…

The Art of What-Now?!

So I was reading Jono Bacon’s blog post about the second edition of his book, “The Art of Community.” This is great because I liked the first edition, and because the second edition has a much nicer cover (it’s about time the O’Reilly covers move into the 21st century).

But… why did he write it by himself? Twice! How is it that nobody along the way realized how strange it is that a book about collaboration has only one author?

Thanks to my Mentors

I just finished the survey for Fedora Project contributors who have been contributing for fewer than three years. If you can, I suggest you complete it too:
http://limesurvey.sim.vuw.ac.nz/index.php

The survey made me think about why I was able to join the project in the ridiculous way I did. Rather than starting with sensibly small tasks, I jumped in at the deep end, thanks to Fedora Summer Coding 2010. In retrospect, I can see that my mentors in this project went out of their way, and spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that I could successfully complete the Musicians’ Guide.

I wish I could return the favour, either to another new person, or to the project generally. I wish I had enough time to actually commit to and perform one of the roles I’ve put myself into.

Either way, what I want to say here is that free software contributors–and maybe people in general–don’t necessarily understand the full impact and importance of their work.