This is the Linux Documentation Project ``Manifesto''
Last Revision 21 December 1993 -- Matt Welsh (email

This file describes the goals and current status of the Linux Documentation Project, including names of projects, volunteers, FTP sites, and so on.


The Linux Documentation Project is working on developing good, reliable docs for the Linux operating system. The overall goal of the LDP is to collaborate in taking care of all of the issues of Linux documentation, ranging from online docs (man pages, texinfo docs, and so on) to printed manuals covering topics such as installing, using, and running Linux. The LDP is essentially a loose team of volunteers with no real central organization; anyone who is interested in helping is welcome to join in the effort. We feel that working together and agreeing on the direction and scope of Linux documentation is the best way to go, to reduce problems with conflicting efforts--- e.g. two people writing two books on the same aspect of Linux wastes someone's time along the way.

The LDP is set out to produce the canonical set of Linux online and printed documentation. Because our docs will be freely available (as per the GNU GPL; see below) 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. We're also talking with a few companies about possibly publishing the LDP manuals once more of them become available. (A few smaller companies are printing and distributing LDP manuals even now; more on that later). If you're interested in publishing any of the LDP works, see the section ``Publishing LDP Manuals'', below.

Getting Involved

The canonical way to get involved with the LDP is to join the linux-doc activists mailing list. To do so, send mail to: with the line
subscribe linux-doc
in the message body (not the subject). This will add you to the mailing list.

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.

Current Projects

For a list of current projects, see the LDP Homepage. The best way to get involved with one of these projects is to pick up the current version of the manual and send revisions, editions, or suggestions to the coordinator.

Glossary and Global Index

A glossary of terms and an index for the entire set of LDP manuals. I don't remember who's putting this together; please remind me. :) This should be comprehensive as well as a reference. * FTP sites for LDP works LDP works can be found on in the directory /pub/Linux/docs. LDP manuals are found in /pub/Linux/docs/LDP, HOWTOs and other documentation found in /pub/Linux/docs/HOWTO. Various ALPHA docs can be found on on

Documentation Conventions

Here are the conventions that are currently used by LDP manuals. If you are interested in writing another manual using different conventions, please let us know of your plans first. We'd like the LDP manuals to have a common look and feel, and this is implemented with a LaTeX style file (see below).

The set of printed manuals (i.e. everything but the man pages) are formatted using LaTeX. The primary objective is to have PRINTED, not online, manuals. The LoTeX tool (currently under development by Olaf Kirch) can be used to generate plain ASCII (and later, texinfo) from the LaTeX source.

Please don't mail me saying that I shouldn't be using LaTeX for the LDP manuals; well over 500 pages of material has already been written in LaTeX, and we're not about to convert. Many a flame war has been sparked over this issue, but it's a done deal. New manuals don't necessarily need to be written using LaTeX, but you should use the same conventions and look as we have implemented with the current manuals.

The printed manuals should use Michael K. Johnson's "linuxdoc.sty" style sheet and documentation conventions, found in the file "linuxdoc.tar.z" under the alpha directory. We're trying to achieve a unified look in the manuals, both for sake of consistency and portability (in this way, we can easily change the look and feel of the manuals by changing linuxdoc.sty), and so that all of the authors/editors are on common ground using the same style sheet.

The LDP license/copyright should be used to copyright all works. It's a liberal copyleft like the GPL, but applies to printed documents and protects the LDP manuals from publication without our permission. The license is printed in the section ``Copyright'', below.

The copyright for each manual should be in the name of the head writer or coordinator for the project. ``The Linux Documentation Project'' isn't a formal entity and shouldn't be used to copyright the docs.

Copyright and License

The following copying license applies to all LDP manuals. Please read it carefully---it is somewhat like the GNU GPL, but there are several conditions in it that differ from what you may be used to. If you have any questions, please mail Matt Welsh and I'll try to clarify.

The Linux Documentation Project manuals may be reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, subject to the following conditions:

All Linux Documentation Project manuals are copyrighted by their respective authors. THEY ARE NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

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 educators and learners.

All source code in Linux Installation and Getting Started is placed under the GNU General Public License, available via anonymous FTP from

Publishing LDP Manuals

If you're a publishing company interested in distributing any of the LDP manuals, read on.

By the license given in the previous section, 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 must obtain permission from the author, in writing, before doing so.

All translations and derivative works of LDP manuals must be placed under the Linux Documentation License given in the previous section. That is, if you plan to release a translation of one of the manuals, it must be freely distributable by the above terms.

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 that you are distributing to the author. Your show of support for the LDP and the Linux community will be very 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 Matt Welsh (address at the top of this file). It's nice to keep tabs on who's doing what.

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.