Ubuntu, who has made tremendous progress towards making life in Linux easier has it’s own share of problems. One of those problems is highlighted in their release notes. Ubuntu claims to be a “Linux for Human Beings,” and for the most part they actually do a good job of it. One place they fail miserably is in their release notes - they’re just too damn complicated for anyone who doesn’t know what all the different component names stand for.
I’ve set out to accomplish the simple task of converting the techno-jargon into readable english that anyone can understand, by using simple language and avoiding program names, acronyms and version numbers.
A fantastic example of getting the “Feature List” documented properly, while not overwhelming the end user is the absolutely gigantic 300+ New Features list for Mac OS X Leopard. I’m not kidding.
Just about every documented feature describes what value the change is for the user. This is what is important! Users don’t care about the latest version of Program X, they want to know what benefits they’ll see from the new version.
I’m targeting Ubuntu here, since it’s what I still use on my desktop. They also have a petition on their user-submitted idea website to stop including such technical information in the release notes so “mere mortals” can understand what is changing in the new versions.
With that out of the way, let’s get started. First, the name of the upcoming release, which is less than a month away is called “Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS” Even the name needs to be explained for someone who is brand new: