A better way to manage documentation

At the moment I am not using Confluence (or similar centralised tool) to manage my contributions to Vasudeva Server documentation.

The main reason is that writing documentation has been one of the main chores of my service.

In the past 16 years I have written several thousand pages of documentations of all kinds, technical, design, seo, coordination, logistics, sysadmin, etc.

Sadly, most of those pages now are gone.

Over time we tried so many tools: custom Zope wikis, Plone-based wikis, Mantis, RT, Confluence, DocuWiki, WordPress, internal mailing lists, Drupal, etc.

Probably because of centralised, opaque data storage used by most of those, migration was difficult, and led to losing much of everybody’s archived work. Frankly, I just do not have the heart to lose other work like that anymore.

As our spiritual Master said, «Your time is my time. Don’t waste it. It is quite limited, don’t waste it.»

Writing a single page can take several days of work. I feel we do not have much time left, and certainly no time left to waste in complicated machinery that, for the sake of superficial «easy», makes it really difficult to preserve the results of our service.

Let us not forget we were asked for simplicity, never for easyness.

Because of that, I started keeping my work and notes in local org-syntax files. I do trust simple text-only files, managed offline and synchronised to any other place via various tools (for example syncthing).

Some of those I am currently publishing on this site, but in the future they will be hosted in proper places, depending on the project (see Emacs page for the tool I am using).

I am glad I started doing that.

Now I feel I can finally be confident of the safety and preservation of the material we write. We can distribute its various branches to different places, keep a repository, and, above all, the barrier to writing has basically disappeared.

All of this is as close to genuine simplicity as we have ever been.

Still, being simple is not an easy task.

«Simplicity is an advanced course.»

[ AP 13277. Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-seven thousand Aspiration-Plants ]