The glibc manual needs volunteers

The GNU C Library (glibc) needs more contributors to help improve the library. This is even more true for a very key portion of the library, which is the documentation. We have a glibc manual that gets updated on every release, which is a bit incomplete and has a fair number of bugs filed against it. We would welcome volunteers to take a crack at those bug reports and send in patches. Here’s some information to get you started.

The glibc manual code is maintained within the glibc source tree, in the manual directory. It is in texinfo format, so if you’re familiar with tex, you’re halfway through. The various chapters in the manual are in *.texi files, with a Makefile to build the manual in either info or html format.

To build the manual, create a directory within the source tree (or anywhere outside it is also fine), which I will refer to as the build directory from now on. This keeps the generated content separate from the code. Enter that directory and type the command:

$SRCDIR/configure --prefix=/usr

where $SRCDIR is the path to the sources. Don’t worry about the /usr prefix since we’re not going to install anything. If you’re especially worried about it, then use some other prefix like $HOME/sandbox or similar. Once configure succeeds, build the info format documentation using:

make info

or the html format using:

make html

The documentation gets built in the manual directory within the build directory. The html documentation is built in the libc directory within the manual directory. You can open index.html in a browser to browse through and verify your changes.

Contributing to glibc usually requires a copyright assignment to FSF. If you don’t mind doing this, the procedure is fairly easy, albeit time consuming. All you have to do is post your patch on the libc-alpha (libc-alpha AT sourceware dot org) mailing list and if copyright assignment is necessary for the change, the reviewer will let you know what to do. For help when writing a patch, the libc-help (libc-help AT sourceware dot org) mailing list is the place to go.

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