One of the attractive things for many engineers at Google is the opportunity to do a 20% project, working (on average) a day a week on some project other than their primary task. While many engineers work on another Google project during their 20% time, or use their 20% time to nurture new ideas that might turn into new Google products, there are also many who use their 20% time to write code for open source projects. The Google 20% culture is even amenable to allowing engineers to do things other than coding: recently my work on the Linux man-pages (for which I became the maintainer in 2004), became a 20% project!

The Linux man-pages project documents the programming interface of Linux, that is, man page sections 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Releases typically come out at intervals that vary from a week to a few months. The most recent release (2.44) contains a large number of updates, including revisions to document changes in the recently released 2.6.20 kernel.

See something broken or missing in man-pages? Submit a suggestion or even a patch! For information about how to contribute to man-pages, download the latest tarball at http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/docs/manpages. The HOWTOHELP document in the tarball explains what parts of man-pages need work, and how to submit changes.