I want to contribute to the ruby project in my spare time.

Right now one of the biggest needs appears to be English
documentation.  I notice that Ruby has some form of embedded
documentation like Perl, but based on its use in the CGI modules it
does not appear to be the POD format.  Does documentation for this
format exist?  Have translators been written?  Any reason POD is not
being used?

Is HTML the original source for the English web pages?
(ruby-man-1.4.4.tar.gz) I would like to fix some typos, expand some
explanations and write a translator to produce a small hardcopy
reference manual.

What is the official language for Ruby documentation?  I get the
impression that things are written in Japanese first and the
translated to English.  I can't help with that. :( I also get the
impression that the Japanese version is not that much more extensive.
Is is OK that the embedded documentation in modules is in English?

One of perl's biggest strengths in its online documentation.  Using
the perldoc script you can get help for any of the included modules
(and most third party modules) and extensive help for perl itself.
Because of the POD translators you can convert that documentation to
most formats desired. (HTML, Latex, 'roff, text,...)  The only thing
that perl seems to be lacking is the ability to produce a indexed hard
copy reference manual from the man pages.  The text is all there and
in good shape, but the indexing and formating has to be done by hand.
That could all be built in from the start.  I somewhat expect this
limitation was from the fact that perl documentation was handled by
Tom Christenson and he felt that the Perl books where a better source
for a reference manual.

-Wayne