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Re: (Off Topic ) Open Source: The Model Is Broken ??

On Sat, Dec 06, 2008 16:55:54 PM -0600, Les Mikesell wrote:

> Commercial software vendors tend to maintain their own knowledge
> bases and attrition takes care of cleaning up the things that are
> out of date.  With free stuff, you can probably still find copies of
> anything that has ever been released and it will clutter any
> searches you attempt.

Good point, you're right here.

>> Right. Now, who could write such good templates, ie distill without
>> errors those thousands of options and explain the result clearly, in
>> order to minimize misunderstandings, except the developers themselves
>> or (much better) some pretty good technical writer who's either paid
>> to do it or already financially secure?
> None of the above.  Only a person who actually runs the program in  
> production over a period of time will have a usable template

This is exactly what a responsible, professional tech writer does
before writing. Either he runs the sw himself or nags to death the
developers and testers to figure out what their notes and internal
docs mean.

> The problem is that he [who has a usable template] has no way to
> share his work with the thousands of other people who could use
> exactly the same setup

This is false. All that person should do is publish online one page
with that template and a few clearly written explanations of its
content. It's writing the clear explanation which is hard, which is a
good part of why those templates don't pop up every day.

> Who could fix it?  What we need is a location and mechanism for
> admins to share their config files with similar tools that code
> developers have to maintain versions/branches etc., and view diffs
> across them.

Les, I have made one general comment about how difficult it is to
write good documentation on whatever subject, never mind Fedora. Now
you are talking of something which has nothing to do with the topic I
suggested. The fact that I used a Postfix example doesn't mean that
the "good docs" problem is only for initial configuration, I thought
that was clear, sorry.

Having a config files repository would be absolutely useless for a
newbie user of, say OpenOffice or Kde. Or even a novice postfix
administrator who needs to understand what he finds in the log files,
or why postfix runs slowly.

With all respect, you're flying way too far from the only point that
interests me in what was even in the beginning an OT discussion, so
please don't be offended if I stop right here.

If you want to propose a Fedora or distro-agnostic mechanism to share
config files, that's good. But I have nothing to say right now on such
a subject and you'd really be better by starting a brand new thread
for this. Many people are surely ignoring these messages altogether
due to their subject.

Good night now.
Your own civil rights and the quality of your life heavily depend on how
software is used *around* you:            http://digifreedom.net/node/84

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