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timr at probo.com
Mon Oct 13 19:14:11 EDT 2008
Peter Mattingly wrote:
> You know what I mean though? Sufficient technical documentation is
> one huge hurdle that OSS in general has to get over before any sort of
> general (read: Non-maddeningly frustrating) adoption can take place.
I'm not sure that's really the case. Remember that Reportlab is a
low-level Python library -- a programmer's library. With
non-open-source programmer libraries, technical documentation is
absolutely critical, because that's all you get. Parameters and corner
cases had better be documented in excruciating detail, because you can't
go look it up anywhere else.
With an open source project, the source code is, in a sense,
second-level documentation. It's not always worth the investment to
document every possible nook and cranny, because you can assume people
who fall into the nooks have the ability to go look up the exits in the
The business model is different. If you're selling a programmer's
library, it is in your best interest to document the heck out of it.
Better documentation leads to more sales. What's the model in open
source? A good library brings in less and less sophisticated users,
which generates more and more stupid questions that take up time you're
not getting paid for.
It's not a black-and-white situation.
> And...you can patch the docs? First I've heard of doing that...
Sure. They're part of the source distribution, as they are in most open
Tim Roberts, timr at probo.com
Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.
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