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

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Sat Dec 6 23:15:57 UTC 2008

M. Fioretti wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 06, 2008 22:18:23 PM +0000, Alan Cox wrote:
>>> There is a problem peculiar to the free/open source world in that
>>> poor quality versions of things have no reason to ever go away.
>>> That takes
>> Which actually isn't a problem but a feature.
> with source code, yes, that's a blessing, no question. With bad
> documentation, which is the only thing we were discussing (*), no.
> (*) me, at least. Les actually diverged a bit throwing software
> itself, rather than its documentation, in the picture.

I tried to separate the concepts of end-user documentation for the 
things that end users should need to know (like using interactive office 
programs to create your own content) from things related to program 
setup and configuration.  For the latter, people should only need to 
know what it takes to make them work.  If you can ship something that 
works the way the user wants it to work, they don't need documentation 
any more than they need the source code (...the real documentation at 
that level). If you don't understand how these are intertwined, consider 
how almost any variable could be left in the source or extrapolated into 
a config file - and in the case of interpreted programs like perl or 
shell scripts the configuration may in fact be a piece of the software 
itself, sourced at runtime.  The 'one-size-fits-all' concept of the 
distribution RPMs doesn't quite work to provide configurations that 
'just work' for everyone, but a few dozen canned configs might cover 
most of the cases.

This is, of course, a different issue than 'how do I connect a form in 
openoffice to a table in postgresql?'.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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