Subject: Back on topic: Re: FSBs and mechanized documentation
From: "Forrest J. Cavalier III" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 11:44:32 -0500

Rich Morin wrote, in part....

> It occurs to me that these approaches might be applicable to
> some Open Source projects (and related FSBs):
>   *  The raw information is available for inspection.
>      Open Source development tools (e.g., Bugzilla, CVS) have
>      accessible code and data, so tools can easily extract
>      relationship information, etc.  Also, the information is
>      free of proprietary restrictions.
>   *  There is a need for detailed documentation.
>      Open Source projects frequently involve large code bases
>      and large numbers of geographically-dispersed developers.
>      These developers could benefit from the sort of web-based
>      documentation that packages such as Doxygen generate.
> Nonetheless, I haven't found much evidence of these tools being
> used in the Open Source community.  

Lacking evidence of existence of something "needed", I'd say there is an 
incorrect assumption somewhere.

Stephen Turnbull wrote a reply in this thread from personal experience, and then 
got sidetracked into a semantic tarpit about "use".

If we are quite finished with that bit of the discussion, I'd very much like to 
ask Stephen Turnbull for comments when wearing an economist hat.  Stephen?

A lot of business is about finding an unmet need and filling it.

But in this case I see a lot of tools (potential solutions), having existed for 
a long time, but not much standardization and use in the Open Source community, 
or even in industry at large.  (I read about lots of local solutions, not at all 
in Open Source, with quality and benefits varying many orders of magnitude due 
to programmer dependence, just like productivity in software.)

I'd be interested in the explanations of that reality that there is a big 
benefit to doing it your way, but no one is doing it.  I can guess at some 
reasons (obstacles), but what do others think?

Maybe Larry Augustin is still around and has some comments.  Please?