Subject: Re: a business model
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 03:05:27 -0800

As I brought up in "FSBs and mechanized documentation",
I am interested in knowing whether there are reasons why
an FSB would want to provide comprehensive and detailed
documentation for their code base, interfaces, etc.  If
so, they might want to consider mechanized approaches.

I was hoping to see something relevant to this in your
essay, but I did not, probably because in "State of the
Art", you discount most current FSBs as aberrations (:-).
So, perhaps I should direct my comments at this choice.

In looking for prospects for mechanized documentation, I
have been primarily thinking about large organizations:

  When asked why he robbed banks, Sutton simply replied,
  "Because that's where the money is."

So, I have been thinking of plausible reasons why a large
FSB would want to fund mechanized documentation efforts.
I have come up with a few possibilities:

  *  Their own developers and support staff will benefit
     from being able to look things up more quickly and
     effectively.  Thus, a cost savings.

  *  By making their code more accessible to external
     developers, they encourage fixes and enhancements.
     Thus, either a cost savings or a product benefit.

  *  By encouraging the growth of a developer community,
     they increase the "mindshare" of their software.

     Although this may have no direct economic benefit, I
     believe it is a very strong motivation.  Companies
     such as IBM, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun are fighting
     very hard for mindshare.  Clearly, they believe that
     it is important to their long-term profits, etc.

I'd be interested in hearing other ideas, as well as some
analysis of how mechanized documentation efforts might fit
into your proposed business model.

--            Rich Morin     +1 650-873-7841

Technical editing and writing, programming, and web development