Subject: business case for mechanized documentation
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 00:24:45 -0800

As much as I have enjoyed bike-shedding on the implementation details
of possible mechanized documentation systems, I feel that the real
thrust of my initial question has gotten lost.

So, let's try again.  Assuming that it is possible to create useful,
broad-spectrum, mechanized documentation systems, is there a business
case to be made for doing so?.  In particular, should outfits such as
Novell, Red Hat, and Sun be looking into ways to provide this sort of
documentation for their software?

Here's what I said, about a month ago.  Can we discuss it now?

At 12:46 AM -0800 3/11/06, Rich Morin wrote:
> There are a number of mammoth Open Source projects around, fighting
> for mindshare in both the user and developer communities.  The users
> don't want or need the kind of detailed documentation that mechanized
> approaches excel at, but prospective developers might.  And, if more
> developers get on board, the results might draw more users in.  Here
> is one possible scenario:
> Companies such as Novell, RedHat, and Sun are fighting for mindshare
> in the OS wars.  Sun, in particular, wants to convince Open Source
> hackers to "get involved".  Given that Jonathan Schwartz has said:
>   We've got roughly 5000 people working on Solaris.
> it doesn't seem inappropriate for them to put a couple of programmers
> to work on mechanized documentation.  The investment is small and any
> payoff could have substantial leverage, both internal and external.
> Given that these OSes are largely drawing on the same software base, a
> trickle-down effect could occur as these packages get documented, etc.
> Finally, if the mechanization tools become polished and programmers'
> expectations get raised to demand them, small projects might jump in.

--            Rich Morin     +1 650-873-7841

Technical editing and writing, programming, and web development