The big noise over Open Publishing
Posted Jan 9, 2003 20:02 UTC (Thu) by erat
Parent article: The big noise over Open Publishing
Personally, I don't want free or non-free documentation; I want GOOD documentation, free or not. For once I'd like to see quality be more than an afterthought in a free software effort (not that free software always lacks quality; it's just that the revolutionary, activist, political and legal aspects always seem to overshadow the quality -- or lack thereof -- of the deliverables).
So far, when it comes to documentation, the free software community has produced just as dismal a set of docs as the non-free folks have. That's just my opinion, of course. From the documentation that I've encountered, I've noticed that techies tend to write books that are geared toward folks who don't need the docs to begin with (read: other technical folks), and attempts to lower the techie threshold have resulted in books that mix uber-newbie content with technical god content, creating a mish mash that leaves both groups unsatisfied.
I like the idea of content being available after the publisher decides to discontinue a publication. That's about the only selling point I've seen so far for this new effort. I'm afraid that my first impression is that PH is leaning toward faux pas #1 listed earlier: books by techies written for techies who more likely than not will have no need for the books. Bruce's name is well known... in Linux/OSS space. People migrating to Linux from elsewhere will be less likely to know who he is (no offense intended, Bruce), so this seems to be marketing directed at existing Linux/OSS folks. If that's so, I can only hope that the content -- the thing that books are written to deliver -- is heavily scrutinized for public consumption, and when necessary, un-techied to an extent where the books will be valuable to all who read them.
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