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Information sources for documenting free software

Nov 24, 2009, 20:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

[ Thanks to Britta Wuelfing for this link. ]

"To take advantage of the information available, you need a reasonable grasp of the written language. Contrary to the impression that many salaried technical writers give, you do not necessarily need to know how to parse a sentence or be a wizard at the black arts of grammar. Text that requires minimal editing is always an asset, but free software documentation is a communal effort. If you're lucky, another documenter can compensate for your less than perfect syntax.

"Nor do you necessarily need a computer science degree. The more knowledge you bring to a documentation project, the better, but so long as you have developed expertise by the time the project is finished, that is what matters. If software developers always waited for someone who was an expert to document, there would be even less documentation than there is now.

"At a minimum, you need to become an expert user of whatever you are documenting -- a general rule that is relatively easy if you are documenting a desktop app, but can be challenging if your subject is a sysadmin utility and your knowledge of networks is minimal."

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