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TechWR-L: A Tech Writer's Guide to the Open Source Movement (Part 1)

Jul 30, 2000, 12:50 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

[ Thanks to Bruce Byfield for this link. ]

"That roar you hear in the distance is the Open Source bandwagon coming your way. John Patrick, Vice President of Internet Technologies at IBM, considers Linux--a single Open Source technology--as revolutionary as the personal computer and the Internet. Add BSD, the Apache web server, and most of the tools that run the Internet, and Open Source looks as if it could be part of many writers' futures."

"The idea behind Open Source is simple: everyone should have the freedom to copy, distribute, and change source code. The implications, however, overturn the conventional high-tech business model. When software is no longer intellectual property, everything changes. Development is quicker because more people are involved. Bugs are caught more quickly. Instead of being passive consumers, customers can become partners in development. Instead of selling software, companies sell hardware, services, or added value. Internally, companies become more interactive and more loosely structured."

"If Open Source continues to gather speed, high-tech workers will discover that it is not just a development model, but also a new model for corporate life. For writers, the approach of Open Source could be especially important. How documentation is viewed and used, how writers interact with developers, and what tools are used--all of these and more could be affected by the Open Source movement."

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