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Re: Indy Documentation

To: "Maciej W. Rozycki" <macro@ds2.pg.gda.pl>
Subject: Re: Indy Documentation
From: Ralf Baechle <ralf@oss.sgi.com>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 18:06:26 +0200
Cc: Florian Lohoff <flo@rfc822.org>, Geert Uytterhoeven <geert@linux-m68k.org>, Ulf Carlsson <ulfc@calypso.engr.sgi.com>, linux@cthulhu.engr.sgi.com, linux-mips@fnet.fr, linux-mips@vger.rutgers.edu
In-reply-to: <Pine.GSO.3.96.1000517124358.24276C-100000@delta.ds2.pg.gda.pl>; from macro@ds2.pg.gda.pl on Wed, May 17, 2000 at 01:16:58PM +0200
References: <20000516184028.C5113@uni-koblenz.de> <Pine.GSO.3.96.1000517124358.24276C-100000@delta.ds2.pg.gda.pl>
Sender: owner-linuxmips@oss.sgi.com
On Wed, May 17, 2000 at 01:16:58PM +0200, Maciej W. Rozycki wrote:

>  I wish companies released specs for products getting out of commercial
> interest on a regular basis.  I believe this would assure their customers
> of a good investment in hardware their purchased, as it would make it
> supportable infinitely, i.e. until it physically dies.  It would make it
> more valuable even if a customer decides it's not needed anymore -- it
> would be salable to Linux users, for example.  Otherwise these systems
> qualify as computer junk and this sort of equipment is expensive to get
> rid of. 

This world also has an economic part and there a machine that is written
of in the books, that is after just a few years, has no more value and
even becomes a burden.  So in most companies perfectly usable and even
adequate configured machines get replaced.  At this point the manufacturers'
interested in supplying services also decays because there is just no more
sufficient customer demand and economic justification to keep spare parts
(read: dead capital) and trained personal.  For private customers it's
not that much different, usually the machine goes to the dustbin when
the newest slash & kill 3D games are turning into a slide show.  So
after just a few years most manufacturers will flush everything including
the old documentation down the drain.  Add the fact that the companies
of interest are mostly US located where people change their job more
often than their pants ...

Specs are a bit special, though.  You wouldn't believe how many high
tech specs don't exist in a form that is publishable.  That's very common
in places where the authors of the specs and it's readers are close to
each other, that is in traditional system companies such as Digital, SGI,
Sun or HP.  Their motivation to actually produce high quality documentation
used to be relativly low since at the time of product development the
assumption was that they'd never ever publish the specs.

Free operating systems are changing the rules of the game, so expect
the way documentation is handled to change as well.

  Ralf

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