Re: Good Manuals - Why Rare.

Subject: Re: Good Manuals - Why Rare.
From: Peter <pnewman1 -at- home -dot- com>
To: Scottie Lover <iluvscotties -at- mindspring -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 08:46:57 -0500

> Scottie Lover wrote:

> > At 05:47 AM 03/17/2000 -0800, Chris Hamilton wrote:
> > >If what you write allows a reader to reverse engineer
> > >all or part of the application, you should think twice
> > >about writing it...we also have an obligation to our
> > >company and the people we work for.
> >
> > You're missing my point. An unscrupulous person could just as easily
> > manage to give a pirated copy of the software to someone who could use it
> > to create a system.

<snip> at lyris's demand>
> > However, if you hand a good programmer a reasonably decent user guide,
> > and/or give him access to a software product, he can usually reverse
> > engineer it to create his own application. Whereas he wouldn't have been
> > able to anticipate those needs or options, he is remarkably capable of
> > replicating a system once he has been exposed to it.
> >

You make several interesting comments.
As a user I am entitled to know how to use the product. If I do not have
that information, I may very well not purchase the product, or return
it. At some point in time I will learn what they didn't tell me and be
mighty PO'd. I strongly resent having to purchase a third party book to
tell me what I should have been told by the developer.
I consider Chris's comments to be a message in favor of dumbing down.
Who are you to tell me what I should know. Precisely how does he acquire
his knowledge about what I need to know. (we're assuming software that
is not custom written.) A good manual is expensive to produce. That is
the real reason.
MS sells volumes containing information about their product. MS Press
has become a profit center. Other companies are starting to follow suit.
However, since they lack the resources that MS has, a third party does
the work and the book contains some language like "the official XXx
guide to our product," on the jacket.
The argument that you and Chris are making is a fallacious substitute
for the "get the product out the door at the lowest price" syndrome,
paranoia, or both. I don't buy it.
Users are required to sign a EULA, proscribing just the activity that
you describe.
Intentional violations of the EULA subject the violator to to both
criminal and civil sanctions.


Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig.
You soon realize they both enjoy it.

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