Install vs. set up?

Subject: Install vs. set up?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 08:56:42 -0500

Missed the original message, so I can't cc the author, but the message seems
to have been: <<I'm reworking software installation guides at the moment.
Microsoft Manual of Style suggests that "set up" should be used for
software, "install" for hardware.>>

Rubbish. When you install something, whether hardware or software, you're
putting it on or into your computer. Once it's there, you then take a few
moments (or much longer) to either "set it up" or "configure" it. That's the
way the words are used worldwide, pace Microsoft. It's worth noting that
Microsoft's documentation is of sufficiently high quality that few of us can
actually rely on it to guide our use of their products, and has spawned a
thriving market exists in books to teach you how to use Microsoft products.
One might hypothesize that this problem may have arisen, at least in part,
from following their own advice.

Some day, Microsoft will learn what most editors already understand: you
can't dictate usage to the world, since English is a democratic language
shaped by the people who use it, not by an elite few. (cf. L'Academie
Francaise.) See my rant in last week's messages about relying on Microsoft
to style the English language. See also my sig line for comments about
discussing grammar and word usage with self-appointed authorities who
consider their opinions more important than facts.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because
they almost always turn out to be--or to be indistinguishable
from--self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free
time."--Neal Stephenson, Cryptonomicon

Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002.

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