Re: Writing for the Open Source Community

Subject: Re: Writing for the Open Source Community
From: "Clark F. Morris, Jr." <cfmtech -at- istar -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 10:34:43 -0400

Open source isn't a new phenomenon. Formal distributions go back to the
early days of computing. There were various tapes of freeware
distributed by projects in SHARE and Guide (organizations of users of
IBM computers). I both used modifications and utilities from the MVT
(OS360 Multiple Variable Task), CBT (Connecticut Bank and Trust), and
JES3 (Job Entry Subsystem 3) tapes and made contributions to them. The
companies I worked for were willing to let me do this because they had
benefited from the functions freeware had given them and were willing to
further SHARE because commercializing any of the software would not have
been profitable. Organizations such as the US Air Force, NASA Goddard,
Westinghouse, and British Rail had contributions on one or more of the

It can well be in the best interest of your organization to both use
open source products and make contributions to them. From a technical
writing point of view, there may be this great tool available but with
scant documentation. Acquiring the tool and writing good documentation
for it may be cheaper than any other alternative for solving a problem.
Your organization may well be willing to share its effort because they
won't make any money commercializing the documentation and they may want
to further benefit from the open source alternative. Ongoing
contributions keep it alive.

Incidentally for those who believe the mainframe is dead, the open
source movement for utilities and enhancements is alive and well at (not associated with the now merged away Connecticut
Bank and Trust). A person working for an ISV (independent software
vendor) is helping keeping the site going.


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Re: Writing for the Open Source Community: From: eric . dunn

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