Re: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?

Subject: Re: Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?
From: jcornellier -at- abingdon -dot- oilfield -dot- slb -dot- com (John Cornellier)
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 13:01:35 +0100

Open Source tools are being used a lot. However, often it is behind the scenes.

* Apache: when you look at a web page, chances are it's served by Apache on Linux running PERL, Python, MySQL, etc.
* Google: Every time you use Google, you are using open source software. One of the reasons for Google's success, AFAIK, is that they use relatively low-cost yet powerful Linux server farms running PERL and Python.
* MediaWiki: the engine behind the wildly successful Wikipedia.

You have to look at it on a case by case basis. Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PhotoShop, these are all mature apps which predate Linux, which have a huge installed user base, and which are mostly OK. They are also rather high profile.

So to answer Bruce's question, I think they're not being considered in the case of techwriting tools because good mature tools are already in place.

That said, the whole doc production process is changing. The days of the techwriter who "owned" the process from typing to layout to output are ending. Certainly the paradigm of FrameMaker, where the input workflow was dictated by the eventual output are numbered. This means new tools are needed, and many of those will be OS.

John Cornellier

Bruce Byfield wrote:

Watching various software questions being asked on this list, I keep
wondering why so few list members consider open source software when
evaluating tools?
Granted, not everyone has control over what they use, but, in many
cases, it sounds as though what posters recommend will be used. Many
mature, cross-platform tools that are ideal for technical writers exist,
technical writers are presumably more tech-savvy than the average user,
and information is readily available. So what's happening?

(Incidentally, I should note that I may one day write an article around
the responses. Howver, if I do, I'll ask permission of everyone whom I
happen to quote)


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What about Subversion? was: Re: SharePoint Team Services for Doc Management?: From: David Neeley
Why Aren't Open Source Tools Being Considered?: From: Bruce Byfield

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