System Requirements?

Subject: System Requirements?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Mayur Polepalli <dbmayur -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 08:59:46 -0400

Mayur Polepalli wondered: <<In software applications, why do we
explicitly mention the software/hardware requirements that overlap
with the operating system's requirements?>>

"We" don't. <g> When I document an application, I list the minimum
requirements to run the program beside my recommendations for those
who want to run it acceptably well. Thus, a single list of
requirements that tells the reader both what is possible and what is
desirable. I don't provide separate details for the program and the
operating system, since the operating system is one of those
requirements. Instead, I always include a complete list of the
systems it will run on -- plus our recommendation (e.g., "Although
the software will run on Windows 2000, the Glompfy functions are only
available if you're using Windows XP or later.").

<<For example, Windows Vista x64 requirements are: - 1GHz 64-bit
(x64) processor - 512MB of system memory - 20GB hard drive with
at least 15 GB of available space>>

I know this is only an example, but it illustrates a few important
points. For example, you need a fancy graphics card to take full
advantage of Vista (it may not support these functions with the built-
in graphics chip that comes with many budget systems), and if your
app uses the Vista graphics features, you need to identify an
appropriate card or chip.

In addition, all the reviews of Vista that I've seen say you won't be
happy with less than 1 Gig of RAM (and should aim for 2 Gig if you
can afford it). The lesson of this point is to take the developer's
recommendations with a grain of salt: in an effort to increase the
number of potential buyers, the Marketing group sometimes <ahem>
bends the truth a little. ("Yeah, you can run it on that system, but
you won't be happy.") As user advocates, it's our responsibility to
strike a more reasonable compromise by advocating for more realistic
system requirements. Not a battle we can always win, but still, one
worth fighting.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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System Requirements: From: Mayur Polepalli

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