Providing documentation source files (Addendum)

Subject: Providing documentation source files (Addendum)
From: Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 1996 14:48:13 EDT

I should have noted that we are planning on providing our clients with online
documentation, but want to avoid, as best as possible, simply dumping our
documentation that was designed for paper to CD and providing a viewer.
However, as I'm sure you all know, a better solution takes time in both
planning and implementation; therefore, we are quite far from being able to
provide this option.

-------------Originial Posting-----------------------------

We are faced with what may or may not be a unique situation and I'd like to
hear from others about this.

We are a mid-sized software development company with a specialized (not off the
shelf) product. We are very close to our customer base and work with them in
many ways. We currently offer as a "service" and for no extra cost, PostScript
files of our documentation. Primarily this is so the user can print as many
copies of the documentation as they need, instead of photocopying the copies we
send them (we publish 8 1/2 x 11, three ring format). Some of our more
sophisticated and technically advanced clients have use the PS files to create
online doc.

Anyway, we now have a request for our FrameMaker source files. The client
making this request wants to take the move to online doc a step further and use
tools that require the source, and not PostScript. The issue here, however, is
whether or not we should just give away the documentation in this format. Our
clients can purchase the source code to our software product (and purchase a
license for our software development tool), and there are some of us in the doc
area who think that we should have a similar arrangement for documentation

BTW, this is not the first time this request has been made. However, typically
the clients who inquire want a format other than FrameMaker, and we tell them
we cannot easily or "cleanly" do that, so the request usually dies. This one,
however, hasn't.

Suggestions and comments are appreciated.


Karen Gwynn, Senior Documentation Specialist
Datatel, Inc.
e-mail kwg -at- datatel -dot- com

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