Summary: Terms for Software Configuration?

Subject: Summary: Terms for Software Configuration?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 13:30:25 +0800

I wrote:
>I need to know whether there are industry accepted terms for installing,
>configuring and messing with software. If not I'll have to make some up...

No-one knew any standard terms but there were many helpful suggestions:

Installation Mandatory/Optional Config Later Config
------------ ------------------------- ------------

Maintenanance
Administration
Customization
Tuning/Reconfiguring
maintaining
update or updating
current information
revision or revising
details
Admin/Housekeeping*
Advanced/Secondary Config Configuration Update
One-Time Setup Configuration
Installation Configuration Management

* 'Admin' == stuff that must be done, both when the system is first set
up and later once it's running. 'Housekeeping' == stuff that is not
strictly necessary, though desirable.

One suggestion for the documentation was consecutive sections for
"Setting Up the Initial Configuration" and "Modifying the Configuration."

Another was to call the user's tasks 'configuration', and to refer to
'Setup' as the agent who magically does things behind the scenes ("Setup
asks for a directory name... Setup creates a file...") This helps you to
avoid overdoing the passive voice, and makes it clear who does what.

I quite like 'administration', but as our software is *for* system
administration, there's too much chance for confusion. I'd be telling
system administrators how to do administration on the software that
helps them to do system administration.

'Maintenance' I associate more with hardware. To me it implies fixing
something broken or making sure it doesn't break in future. 'Customising'
and 'tuning' are specialised terms. I need them for particular
configuration tasks, so I can't use them to describe the whole thing.

(The envelope please) I'm going for Installation, Setup, Configuration.
'Setting Up' implies doing it for the first time to come up with a
working system. 'Configuring' doesn't; at least not to me. So we have:

Installation: copy software from tape to disk (largely automatic)
Setup: series of mandatory and optional tasks, at the end of
which you have a basic working system
Configuration: later tasks to change or expand the basic working system

Thanks a million to Bonni, Debbi, Fionnuala, Jane, Karen, Karen, Kevin,
Larry, Margaret, Stacey, Tom, and especially Kris, who wins the Golden
Mars Bar award for telling why the one I liked all along was the best.

Regards
---
Stuart Burnfield (slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au) Voice: +61 9 328 8288
Functional Software Fax: +61 9 328 8616
PO Box 192
Leederville, Western Australia, 6903


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