[cairo] Re: Documentation

Scott Robert Ladd graphics at coyotegulch.com
Sat Jan 7 08:21:25 PST 2006

> IMHO, because of taking this view, Inkscape has been able to go from
> essentially zero documentation when the project started a couple years
> ago, to having half a dozen quite good tutorials, an exhastive online
> manual, and a wiki full of developer and advanced user info.  This
> wasn't an accident; we knew at the start we had a documentation problem
> so deliberately encouraged and valued users who contributed to it.

I'm very find of Inkscape; we use it extensively here, and my 16yo 
daughter uses it to produce vector graphics for my website and clients.

> My one concern with this echos your own observation - how will people be
> motivated to write documentation?  The people most qualified to write it
> will be too busy either writing more code or earning a living.

Heck, even writing professionally doesn't pay well. I wrote hundreds of 
magazine articles back in the early 90s, and a dozen or so books, and 
the income was pitiful. Good writing is as difficult and chellenging as 
good coding, but you wouldn't know that from the pay rates...

> Unfortunately, corporations are not endless wells of money, and I
> suspect they note that their income is driven more by new features than
> by new docs.

Dang it. I keep looking for that endless well of money, and the 
leprechauns keep running off with it!

> One idea I've kicked around is this - OSDL has good relationships with a
> number of magazine editors, many of whom are on a monthly lookout for
> good new content.  Many of these publications pay their writers $300-350
> for the work.  So one idea would be for OSDL to find topics needing
> documenting, then recruit an expert writer for that topic, and put them
> in contact with a magazine editor that wants that content and would pay
> for it.  Our one condition would be that the material be provided under
> an open source license a month or two after publication.
> Does this sound like something of interest?

Yes, it is.


Scott Robert Ladd <scott.ladd at coyotegulch.com>
Coyote Gulch Productions

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