Striving for greatness

The life and times of a Gentoo developer and leader

[Gentoo] Save yourself time: document what you do

I was reading an article on the Bacula development philosophy, which is interesting for a number of reasons, and I saw this:

Kern: Thanks for the compliments. I am responsible for the documentation, and generally spend at least 20 percent of my time on documentation.

Nathan: What advice would you give to other open source software projects about how to generate and maintain good documentation?

Kern: If you want people to use your software, and if you don’t want to spend all your time on repeating the same support responses, you need to write lots of clear, detailed documentation. When I respond to a support request or a problem, I often put the response into the manual, or I update the manual to include the problem. Documentation is not a task to be left to the end of the project or just before the release. It is an ongoing “project” in itself–at least that is my view of it.

Nathan: This is an interesting take on the role of documentation. In addition to being helpful to the user, it also helps the developer spend more time developing and less time dealing with usage questions.


Written by Donnie Berkholz

May 16, 2005 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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