Thursday, April 13, 2006

NewsForge | Why technical writers aren't using FOSS

"Most important of all, many tech writers are more tolerant of the shortcomings of proprietary software than of FOSS. Kim-Eng sees a similar trend in both FOSS and proprietary software, yet while it keeps him from using FOSS, it does not discourage him from using proprietary software. In the same way, few experienced technical writers would expect to learn FrameMaker overnight, but, when they have trouble finding a feature in Writer, they jump to the conclusion that it isn't there -- although it almost always is, unless it's online collaboration tools. Moreover, a few perceived flaws in Writer or perhaps a beta release can cause them to reject it, although they will go to great lengths to find workarounds for problems in Word. For many tech writers, the unspoken assumption is still that FOSS is inferior to proprietary software. As a result, they do not approach it with anything like the same willingness to learn."

I find this true in general. Regardless of whether "tech", "programmer" or "analyst" is in the job title, more and more people these days have no actual interest in technology. If adding columns of numbers by hand paid more, they would be just as happy (maybe happier) doing that.

I think this is often confusing for those of us who are interested in technology and what the possibilities are. We are a smaller minority than we know.

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