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From "Keith N. McKenna" <>
Subject Re: [User Docs] What do we as a community want for user documentation or AOO
Date Thu, 20 Sep 2012 02:50:38 GMT
Rob Weir wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM, Keith N. McKenna
> <> wrote:
>> Greetings All;
>> In order to stimulate some discussion on user documentation I have added the
>> hollowing page to the User Documentation Plan on the Plannig Wiki:
>> It offers 3 scenarios or the creation of the docs. I believe that we can no
>> longer put this issue aside.
>> Please take a look at the page and eel free to comment there and on this
>> list. Also feel free to add to or change any content there.
> Keith,
> Thanks for putting together that list of options.  A few short thoughts:
> On option 1, I'm not sure this is so bad.   Does Microsoft Office ship
> with detailed user manuals?   I don't think so.  But there is a large
> market for 3rd party documentation, books, tutorials, websites, DVD's,
> training materials, certification exams, etc.  The popularity of their
> software means that they do not need to do it all themselves.  In
> fact, by not doing it (and they could do it if they wanted to) they
> allow others to make money filling in these details, thus supporting a
> vibrant ecosystem.
This is true, but then again Microsoft has never been known as a user 
centric company. I thought when they discontinued documentation on not 
only Microsoft Office but most all of there offerings that is was 
unprofessional and still feel that way. Taking the time to write and 
distribute good documentation is another way we can show commitment to 
our end users.

> Of course, OpenOffice is not as popular as Microsoft Office, but if
> you search Amazon you'll find quite a few 3rd party books about it.  I
> wonder if there is anything we can do to encourage that path?
I did search amazon and yes there are fair number of offerings about it. 
There may well be things than can be done whether or not we choose to do 
some documentation ourselves.

> Think of it this way:  16 million downloads of AOO 3.4.  100 million
> downloads of OOo 3.3.  Even if only 1% of 1% of them would be
> interested in purchasing documentation this should be a sufficient
> opportunity for a 3rd party.
This is true and deserves to be looked at as part o an over all 
marketing strategy.

> And note that to the extent we create such doc in the project we
> compete against the ecosystem and make it less likely that 3rd parties
> will invest in producing documentation for sale.  That's the
> fundamental dynamic at play here.
This is where we start to diverge a bit. As I said I did search Amazon 
and what I found was that most of the offerings were published while the 
OOo documentation project was in full swing producing good quality 
documentation for free. Given that I am not sure your fundamental 
dynamic really holds up. Then again I have been known to be wrong as 
often as I am right.

> Another angle on your option 2 might be to see if documentation could
> be packaged as an extension.  If so then you could use the existing
> extensions website for distribution.  The extension could be as
> trivial as adding a menu item to launch the PDF.
This is an avenue I had thought to explore and sounds interesting.

In closing I thank you for taking the time to read the wiki and to 
respond. You have brought up some interesting ideas.


> Regards,
> -Rob
>> Regards
>> Keith N. McKenna

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