Stuart Updike posted
* http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/eCom ... sage/73675
I have read the article Eugene pointed us to and would add a few thoughts. First, let me say that none of my comments are meant to criticize, but are meant to encourage additional thought.
Our community suffers from the lack of a central governing body which can take the input from our "citizens" and develop a vision for the future which we can hold up as a reason to join our community. In this context, a "vision" has two parts, a goal, and the path to achieve that goal. If potential new comers are to "buy into" eCS, they must be able to see that vision, therefore, that vision must be continually communicated. Perhaps that vision would best be communicated by a PDF file on the public home page of the eComStation web site.
If we are to ever be able to develop better apps than Linux or Windows, we must develop some sort of structure which can effectively approach a hardware manufacturer and persuade it to release the specifications for their hardware so we can develop our own drivers. In order to accomplish this goal, we must have an entity which the hardware
manufacturers will perceive as having the financial and programming resources to produce the driver and will perceive as being capable of providing for the security of the manufacturer's proprietary information.
We must develop a structure which will provide for the accumulation of knowledge learned and for the education of those who want to become developers. For example, if I were already a skilled programmer and were interested in developing printer drivers, where would I go to learn about writing printer drivers and where would I go to learn what others have already figured out about communicating with specific printers. Or, suppose I wanted to write a program to communicate with my cell phone, where can I go to learn about the architecture of the phone so I can do that?
I believe we should have a PDF file, probably on eComStation's public home page, which gives an overview of all available applications, for example, what word processors are available and what are the relative
strengths and weaknesses of each. I had been using OS/2 for about 10 years before I even knew Papyrus existed. Its strengths are that it is extremely compact and fast, and it is capable of doing virtually anything I want to do as a home user, but it suffers from the fact that it is no longer supported for eCS and it cannot handle current M$ documents. OOo is full-featured and, as far as I can tell, it is able to handle very nicely M$ documents, but it is considerably slower than Papyrus. The PDF file could also tell new users in more end-user friendly, less-technical terms about Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, XFile, PBOOK, NetDrive, etc.
One last area for improvement would be the development of better documentation for applications. First of all, the documentation should be available in a separate file from the installation file. Both the IBM Device Driver Matrix and RSJ have downloadable documentation available from their web sites separate from the installation file. When we download a zip file and can unzip it and read the documentation, that is acceptable, but when the documentation is contained in, say, a WPI file and cannot be accessed until the WarpIn is run, that is not very user-friendly. In some cases, the documentation does not include a step-by-step instruction for the installation of the software. This discourages the new eCS user. The documentation should discuss the settings available in the Settings Notebook in enough detail that the new user can understand when to accept the defaults and when he or she
may need to change them. As an example, in WarpVision's Settings Notebook there are dozens of settings which are not documented and some of them may need to be changed to get WarpVision working on a particular system.
Just a few thoughts in support and extension of Eugene's article.
Have a great day!