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Should a “Summer of Documentation” Program Be Organized?

19th April 2010 Posted in Blog, Technical Writers 0 Comments
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Image by Richard Masoner

In this post on documentation over at’s blog, Joe Brockmeier talks about how documentation for open source software is almost always overlooked.

He makes a good point when he reminds us that Google has been running its Summer of Code program since 2005.

In that program, Google has worked on hundreds of open source programs and distributed millions of dollars to try to encourage more people to get involved with open source development, but unfortunately there’s no allowance for what is probably the most pressing open source need: to develop better documentation to go with the open source software.

To add insult to injury, Brockheimer says, Fedora is now pushing its “Summer of Coding for 2010, which is all about code and doesn’t address documentation.

His point makes a lot of sense. Here would be a great opportunity for technical writers still in college to get some solid experience writing open source documentation. In fact, it’s making me think that maybe the Society for Technical Communications (STC) should consider stepping up and taking an active role in promoting the idea.

Related: How Technical Writers Add Value to Your Team

What do you think? Could open source software – where it exists – be better presented? Do you think a worldwide internship program for technical writing students in this area would be worthwhile? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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