Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Documentation as the price of open source

I love Firefox, really I do. It generally works well for me, and I'm finding the architecture rather elegant. But damn: these people can't maintain documentation to save their lives. As I dig into the official docs for XPCOM (merely the core of the underlying architecture for the whole Mozilla shebang), I find that half the key pages haven't been updated in five years or more, and many of those have annotations like "TBD: fill this in next year when we're done writing this part". It's astonishing that the primary book on the subject hasn't been updated since before Firefox was invented.

Bit by bit, the open source world has begun to internalize the notion that discipline is more important when writing open source code than when writing general commercial software, not less. Now if only it would sink in that the same is true of documentation...
Tags: programming

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