Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Why Open Source Operating Systems: Commercial-Free Developer Support and Technical Documentation

Perhaps one of the greater draws about software development with free/open source operating systems -- such as GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Open Solaris, or the most of the Google Android and Samsung Tizen platforms -- perhaps, one of the greater draws may be found of a simple estimate of technical developer support, such as might be estimated to be in greater abundance of and about free/open source operating systems. Although -- candidly -- the developer support resources available of free/open source operating systems may not seem to be as heavily marketed as with commercially licensed, closed-source operating systems -- such as of the Microsoft commercial presence behind the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), or the Oracle presence now backing the Solaris operating system, Solaris being originally a Sun Microsystems product -- but with a certain amount of attention and of simple resourcefulness, it may be possible to locate and to utilize some many of the resources as may be available for developer support about free/open source operating systems.

Developer Support in Free/Open Source Operating Systems

Towards developing a manner of a topical overview about developer support resources as may be available about free/open source operating systems, a simple outline:
  • Documentation
    • Tutorial Documentation
    • Reference Documentation
    • Software Distribution Service Data
  • Software Development Support Tools
    • Compiler Toolchains
    • Integrated Development Environments
    • Developer Utilities
    • DevOps Tools
      • Software Configuration and Change Management (SCCM) Tools, as a subset of Software Distribution Support Tools
      • Build Automation Tools
      • Software Distribution Utilities
      • Issue Tracking Systems
      • Whiteboard Tools
  • Developer Forums
    • Mailing Lists
    • Bulletin Boards
    • Social Networking
  •  Source Code
It would be beyond the scope of this simple article, to develop any manner of a comprehensive reference manual about these topics. In so far as of the simple process of developing an outline of these topics, there -- in itself -- could be an outline towards beginning to develop a reference manual, as such. The media and format of such a reference manual, however -- secondly, the topical scope of such a reference manual -- may be behooved of some specific consideration.

Reference Documentation - Towards the Core of Software and Systems Literacy

In regards to reference formats and reference media, the author of this article can denote a small number of topics offhand -- variably of media types and media distribution services
  • Wiki
    • Concept: Web-based topical discussions
    • Contents:
      • Wiki Pages, formatted as HTML
      • Topical Taxonomies, representative of wiki page linking structures
    • Availability: Public Internet, typically
    • Corresponding Concepts
      • Bibliographies
      • Resource References
      • Web-Oriented Peer Review
        • See also: Wikipedia - Articles - 'Talk' Section
  • Project Reference Documentation
    • Concept: Reference documentation developed of single projects
    • Availability: Variable
  • TeX Info
    • Concept: Narrative and Technical Reference Documentation
    • Availability: Typically available via shell command line, 'info' shell command, such as may be available on any single operating system; may be available in alternate media formats (PDF, HTML)
  • Manual Pages
    • Concept: Technical Reference Documentation
    • Availability: Typically available via shell command line, 'man' and 'apropos' shell commands; may be available in alternate media formats
  • Academic Dissertations
    • Concept: Philosophical Overviews and In-Depth Studies of Technical Topics
    • Availability: Variable
  • Technical Journals
    • Concept: Market Information and Technical Overviews
    • Availability: Journal publishers; libraries
  • Tech Books
    • Concept: Friendly overview literature about technical topics
    • Availability: Books sellers; book services; libraries
  •  Tech Encyclopedias
    • Concept: Topical reference surveys about technical topics
    • Availability: Books sellers; book services; libraries

Introducing DITA, Obliquely

Towards a manner of applications of a single reference documentation format, it may be possible to develop an application of the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) in a context of any one or  more of those topical categories.  DITA is a standard format for technical documentation, standardized in publications from OASIS [DITA 1.2]. In a simple estimate, it may seem that DITA may be most often applied for developing documentation about products of individual commercial enterprise institutions. However, DITA may find an application furthermore in documentation about free/open source products. DITA may be juxtaposed, functionally, to the DocBook technical documentation format [DocBook.org]

Web to DITA - XSLT and Semantic Wikis

With regards to a Wiki as a manner of a reference model, it may be difficult to represent all of the depth and meaning of DITA markup within a Wiki markup language. Certainly, some of the DITA schema bears a close resemblance to HTML -- such as with regards to DITA inline markup elements broadly for specifying an italics, bold, or underline markup, and DITA structural markup elements for ordered lists and itemized lists, juxtaposed to any functionally similar markup elements in HTML. Such "HTML-like" elements in DITA might be easily transformed both to and from any conventional, typically HTML-oriented Wiki markup language.

The  more semantically specialized DITA elements may not seem meaningful in a Web Media model, until having been processed, mecahnically -- as in a publication process proceeding from DITA source code to web presentation -- processed with such as an XML Stylesheet Language Transformation (XSLT). Conversely, if to transform a Wiki markup into any of the more semantically specialized DITA markup elements -- as in a process proceeding from Web-based Wiki to DITA source code, in any manner of a converse directionality juxtaposed to a DITA-to-Web process -- in order to transform Wiki content to DITA content, it may be feasible to begin with a semantically specialized Wiki markup, such as may be available of the Semantic MediaWiki [Help:Editing - Semantic MediaWiki]. Of course -- as like in order for Wiki editors to become editorially familiar with a semantically specialized Wiki markup language -- there may be an additional burden for documentation, if not training, in applications of a semantic wiki markup.

If it may be feasible to develop a "Round trip" DITA-to-Wiki publication model, clearly there are some "Existing works," such as may be adapted to lend, functionally, to a DITA-to-Web and a Wiki-to-DITA publication process – a DITA-to-Wiki process being functionally subsumed of a DITA-to-Web process, in an application of XML stylesheets for transforming DITA markup into a semantic Wiki markup, and a procedural system for publishing the generated Wiki markup, juxtaposed to any more media-centric (HTML, PDF, EPUB) DITA-to-Web publication model.

(Ed. Note: The following section of this article's text was originally edited with the Blogger web-based editor, in the Firefox web browser -- in Firefox' distribution on the Android platform. Presently returning to the desktop web browser, the author of this article will endeavor to study the availability of Wordpress mobile apps, as perhaps Wordpress may be more well supported than Blogger's Google-based blogging experience, on Anrdoid)

DITA Markup - Presence in Free/Open Source Software Projects

  • DITA Open Toolkit
  •  …

The author of this simple blog article, presently, will return to a study of software development tools

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