OT: A few ffmpeg queries

Jeremy Nicoll - ml gip jn.ml.gti.91 at wingsandbeaks.org.uk
Fri Sep 8 04:58:08 PDT 2017

On 2017-09-08 11:23, Alan Milewczyk wrote:

> Couldn't agree more, it's the big failing of the IT industry. Manuals
> detailing features are not what customers want, they require "how to"
> tutorials.

Well, not the whole IT industry.  IBM's manuals (and most of those from
other software & hardware vendors whose products were installed in data
centres) always seemed exemplary to me, with - often - separate manuals

   - installation
   - customisation
   - technical reference - which might be needed by people trying to
     diagnose faults in the product
   - user reference including 'why' a user might want to do things
     and 'how' they could approach that

Until maybe the 1990s, IBM at least provided source code for many of 
software products (which made customising it by patches, and diagnosing
faults from system dumps) much easier than it is without source.  (You
can disassemble code or areas of dumps wihout knowing the source but the
code is much harder to understand then.)

They also ran courses aimed at both the techie people (eg systems
programmers) who'd install, customise and support a product, and those
who would use it.  If one got in a mess one could discuss support issues
with IBM (et al) experts, in some cases down to the individual machine
instruction level, precise behaviour of hardware in weird circumstances
etc.  Sometimes one could talk to the actual designers of particular
products directly to find out WHY things worked the way they did & what
chance there was of getting a design changed.  (It was possible.)

The customer had to pay quite a lot for the software, manuals and 
but then again IBM's programmers, support staff and technical authors 
need to be paid.

Some PC software I have also comes with very thorough documentation, but
such software is not free.

Jeremy Nicoll - my opinions are my own

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