I've been working with linux for the last year or so, and I have to say, I'm stunned at how poor the documentation for many applications is. I'm not a windows fan boy or anything (although I have a lot of windows experience and relatively little linux experience), but before I started getting into linux, I remember reading all the time about how things in linux are so well documented. But I'm finding that well documented really means "there is documentation". I think the Linux and Windows worlds are about the same when it comes to documentation.
I have definitely become PEEEEEAS DOFF at the missing documentation for Windows and Windows-based applications - especially for Office and OpenXML (we work with those technologies a lot here, at Windward). But I remember, just the other day, I couldn't find documentation on the output of the yum! That's a very common, core, frequently-used application!
Yeah, the documentation in both worlds is about the same. Or at least that's the way it's been so far. For every application and technology, there is documentation, and sometimes it's very clear, very thorough, and up-to-date, and sometimes it's ambiguous, sparse, and outdated. And of course, for some things, there just plain ain't no documentation to be found.
I guess it might be a little easier to understand for linux, because everything's open source, and a lot of times, the documentation is too. Plus you don't have to pay to get the software. But while that might explain things, it doesn't make them any better.
Maybe no one really sees the need for better documentation, but as Malcolm and I were discussing earlier today, good documentation is probably one of the key reasons Java is so popular.
We should probably say that linux has at least a little bit of an edge on windows in terms of documentation because you can read the source code if you want.
Anyway, documentation for stuff sucks - I hope it gets better. (Startup idea?)
Here's a point that I thought was really good on this matter: http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1465620&cid=30311420