You are making component, not system

Avoid ambiguous words in writing. “System” is the top of the list.

Usually what “system” means is not clearly defined. It usually means the largest entity in the writer’s mind. If he is a designer of a microprocessor, he means “microprocessor with various complex I/O components”. He has enough reason to use the cool and big word “system” because what he designed is complex and it includes lots of components.

But for the reader who happens to be a board designer, the microprocessor is just a component. He frowns and, in his document, use the word “system” to mean his “system board”.

Then the next reader who happens to be a designer of the commercial appliance, use the “system board” as a component of his “system”. The word never gets consistent meaning.

Be humble. What you are making is only a component. Let’s avoid using the word “system”.

There are some other words that are usually not defined well.

– environment
– configuration
– support
– option

I try to avoid those words as much as possible. When I really have to use them, I think twice if I have clear definition in mind, and if the readers have the same definition in mind.

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