Quote:>We are to set up the configuration and make a practical course for
>(completely) fresh computer students. We will set up a nice GUI, KDE
>or GNOME, to let the new students easily play with the
>computers. Anyway, my job will be the shell - I think it's important
>to encourage the users to use a shell, and to make it as userfriendly
>as possible. We will put a default, nice configuration into ~ for all
>users, making it easy for them to peek into and change it/experiment
I've yet to meet a computer interface that was easy to use for someone
who knew *nothing* about computers. The most important thing is to
make the computer be as simple as possible and have as few surprises
as possible. I think that bash fits this bill -- it's regular, it
does many things that I think are irritating but that normal users
will love (like it ignores the stty settings and almost always allows
both delete and backspace to work, as well as the arrow keys). Also,
if you want users to be able to customize their environment as they
get comfortable with it, because bash is relatively standard knowledge
of it will quickly be useful under ksh. While the zsh functions are
super cool, they would be endlessly frustrating when they don't work
for those people who aren't savvy enough to understand that there are
*lots* of versions of bourne shell out there.
>So, now I want you to help me with tips about what should be put into
>the configuration. And what shell to select. The computers will be
>fitted with a quite standard RedHat 6.0 setup, so bash would be the
>most obvious choise of shell. Personally I have better experiences
>with zsh, but perhaps this is because I haven't studied all the
>possibilities in bash closely enough? I really appreciate multi-line
>editing, and the possibility to get different tab-selections dependent
>on what command you issue. But I guess this might be feasible in bash
>as well? Another issue, even if we mainly aim towards one shell, it
>should be easy for the students to change shell, meaning some
>configuration might have to apply to all shells.
Such things as context sensitive command line completion and multi-line
editing are power-user tools, not the sort of thing a new user would
want or care about or most importantly understand. A simple tool
that is easy to understand is better for people who don't even
know what the tool is suppose to be used for. Later, they can
graduate to bash with goofy extensions, ksh with tk builtin to it
or zsh. Or even tcsh if they smoke too much hash while studying.
>Please list different "nice to have"-aliases, functions and
>environment settings you would have added to such a configuration.
Aliases are bad. Functions are better.
>TobiX In a world without fences, who needs gates?
I can't help you with actual configuration files, but I can
suggest that you have an interactive help system, and in that
you can put bits and pieces of useful knowledge about *how* to
modify the environment. I wrote a help system in bourne shell
several years ago (please forgive the StudlyCaps and all the
mistakes in it) that might be useful as an example. You can
pick it up from
I tried to mimic the vms help system. If there is interest,
I can write up some quick documentation describing how it works,
but there are lots of example help documents in it already
which are helpful for students at ucr.
Good luck! It's always wonderful having the opportunity to
spread your ideas of how things should be to impressionable