Importance of the DOC project

Importance of the DOC project

Post by Thomas Koen » Wed, 07 Apr 1993 21:58:39



I think the DOC project is of supreme importance to Linux right now.
I've just had a rather drastic object lesson, helping a friend to
install Linux on his office box.  He is generally very clueful about
computers (hacking OS/2 and MVS (and boy, you do need a clue or fif*
for THAT system...  it's a screaming horror from the dinosaur pits), and
you only have to explain things to him exactly once), but has no
experience of UNIX at all, and no access to any up - and running
system with manpages and tutorials.

He got the system up from the SLS 0.99pl6 disks in a matter of hours,
and got things working, sort of.  Then, when he wanted to start
configuring the system the way he wanted it, he ran into all the
usual problems we've probably all had when we learned UNIX, or
UNIX system administration, or setting up Linux, only he got it all at
once.

Typical problems included:  How do I clear the screen upon logout?
(Looking for the keyword trap in the bash manpage is not the first
obvious thing which comes to mind, for example.)  How do I make the ALT
- Gr - key work under XFree 1.2?  (That was a tough one, because
somebody apparently left out the Alt_R definition out of the XFree
compilation, apparently...  you need two calls to xmodmap, one to bind
keycode 93 to Alt_R, and the other one to bind Alt_R to Mod2, because of
the way that xmodmap first parses and then executes its input.)

Without somebody to answer his questions and do some of the
actual work for him (me ;-), he'd have been lost, because the
documentation with SLS is scattered, incomplete, sometimes wrong,
and certainly not in the form of a tutorial (also, he doesn't have
access to Usenet).

At the moment, I can honestly recommend Linux only to people who are
quite familiar with the UNIX philosophy, which is obviously not a happy
state of affairs.

So, what is there to do?  In the best Linux tradition: if there's
something which needs to be done, do it! Join the DOC channel of
the Linux activist mailing list (the FAQ and the recently posted
DOC project manifesto explain how to), and start out by proofreading
other people's stuff, for example.  Volunteer your services, they'll
be very gladly accepted.

Happy hacking
--

The joy of engineering is to find a straight line on a double
logarithmic diagram.

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by Matt Wel » Thu, 08 Apr 1993 09:25:12



>I think the DOC project is of supreme importance to Linux right now.

Why thank you. I assume the check is in the mail. :)

(Just kidding Lars.)

Quote:>At the moment, I can honestly recommend Linux only to people who are
>quite familiar with the UNIX philosophy, which is obviously not a happy
>state of affairs.

I have to agree with you. However this will change soon. A pre-pre-alpha
version of the Linux Install Guide is being cooked over now. Sometime
Real Soon Now the book will be ready and a great burden on the Linux community
will be lifted. Once the User's and System Admin's guides are out then
we can safely rmgroup comp.os.linux. :)

However, some of your friend's questions can be answered by first reading
a book on UNIX to get the background and philosophy. Then it's not too hard
to hack around and figure out the Linux specific stuff. Also after reading
up on vanilla UNIX the Linux FAQ makes a lot more sense.

I think that's the one key problem with the Linux newbie community right now:
lack of basic information about UNIX. A lot of UNIX newbies are trying out
Linux and, honestly, are lost. That's to be expected--- UNIX is quite
difficult at first (compared to MS-DOS and Windows). What all Linux/UNIX
newbies need to do is go buy a good book on using/running UNIX (I suggest
books by O'Reilly and Associates for the good scoop) before even attempting
to dive into Linux.

Linux is not aimed for the UNIX newbie community. However UNIX newbies don't
need to remain UNIX newbies for long. Unfortunately the LDP can only do so
much about it. My Linux book assumes no UNIX experience, but does expect
the reader to go out and bone up with a good UNIX book once they finish
reading it. I don't want to reinvent the wheel and write a book on UNIX
for newbies. I want to get them started and then make it possible to go
out and read another UNIX book, keeping the Linux specifics in mind.

mdw

--

"I met a girl named Sandoz..."

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by David Lesh » Thu, 08 Apr 1993 11:38:35


Others said:
# I think that's the one key problem with the Linux newbie community right now:
# lack of basic information about UNIX. A lot of UNIX newbies are trying out
# Linux and, honestly, are lost.

This is the double-edge crux of the problem.

Prior to Linux, you had to pay real $$$ to get a _nix to play with. If
you didn't have a SERIOUS interest, you were unlikely to pay. If you
DID pay, it was because you knew already what you were doing.

Now, pholks such as me, with more disk space than hard cash & Unix
knowledge, *can* bumble along, at no cost.

But the result is: lots of newbe questions.

Maybe we need to sell Linux, with a quota of COL questions included.
Exceed that, and the special daemon wipes your partition ;-}

--

& no one will talk to a host that's close............(301) 56-LINUX
Unless the host (that isn't close).........................pob 1433
is busy, hung or dead....................................20915-1433

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by Duane Dav » Thu, 08 Apr 1993 10:17:33



> I think that's the one key problem with the Linux newbie community right now:
> lack of basic information about UNIX. A lot of UNIX newbies are trying out
> Linux and, honestly, are lost. That's to be expected--- UNIX is quite
> difficult at first (compared to MS-DOS and Windows). What all Linux/UNIX
> newbies need to do is go buy a good book on using/running UNIX (I suggest
> books by O'Reilly and Associates for the good scoop) before even attempting
> to dive into Linux.

I don't agree with this. Although I'm not a *nix expert I'm also not new
to *nix. I have installed and run 3 other *nix's besides Linux and didn't
have anywhere near the problems because they came with a REAL installation
program, all the files where there, and the books agreed with the setup.

Most Linux users recomend the SLS package for first time installations.
In my opinion the SLS (0.99p6) package is a joke. Just getting UUCP and
CNEWS running I found alot of missing, incorrect, and misplaced files.  

I fought with UUCP for two weeks and couldn't get it running. I followed
the 'Managing uucp and Usenet' book exactly and it still wouldn't work.
I then FTP'd the complete Taylor UUCP package, compiled it, and had it
running in less than 15 minutes. Obviously something was missing in the
SLS distribution.

I've just started to get CNEWS up and running. According to the docs it
is typically located in /usr/lib/news and /usr/lib/newsbin. I found it in
/usr/local/lib/news and /usr/local/lib/news/bin.

Just finding the documentation is an adventure. There was one I was looking
for (I think it was UUCP) that I found under the emacs directory. 'less'
couldn't find it's help file, it wasn't located in the correct directory.

There are many more inconsistancies that I've run into, these are just
a couple that came to mind.

You say to get a good book on running unix. Which unix? From what I have
seen there is no real standard to unix. Reading through the Nutshell
book I have I see MANY MAJOR differences in filenames, configuration, and
directory layout between the different *nix. How is someone new to Linux
supposed to know which configuration needs to be used?

---

Micro-Medic                          public access usenet (408)279-5240
711 Lincoln Avenue                  public access pcboard (408)280-1610

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by Bernd Wiebe » Thu, 08 Apr 1993 21:13:56


: Most Linux users recomend the SLS package for first time installations.
: In my opinion the SLS (0.99p6) package is a joke. Just getting UUCP and
: CNEWS running I found alot of missing, incorrect, and misplaced files.  

I don't think you should call the SLS-package a "joke".
If you can make a better package, with everything setup correctly,
feel free to do so. I won't stop you.

However, it is true that not everything in SLS is working the way it
should. So why not put up a mailing-list and have some
beta-testing. Instead of making my own package, I would rather like
to participate in improving SLS.

Bernd

BTW, is there a new SLS underway, with lx99p7a and libc4.3.3?

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by McArthur E. Sandridge I » Fri, 09 Apr 1993 03:03:53




>>At the moment, I can honestly recommend Linux only to people who are
>>quite familiar with the UNIX philosophy, which is obviously not a happy
>>state of affairs.

>I have to agree with you. However this will change soon. A pre-pre-alpha
>version of the Linux Install Guide is being cooked over now. Sometime
>Real Soon Now the book will be ready and a great burden on the Linux community
>will be lifted. Once the User's and System Admin's guides are out then
>we can safely rmgroup comp.os.linux. :)

Um, I have to take exception to both of you...  I was/am a unix newbie
(ok, so I do know a fair amount about computers and have worked with
*nix to read news before this...  :)  I have not, however, had much
trouble with Linux.  The SLS installation went in fine (oh yea, I forgot
to mention that I poked at bsd for a week or two and gave up in
frustration!  I couldn't get anything configured right :) and now I have
both compiled my own options into the .99pl6 kernel and upgraded to pl7
(or A, but I think I don't have the A patches...  Need to get those!)  I
do now have books and I doubt that I will be able to call myself newbie
much longer (especially since I saw some questions being asked that I
*knew* the answer to!  [Lotsa cheers!] :).  But it doesn't take an
expert to try it out, although a more standard set of hardware might
have helped me.

Quote:>a book on UNIX to get the background and philosophy. Then it's not too hard

While I am here on my bandwagon, and since I am getting slightly better
at dealing with things, is there anyone out that that needs a alpha/beta
tester who is good at testing but doesn't know enough c to know if the
light is on? :)  I have (as I stated above) a fairly standard system:
tseng 4000 based video, Viewsonic 6 Monitor
no-name 486-25 w/ami bios.  2 200M IDE drives,16M ram, and  
a jumbo 250 (which I still have not seen a driver for... :( and a
Logitech mouseman.  Xworks (with twm or openlook(?)), I have scarfed
some other programs (nethack!) and they work fine, and I have about 45%
of my 160M Linux partition open.  I want to help, but since I am not
experienced with C, and don't do docs (Nurses are better! :), I don't
know how, so I figure I will throw myself out to you (yea, I know, real
safe!)

Thanks for being patient with me!
Buddy

 
 
 

Importance of the DOC project

Post by Dennis Robins » Wed, 14 Apr 1993 15:18:57




>> I think that's the one key problem with the Linux newbie community right now:
>> lack of basic information about UNIX. A lot of UNIX newbies are trying out
>> Linux and, honestly, are lost. That's to be expected--- UNIX is quite
>> difficult at first (compared to MS-DOS and Windows). What all Linux/UNIX
>> newbies need to do is go buy a good book on using/running UNIX (I suggest
>> books by O'Reilly and Associates for the good scoop) before even attempting
>> to dive into Linux.
>I don't agree with this. Although I'm not a *nix expert I'm also not new
>to *nix. I have installed and run 3 other *nix's besides Linux and didn't
>have anywhere near the problems because they came with a REAL installation
>program, all the files where there, and the books agreed with the setup.
>Most Linux users recomend the SLS package for first time installations.
>In my opinion the SLS (0.99p6) package is a joke. Just getting UUCP and
>CNEWS running I found alot of missing, incorrect, and misplaced files.  

The way I feel, if you can use dogs you can use unix.  The complexity
of UNIX arises only when you look at the sophisticated things you
can do with it.  DOS is 'easy' because most people only use it to
boot their machines and load programs.  You can do that with UNIX,
plus in the end have a whole lot more flexibility.

- Show quoted text -

>I fought with UUCP for two weeks and couldn't get it running. I followed
>the 'Managing uucp and Usenet' book exactly and it still wouldn't work.
>I then FTP'd the complete Taylor UUCP package, compiled it, and had it
>running in less than 15 minutes. Obviously something was missing in the
>SLS distribution.
>I've just started to get CNEWS up and running. According to the docs it
>is typically located in /usr/lib/news and /usr/lib/newsbin. I found it in
>/usr/local/lib/news and /usr/local/lib/news/bin.
>Just finding the documentation is an adventure. There was one I was looking
>for (I think it was UUCP) that I found under the emacs directory. 'less'
>couldn't find it's help file, it wasn't located in the correct directory.
>There are many more inconsistancies that I've run into, these are just
>a couple that came to mind.
>You say to get a good book on running unix. Which unix? From what I have
>seen there is no real standard to unix. Reading through the Nutshell
>book I have I see MANY MAJOR differences in filenames, configuration, and
>directory layout between the different *nix. How is someone new to Linux
>supposed to know which configuration needs to be used?
>---

>Micro-Medic                          public access usenet (408)279-5240
>711 Lincoln Avenue                  public access pcboard (408)280-1610


 
 
 

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