Fwd: Re: [Wine]re:re:HELP

Joshua Crawford mortarn_lists at yahoo.com.au
Sun Oct 10 14:25:29 CDT 2004

* David Jones <gnome at hawaii.rr.com> [2004-10-09 17:17 -1000]:
> Joshua Crawford wrote:
>>* David Jones <gnome at hawaii.rr.com> [2004-10-08 20:52 -1000]:
>>>Hmm, as someone who made a living as a technical writer who mainly wrote 
>>>user documentation ... I too find the standard Linux documentation (what 
>>>is commonly available online and/or comes with Linux) I've read not very 
>>>accessible for newbies. It makes many assumptions about the readers' 
>>>background knowledge.
>>What do you think of the DOS-Win-to-Linux-HOWTO? I've recommended it to a
>>few people before, and they don't seem to have had too much trouble with 
> I haven't looked at it.

I've only skimmed it myself, but it seems pretty good.

> I used UNIX before I met DOS or Windows, 
> switched to WinDOS 3.1 when the specialized hardware I was using died, 
> then switched to OS/2 and am just relatively recently moving my 
> production work to Linux (I've had Linux systems around for several 
> years, just not done much with them). Using a distro called MePIS right 
> now (on one machine), Knoppix on another machine, and we have LibraNet 
> Linux on my wife's laptop. MePIS is the first distro where I didn't have 
> to consult documentation (and experiment a lot) to get Linux to 
> recognize my USB hard drive and memory card reader.

I was unfortunate enough to be forced through a year's worth of DOS usage
before I was allowed to use a UNIX machine (despite being a complete newbie
to computing, as soon as I walked into the lab I wanted to use the SPARCs
(with the bigger monitors and extra buttons on the mouse and keyboard) more
than I wanted to use the PCs :)

>>At any rate, I think that "lack of documentation" is a bit of a null
>>argument these days, when most newbies know about WWW search engines.
> I didn't say "lack of documentation." There's lots of documentation 
> findable via search engines, but figuring it out AND figuring out how it 
> applies to your Linux distribution and situation is the challenge that 
> very little of it addresses, or at least that's how it seems to me. 
> There seems to be a shortage of *simple* step-by-step instructions 
> around, perhaps because many Linux doc writers take the approach that 
> you have to put everything into it - cover every possible "expert" 
> option you could possibly need - so that it's no longer a simple set of 
> instructions, it's a tangle of conditional steps that a lot of people 
> have difficulty handling.

Hrm. As a newbie I was glad to find detailed manuals rather than the
over-simplified and incomplete windows help files I was getting used to.

>>Is CorelLinux still around? I haven't heard of it in years.
> Corel sold it to a company called Xandros. Xandros has continued to 
> develop it, and from what I've read, made it a very good distro for 
> newbies, focussed on desktop use. <http://www.xandros.com/> I haven't 
> looked at their documentation (you have to buy a copy of it to get that) 
> so I don't know if they've continued the tradition.

Oh, ok. I've heard good things about Xandros.

>>What does it matter if a book is out of date, if the information is still
>>useful? When I was first learning UNIX in 1996 (SunOS 4 at school and
>>Slackware 3 at home), the book I found most helpful was a 1983 McGraw-Hill
>>publication called _Introducing the UNIX System_ I'd picked up cheap from a
>>second-hand book store.
> Because if you don't know what you're doing, you don't know if the 
> information is still any good. You check the book, you check your 
> distro, and maybe it doesn't work quite that way. Or it doesn't work 
> that way at all, because of a major version change, or just a 
> peculiarity of the distro you're using.

So you experiment. That's what I can't understand about newbies these days
(god, I sound old when I say that, but even in just the 9 years I've been
online, the quality of newbies has noticeably deteriorated) - fewer and
fewer people seem to like to just play around with things, try and figure it
out for themselves. Instead they want to be lead by the hand because they've
got some morbid fear their computer is going to blow up if they click the
wrong button.

If they're that worried about their precious hardware, why don't they just
find an old system to play with? I mean, here in Oz at least, you can get a
'486 or pentium system for under $50 (including monitor, keyboard and
mouse), or even just pick them up off the roadside when the council does
hard waste collection.

> And some books are simply not aimed at a desktop user. Here's an 
> example. Our home network uses Windows' SMB networking. We have no file 
> server or domain controller. When I started adding Linux boxes to the 
> network, I decided I needed to learn Samba, so I bought "Teach Yourself 
> Samba in 24 Hours". Fine book - if you're a system administrator on a 
> network where a Linux system is the file server and domain controller. 
> It has precious little to say about setting up a Linux box to function 
> as just another peer on the network.

Was the SMB-HOWTO no use to you? I've got to look at that some time myself.
Joshua 'bruce' Crawford ... http://www.geocities.com/mortarn

"All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the
parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can't
get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a
		-- 1925 IBM Maintenence Manual
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