Re: Attracting newbies (Was Booting Debian/testing fails)
On Sun, Feb 04, 2007 at 05:10:36PM -0500, Michael Pobega wrote:
> Ken Heard wrote:
> >If GNU-Linux is going to make any serious inroads in the BDU market
> >(BDU=brain dead user) which Microsoft dominates faute de mieux, there
> >has to be documentation which the average BDU can understand. In the
> >distros about which I have had personal experience (Red Hat 8 --
> >before RH abandoned the BDUs -- Debian Sarge and now Etch) such
> >documentation seems to be an afterthought. [...]
> Very good writing Ken, I enjoyed reading it. I agree with you that to
> appeal to the BDU market the Debian community will have to band together
> and create easy to follow documentation, but the question is do we
> really want it?
> I know that bringing BDU people to Linux is an awesome idea, but the
> influx of BDUs would bring a "stupidity" to Debian, one that is often
> associated with distros like Ubuntu (Note: I have nothing against Ubuntu
> personally, it's just commonly known that most people frown upon Ubuntu
> users). In my experience Debian requires you know nothing about Linux to
> install it, but rather just how a computer works. As much as I'd love to
> have my mother use Debian over Windows, I'd rather give her a Fedora or
> Ubuntu disc before I'd ever give her a Debian installer.
> Although, I am interested in helping to bring more people to Debian. I
> know that everyone is a BDU at one time, down to both you and me. If you
> need any help e-mail me at this address with anything you need done.
I think that with proper documentation and presentation, it need not
bring a "stupidity" to debian. I think we are in the unique position of
being able to grow our own good debian users out of BDUs. By-the-way,
we need a better name for such people. If newbies are experienced *N*X
people new to debian (maybe they should be debies), perhaps we need
The Dreyfus Model of Sill Acquisition , describes skills acquisition
as passing through five levels: novice, advanced beginner, competent,
proficient, and expert.
What we are really talking about is that the installation manual
requires an advanced beginner. The debian-reference requires someone
who is competent. Personally, I am proficient in most of debian as a
whole while I am expert on my own system as it currently runs, from an
People who ask questions here, even if they are generally experts, are
not expert in the area in which they ask questions. Otherwise, they
would be able to figure it out on their own. Nobody is an absolute
expert in everything even in one field. Things change, something new
comes up. The questions that people like to weigh in on, that make for
an interesting discussion, are the ones asked by proficient and expert
sysadmins. "Lesser" questions are more easily answered and don't make
for long interesting threads.
So I propose that instead of the term BDU, we use the term Novice.
If its not clear from the reference, I have my degree in Nursing. A
great deal of nursing is teaching novices (mostly patients). I also
taught nursing where we take novices and turn them into advanced
beginners over the course of 4 years.
I love teaching novices and advanced beginners but I most love teaching
them how to answer their own questions.
1. Dreyfus, S.E.; and Dreyfus, H.L. February 1980. A five-stage
model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition.
Unpublised report supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific
Research (AFSC), USAF (Contract F49620-79-C-0063), University of
Califonia at Berkley. As cited in Benner, Patricia. 1984. From Novice
to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice.