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FWD: Why is PPP so screwed up!?!?!

[Please don't Cc me when replying to my posts on this list]

This thread (Re: Why is PPP so screwed up !?!?!) on debian-user getting
flooded by "It's simple" messages from people with trivial setups, I'm
forwarding this to debian-devel for developer's attention.

IMO this should be taken into account before releasing 1.3.

Joe, since you are offering help, why not join the project? 
For the current procedure see the debian FAQ (14.1 in my local copy)

Siggy Brentrup <bsb@debian.org> aka: bsb@uni-muenster.de
PGP fingerprint = C8 95 66 8C 75 7E 10 A2  05 61 C7 7F 05 B6 A4 DF

------- Forwarded Message

From: CoB SysAdmin (Joe Emenaker) <jemenake@lab.busfac.calpoly.edu>
Subject: Re: Why is PPP so screwed up!?!?!
To: jghasler@win.bright.net
Date: Sat, 1 Mar 97 19:54:08 PST
Cc: debian-user@lists.debian.org
In-Reply-To: <87pvxjdwoi.fsfjgh@win.bright.net>; from 
"jghasler@win.bright.net" at Mar 01, 97 5:22 pm
Mailer: Elm [revision: 70.85]
Status: R

> > It's really not so damn difficult to be honest, but the first time or two
> > it might seem daunting.
> Why not try to make it less daunting?  Is it supposed to be some sort of a
> rite of passage?

Exactly! I keep seeing posts from people who say "All I did was 
'cat /usr/bin/pon' and went and edited "/etc/ppp.chatscript.". Well, tell me,
where in the Debian installation guide 
(ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/stable/disks-i386/current/install.html) does it 
mention "pon" (or even "ppp" for that matter)? In fact, show me where in
the installation guide it even makes reference to ANY other document that
refers to "pon" or "ppp". This leads to the question: How many hyperlinks
deep do I need to go before I find out how to install Debian?

Second, why should someone have to "cat /usr/bin/pon" to find out to
edit /etc/ppp.chatscript anyway? I mean, I have to say that the Debian
installation routine is so simple it's silly. So why doesn't it just go
that one extra yard and ask a simple question like "Will this system be
connected to the net via a PPP connection?" and then let me specify
which com port and what the dialup number/login-id/password are? Even the 
people who claim that "ppp was a breeze" admit that they had to hunt
around a little before they found the right files to edit (either that or
they cheated and asked a friend). 

It's silly. There's no mention in the installation guide that ppp is even
included in the base system, or that someone with only dial-in access
to the net can use ppp with dselect's ftp method to add new packages. 
Instead, you get tossed into dselect without even being given the chance 
to get ppp going for the first time (even if you *did* know the files
to edit). Now *that's* intuitive.

Don't get me wrong, Debian is great and it's got some really cool features,
but those features are not made apparent to a newcomer to the distribution.

Here's an example. A buddy of mine in San Francisco recently e-mailed me
that he had just installed Debian (his first Linux) and that he needed to
know how to read a DOS floppy because he had used Win95 to download some
tar'd and gzip'd msql source or whatnot and wanted to copy it onto the
Debian machine.

I explained to him the Debian packaging system (which he hadn't been made
aware of in the docs he read or the install program)... and how he should
go get the .deb files.... and that, when he's feeling brave, he should
get ppp going and use dselect. So, he went and ftp'd (with Win95) some
deb's and copied them over to the Debian machine and used dpkg to install
them. Then, he got gcc and was stuck because it was bigger than a 1.44M.
So, I told him that it was time for the "rite of passage", that he was
going to have to go with ppp and dselect (which, again, he was not made
aware of). It took about 3-4 days of e-mails before I got a message from
him with the subject "I'M ACTUALLY DOWNLOADING WITH DSELECT!!!!!".

The ordeal shouldn't be such that it would cause him to act like he had
won the lottery. I guess my point is that Debian is not doing a good job 
at embracing the "first-time linuxer" and probably even the "first-time
Debian linuxer". As a result, Debian is THE thing to be running as long
as you've got a friend who has installed it before who will help 
point you in the right direction.

And it doesn't have to be that way. I'd be glad to help... but in order to,
I need at least SOME indication from others that they agree there's a 
problem here. Up until now, all I've heard is denial.

- - Joe

------- End of Forwarded Message

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