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Re: Some thoughts about problems within Debian

On Fri, 2002-01-04 at 02:23, Gustavo Noronha Silva wrote:
> smooth introduction? you never heard of policy, maint-guide, developers'
> reference, web pages, etc, have you?

I have. That is not what I call a smooth introduction. For a person who
can devote, say 24 hours per month to working on a project like debian,
it will take ages to read and understand those documents. This does not
mean that the documents are useless. Also, there are many good ideas in
those documents that could be taken further - for example the debian
mentors, which could be extended from a simple mailing list to a more
direct mentoring approach.
Many operating systems have accompanying "certification" courses. These
serve the need of gathering a knowledgeable user base to run the systems
(MCSE, Sun cert, Cisco cert and so on). Why not try something similar,
but less formal and on-line, in debian?

As for the web pages, there is room for improvement. You don't need to
comment on this; I know, I shouldn't complain and should do something
about it. I'll try to do that.

> target audience has nothing to do with this... here are the problems:
> Debian needs updated and good documentation, Debian needs good packages,
> Debian needs smooth integration between packages, Debian needs to solve
> the bugs listed in the BTS's pages... work is something that is not
> missing here...

Agreed to 99%. But I maintain that target audience is of importance for
coordination. There's a big difference in making, say, an email server
compared to a desktop system. The former may assume a certain level of
confidence in mail systems and computer systems in general - it's ok to
have debconf ask some complicated questions, or requiring the sysadmin
to edit configuration files. The latter would require quite a different
approach, and could not make the same assumptions about the user's
knowledge level.
It may be possible to make a one-size-fits-all system which can fulfill
the requirements of both the above examples, but we are already seeing
some specialization occur, for example with the debian multimedia
distribution. So target audience is important: how do you define "good
documentation" and "good packages" if you don't know who is going to
read the docs, and install the packages? There's more to it than having
no spelling errors and as few bugs as possible.

> and come on, a person who is really willing to concentrate on writing
> missing documentation is probably reading this list and knows of all
> this stuff

I miss your point here.

> I've been trying to start a guide with this name (debian desktop user's
> guide), but in portuguese... lack of time is a real problem...

Perhaps you'd like some assistance? I don't know portuguese however, so
some translation would have to be done... =)


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