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Re: Suggestion for Newbie Guide Lines

Hi folks,

On Mon, Jul 19, 1999 at 09:57:26PM -0400, Carl Mummert wrote:
> One issue: there is already a lot of documentation out there.  ( I will
> not vouch for its quality or lack thereof, but volume is something that it
> does not lack).  Every package should have a manpage, and often there is
> stuff in /usr{/share}/doc/package also, as well as all the web-based
> documentation. 

the most common problem I have encountered when suggesting Linux as an
OS to other people is, that even though there is a wealth of docs out
there, new users don't know where to look for them.  Newbies need to be told
where to find the information.  I think that in many cases the doc's are
not read simply because the user is not aware of them (I had a user in here
the other day who, after two years of using a UNIX system, did not know 
about the "man" command ...).  I think this is a problem which needs to be

I think the idea of a "bug report/debian-user post"-checklist is great.

>   * ) a list of (too) commonly asked questions and answers 

I think that a pointer to such a list would be sufficient - provided it
is part of the base system install. How good is any documentation if
the user/system administrator is not forced to install it? ;-)

>   * ) a list of places to look for further documentation
>      - man/apropos
>      - info
>      - /usr{/share}/doc/HOWTO
>      - online places

+ online version of the (Debian-specific) FAQ.
There are some tools out there to automatically maintain a FAQ. Maybe
something like the FAQ-O-Matic could be helpful, does anyone have
experiences with such a system?
>   * ) a checklist that the user can follow to attempt to report
>       (or maybe even fix...) problems as they occur
>         Checklists are easy for users to follow, require no
>         previous knowledge, and teach processes for fixing things.
>         And they might lead to more detailed bug reports, easier to resond to.

They most definitly do.  The user will supply all vital information,
even if the user is not able to tell which information is considered
vital by himself.

Just my $.02.

So long -- Stephan 
Stephan Engelke                                    engelke@math.uni-hamburg.de

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