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Re: Debian Package HOWTO. Who ?

On Thu, Nov 16, 2000 at 12:39:54PM +0000, Colin Watson wrote:
> I can probably dredge up quite a lot from my sent-mail folder, with
> things that I've answered frequently. Not sure when I'll have time to
> write it up well. A lot of people obviously don't read the FAQs that are
> already in existence, so it's a bit discouraging ...
> Can we have a bit less FUD about people having a policy not to talk
> about how things work, or about "data hiding", or whatever, please? I'm
> sure it's infuriating to the people who've put in all the work to write
> all the good (and largely unread) documentation out there.
As a provocation it served its purpose. However I admit that I was unfair.
But I stil think that my question for a more in-depth HOWTO is a valid one.

I have reread the man pages of dselect, dpkg and apt-get, plus the
relevant parts of the FAQ. They offer a lot of information, but of a 
rather superficial kind. 'In order to ... , type ...'.
For many of the options described, you do not see what information
is being used, and how it changes your system.

In his many replies to cries for help Colin has given ample proof
that this kind of information is badly needed. It is illustrated
as well by the many 'I suppose ...' etc which you can often read
in the explanations given by intermediate gurus. 

Some people suggest that I should read the developer's or packaging
manuals or even the source. But I am not a developer, and i have 
never succeeded in reaing more than ten lines of someone else's
C code if it goes beyond the 'hello world' level.

My aspiration level is to be an intelligent end-user, but still to 
use more of the possibilities than only 'apt-get install ...',
without the permanent fear of creating chaos.
Egbert Bouwman - Keizersgracht 197 II - 1016 DS  Amsterdam - 020 6257991

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