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Holiday Wish list

Ok, so this is coffee induced, but my one wish is that all HOWTOs include
a last modified date so I don't spend hours learning and installing the
old way, and that all HOWTOs explain *why* each step is done instead of
just the steps.  (Is that two wishes?)  

The main reason I pick Debian is that I want to install just what I need
and use, and understand *why* it's installed and *how* the parts fit
together. I've often been tempted by Linux from Scratch for this reason,
but I love apt-get too much.

And if I can ask for anything, I'd ask for Debian specific HOWTO wikis.  
I think most all debian setup and config options are discussed on this
list - often over and over.  I'd love to see individual topic HOWTOs
specific to debian that can be annotated/updated as questions and answers
come up on the list.

And then perhaps a CGI interface where a new user can be asked a series of
questions about what kind of system they want and get a list of steps that
are pointers to the individual HOWTO wikis.  Kind of like tasksel, but in

It would also have to be a rather smart system to detect that addition of,
say ide-scsi, might need a kernel recompile and include those docs.

Ok, it would never work as TIMTOWTDI when setting up a machine.  But for
newcomers some time there's too many ways, and one good way would be a
nice start.

The other reason to reject such an idea is that there already is a ton of
really good docs available.  Still, I like the wiki idea to update docs as
things come up on this list.

I say all this because I have been trying to keep good notes when I set up
a new machine.  I install a base system and then try and apt-get only what
I need.  My notes try and explain why I need to install something, some
basics of how it works (e.g. "/etc/init.d/foo runs, reads
/etc/default/foo.conf, and foo updates something else" kind of thing).
Rarely perfect but takes some of the mystery out of it.  And I cut-n-paste
the actual commands I type into my notes which make re-using them really
easy (as I can then cut-n-paste from the notes).

I reinstalled a machine a few days ago and I picked sections of what I
wanted to install from the notes of three other installs and it was so
easy to set up that new machine for me.  That's what made me think about a
way to select the things I want setup and have the notes compiled together
for me.

Ok, enough of that.  Time for another cup of coffee.

Bill Moseley moseley@hank.org

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