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RE: Holiday Wish list

oops, sorry for the off-list post Bill, here's what I said:

There is definately something very inefficient about these mailing lists for
sure. I think a better approach is the Bulletin Board with an active
moderator, so that a permanent thread could be opened on a topic and
additions and questions asked eventually building up a valuable database of
information. Here as you say, things come up over and over with maybe slight
variations, and get lost very easily. The problem with old, out of date
information (expecially books you don't find out about until you've paid
your $40 bucks) is another bad one...a price we pay I suppose for not being
a huge market. Still more energy is wasted I'd bet than it would take to do
it right the first time.

Best Wishes!
Mike Olds www.buddhadust.org

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Moseley [mailto:moseley@hank.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 05, 2002 8:49 AM
To: debian-user@lists.debian.org
Subject: 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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