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Re: apt-get error messages

Hi.  A couple of comments.

On Wed, 16 Jul 2003 16:59:46 -0700
Wm.G.McGrath <wgm@telus.net> wrote:
> In
> order to conduct a useful search you have to understand and define
> the problem correctly.

Actually, not necessarily.  When it comes to computer error messages,
I've successfully dealt with a surprisingly large number of them by
simply blindly cutting-and-pasting the error message itself into a
Google search form.  In the case of this particular error, if I
google on "Dynamic MMap ran out of room" right now, the very first
entry it returns is a Debian BTS bug report about it; the discussion
thread it links to includes directions to a solution.  Searching
the archives of this mailing list for the last two weeks on "Dynamic
MMap" only turns up this thread; but searching the previous quarter
turns up 27 messages about it.

> Otherwise you're barking up the wrong tree.
> Which I was. I had the how-to on my desk, but version 1.7.7 March
> 2002/stable, lacks the two lines, in v1.8.5 July
> 2003/testing-unstable, to which you refer. You'll also note there's
> no section in the how-to on the cache or on setting up apt.conf. The
> man pages weren't any help either. So it's not as if I didn't try
> and find out the answer myself. 

I believe you.  And there've certainly been times where I've hunted
some problem down for a while, finally asked a question, and had
someone point out that the answer was located in some obvious source
that I shoulda checked.  It happens, absolutely.

Incidentally, though, that's another reason why you might find that "How
to Ask Smart Questions" FAQ useful:  it makes suggestions on how to
communicate in your queries that you've made an effort to figure things
out on your own, so that people who see your question are more likely to
be willing to stop what they're doing and help you out.

> There are no stupid questions. Especially when it comes to
> computers.

No, I agree, there are no stupid questions.  But there is laziness
about determining the answers to questions.  I don't mention that to
imply that you are/were lazy, I promise; that's not my intent.  I
mention it to explain my own position.

In pretty much all technical-ish fora in which I've been involved,
there have existed people who want the answers to questions but don't
want to put any effort in themselves; they just want other people to
tell them the answers.  My mind goes back to a night on the #debian
IRC channel when someone asked what 50C was in Fahrenheit.  I gave
the querant the formula relating Fahrenheit to Celsius, and was stunned
when he/she replied back with "oh, I know the formula, I just don't
feel like doing the math myself."  Speaking only for myself, I only
have a little bit of time I can spend here asking and answering
questions each week.  So I filter:  I look for stuff with which I
think I might be able to help; and then I tend to throw out the stuff
where I can't see that the questioner has put in any effort him/herself.
The question you asked was a really common one that a simple web
search can solve.  Consequently, to be honest, I wouldn't have replied
to your question at all if it hadn't been the case that I've replied
to it in the past, and so had a previous response that I could
cut-and-paste in.

I hope that doesn't seem snooty; I don't mean it to.  I'm just trying
to be realistic.  Even with my comparatively low level of expertise
(there are lots and lots of people here far more competent with this
stuff than I am), I'm still unable to put as much time into this list
as I could.  And I'm certainly *attempting* to be helpful when I
indicate to someone "if you read this document and do the things it
suggests, you'll learn more, you'll probably find answers more quickly,
and other people will be more likely to take the questions you do post
seriously."  It may seem rude; but it really is an attempt to help,
I promise.


Chris Metzler			cmetzler@speakeasy.snip-me.net
		(remove "snip-me." to email)

"As a child I understood how to give; I have forgotten this grace since I
have become civilized." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

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