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Re: Debain on the rise ! - However ....

W. B. Maguire II wrote:

At 10:03 AM 2/2/04 -0700, you wrote:

On 2004-02-02, Uwe Dippel penned:

> How about creating sub-topics ? Newbies, X, Kernel (2.6),
> Applications, Advocating, General Discussion, Printing, you-name-it.

I think that genuine newbies who don't know how to find information in
the first place, and may not know which domain applies to their
particular problems, anyway, will end up posting to the "wrong" list
anyway, and getting flamed for it ... causing more noise ...

Wrong, IMO! I think it is quite arrogant to dismiss a "newbie" list because of an attitude that "newbies would be too dumb to find it!"

Perhaps it is arrogant, but I agree with the person referred to above as "you" (Monique maybe?). Even experienced users might have a problem deciding which list to post to. For example, I'm printing to a network printer shared off an NT server; is my problem related to the printer driver, or to Samba setup, or to domain authentication, or to a firewalling network issue, or what? If I post to Debian-Printing, the person who knows that the answer is Samba-related may be the person who never hangs out on Debian-Printing. So not finding an answer on Debian-Printing, I either get frustrated and give up, or I cross-post to ten different Debian lists, increasing the noise on several lists, and making it harder to search the archives for answers.

*I'm* a Debian newbie, and *I* spent the time to find-out which list I should use for help on installing the distro! Just because I'm a *Debian* newbie doesn't mean that I'm a complete idiot, and that there's no use trying to split-off a list for new users like me! Sheesh!

This has been discussed many times in the past on this list; the general consensus is that although a Debian-Newbie list sounds good on first hearing of it, it would wind up being counter-productive. The reasoning can be found in the archives.

And what about discretization in other areas? I asked a question about the Debian install (3.0 r1) not recognizing my HDDs connected to a Rocket-133 PCI-IDE card (a few days ago---titled "New Debian install + Rocket133 = no HDDs! (Please help..."). I followed-up my first post with some details I forgot (like the version of Debian and the fact that I tried *all* the installs, starting with the 2.4 kernel). I included *lots* of detail---as much as I reasonably could. Please look! I spent a *long* time composing the e-mail, so that I could provide a reasonably-well-formed question. The result? I got *one* reply (thank you!), but it suggested: (1) use the "bf24" install---which I was already doing, and (2) build a new kernel for the install---an issue which I had addressed in my follow-up post (basically saying that I'd never compiled a kernel before, and even if I *did* compile a new kernel, I didn't know how to use *that* kernel for a Debian installation).

Sadly, it appears that no one knew the answer to your problem. This does sometimes happen. I for one have never even heard of a "Rocket-133 PCI-IDE card", and wouldn't have the first suggestion for you. Thus, I kept quite.

If you have on-board IDE controllers, you might try plugging your hard drive into that, just to see what results you get. I suspect that the Rocket-133 card simply isn't yet supported by the standard kernel drivers. Perhaps RedHat included third-party drivers. This is one of the advantages of using a consumer-oriented distro. Unless this driver is "Free", it's not going to show up in Debian, and if a Debian developer doesn't have this card, he's not likely to spend time/effort to develop a Free version of the driver.

I understand it's frustrating for you, but as a general rule, the more rare that a piece of hardware is, the less likely it is to be supported.


I'm hoping that if I have a problem [wiith Gentoo] that I'll be able to get help---without my request for help getting drowned in a sea of 200 messages per day (and where many of the messages are just about general-interest or opinion topics---not experienced users helping new users).

The purpose of this list is for users (experienced or newbies) to help users (experienced or newbies). Off-topic messages of general interest or opinions don't belong on this list, but we're all human, and sometimes OT threads (or sub-threads) get started; that's just human nature. After a while, participants in such threads will start getting flamed for not taking it off-list, and eventually the thread dies.

In the few days that I have been on this list, I can say that I have seen many, many requests for help go unanswered.

We're all volunteers here. We'll provide help when we can, but when we can't, we can't. And sometimes, what looks like a request for help is really just the output of some Windows virus or spambot spewing garbage onto our list (like "My printer won't print. Why not?" as the complete text of the message), and most of us have learned to see through them and ignore them.

Maybe I'll be able to give Debian a try at some point in the future, but at this point, it feels almost unsupported to me. I'm not saying that there's no help here, I'm just saying that the volume is *crushing*, and that it seems that many of the requests for help are being lost in the volume!

I can't disagree with you here; there is a lot of volume (and noise) on this list. (I'm probably not helping the S/N ratio by posting this reply :-) .)

If there are many things you'd like to know about, why don't you post
and ask about them?  No one is forcing you to read through all of the
myriad threads on this list.  Just mark uninteresting threads "deleted"
and move on.

It sounds to me that you imply that anyone who doesn't have a good mail client just shouldn't bother with this list. I, myself, haven't had the time to migrate to Mutt on my RH9 Linux box, so I'm temporarily putting-up with Eudora on Win98 (even though I *hate* it and Windows!). Once again, I find your attitude elitist. Fine, maybe you and your *good* e-mail client can handle the volume on this list, but what about me and my *Windoze-average/crappy* e-mail client? If the new Linux user *must* run Mutt (or any other good Linux client) to post to this group, then the majority of new Linux users are excluded.

Okay, put another way, "just delete uninteresting threads, however your mailer allows you to do so".

As an aside, I gave up Eudora several years ago in favor of Mozilla Mail (which allows threading of messages). You might want to look into it. (Not meaning to sound elitist; but when I started using IMAP, I found that Eudora wasn't as good a program as Mozilla Mail.)

p.s. I'll stick-around for another day or so, to see the responses to this thread, but in the meantime I'm Gentoo-ing! :-)

I think Gentoo will be a great experience for you; from what I hear it's an excellent distro. Of course, there are pros and cons to each distro. Debian's not for everyone (although it seems a lot of folks wind up with Debian as their final distro). Debian, and this list, are far from perfect. Don't misunderstand me that I'm saying you're wrong; I understand your frustration, and you're right about this list having a lot of volume, and not always providing answers (I've been frustrated several times over the years with problems that still aren't resolved). But again, we're all volunteers, doing what we can to help each other. If you had to pay for Debian, perhaps there'd be money to hire developers and support people to solve your problems. As it is, remember that if you use Debian, you're doing so because of the volunteer (non-payed) efforts of Debianites who have families to support and other issues in life that prevent them from running to solve one person's issues with a Rocket-133 card.


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