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Re: Help!

On Thu, 8 Sep 2005 10:52:50 -0600
Paul E Condon <pecondon@mesanetworks.net> wrote:

> For some products, Stephen's position is simply silly. Consider,
> for example, a Boeing 747. Another example is a C compiler.

Certainly, those are two complicated products (in comparison to some
other not so complicated products) to use. The average user, upon
visiting a 747 cockpit, just sees a morass of levers and dials and
other things and has no clue what to do (witness several Hollywood
films where non-pilots are talked down from the ground crew, for
intance). Having no "Flying 747s for Dummies" book handy, one would
arguably find oneself lost. But (and I am not a pilot) these planes may
be easier to fly than many other models - especially with computerized
navigation, autopilot and so forth.

A C compiler is perhaps more relevant to this discussion, and it
permits me to interject a point. When the average user wants to compile
"Hello World", for instance, doing it by reading "man gcc" often does
not prove useful. Why? Because "man gcc" (as many other man pages for
Unix systems) lists all possible ways to use "gcc". In practice, most
users will not use nearly all those options, and somewhere, buried in
the man page, there exist instructions on how to compile a simple

$ cc -O -o hello hello.c (or even simpler, remove the -O)

Man pages (generally) don't progress from simple usages to more complex
ones - they present in toto everything all at once. I saw that early on
by reading "man bash". 

> Paul E Condon           
> pecondon@mesanetworks.net

David E. Fox                              Thanks for letting me
dfox@tsoft.com                            change magnetic patterns
dfox@m206-157.dsl.tsoft.com               on your hard disk.

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