[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: No comments (responding to questions on the list)

Chinook wrote:
Ken Heard wrote:
Rafi Gabzu wrote:

Hi ,
In the last two weeks I stopped receiving answers to the questions I
post in this mailing list , till now it was very help full.
What happened ? something that I did ...?

    I did my own survey of posts to this list and discovered that fully
half of them are never answered.  Andrew Cater suggested two
possibilities as to why:

a.) Everyone thought everyone else was going to answer
b.) No one had the appropriate answer.

    The real question however stems from the nature of Linux itself:  an
open source, mostly free software developed almost entirely by
volunteers.  At the moment Linux has the reputation -- probably deserved
-- as being for geeks only.  As such, it has no more than 3% of the
market for operating systems for personal desktop and laptop computers.

    Now for the question: do the creators and users of Linux want it to
expand beyond that 3%?  If so, then Linux has to be made useable by the
average BDU (brain dead user).

A good start in this direction has already been taken: the creation of
such distributions as Ubuntu and Kubuntu.  More however needs to be
done.  Two essential tasks are improving the documentation and answering
*ALL* questions asked by newbies on lists such as this one.

    I have already written elsewhere on the documentation issue. In the
Debian system, the role of the documentors needs to be enhanced, with
among other things a veto role in the approval process.

As for answering questions, the Debian organization should ensure that
*EVERY* question be answered within a reasonable period of time.  The
questions which are answered are mostly answered by somebody on the list
within 48 hours.  Somebody should be designated to see that questions
not answered, say within 72 or 96 hours, will be.  This person should
either answer each question himself or -- more useful -- assign
questions for answer to those people in the organization most suitable
for each question.

I think raju has some good points, but I might add a different perspective.

Context: I'm a retired SE (dating from the early 60s) and have a fair knowledge of Unix and scripting, but am new to Linux. You might also call me a Mac elitist :-)) because my favorite development environment is ObjC/Cocoa. I decided on Debian because, in the long run, I think it will be the least restrictive in my playing around with cross platform development using GNUstep.

Regarding your so-called BDUs, I think that the commercial packaging of Linux is making great progress. The issue is more likely some measurement of enlightenment relative to the "average" human (attested by many aspects of life). I won't get into the dastardly deeds of Micro$lop, but it does my heart good to see them concerned. History's cycles will not be denied, but end of their own excess. There is more than one way to interpret "can a 100,000 lemmings be wrong."

As far as question responsiveness, it takes a combination of sufficient expertise and special talent (i.e. desire, being that talent is a hollow word) to deal with the ambiguities and nuances of posted questions. To my way of thinking, such would take another layer of organization in an already all volunteer populace. Even the better commercial organizations leave this mostly to the user community.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are levels of Linux to decide on. If one chooses to jump into the deep end before learning to swim, then one must accept a certain amount of rebuffing (outwardly or by omission). If such is unacceptable, then stick with the more "finished" offerings. In my short experience with Debian, I'm impressed with the average responsiveness of the user community. One of the measures I used in selecting Debian was to peruse the various forums.

So ends the sermon of the day :-)
Lee C

"Pay attention. You don't know what disguise your next teacher will be wearing." -- ?

As a PS, I forgot to include my take on documentation. When I first got my dual PM G5 I thoroughly studied the book "Mac OS X Unleashed" and found it invaluable. I don't know what books exist for Linux or Debian in particular, but I do know there is extensive documentation to be found on the Debian site. I'm still referring to the User's Guide (and what it points to) as needed. Actually, for the "not completely computer illiterate" I prefer the documentation style employed on the Debian site. I find it much easier to zero in on a specific issue than such as the aforementioned book.

In fact, in the context of a volunteer assemblage like Debian, I believe that the collective authors are to be commended for their thoroughness and effort. Being more of a developer than a writer, I find the chore of documentation to be rather laborious :-) As the saying goes - "Documentation is like sex: when it's good, it's very, very good. And when it's bad, it's better than nothing."

Adding to raju's comments - if many posters (including myself) would take a little time to familiarize themselves with the material available on the Debian site and maybe even study some of it, they could save themselves considerable time by at best resolving their issue, and at worst stating their issue in more specific and understandable terms in their post.

Enough said. Sorry for the long-windedness, but I'm testing a 80GB disk clone and bored :-)

Lee C

Reply to: