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debian.org web pages [was 'Re: volunteer']

peter karlsson wrote:
> w trillich:
> >     a. search field, top left number one always always always.
> Getting a new search engine is something that should be highly prioritized,
> yes. However, I don't see the need for having entry fields on all pages,
> especially since we have the "Search" link on each page.

...which brings up a page telling about the fact that there's
no search facility.

offering a link to a fancy search page for the impatient experts
is a good idea, as is done now. offering a search field for
impatient newbies is a good idea for helping them get up to speed
without looking for which link to click to get to a search page.

i'll not have any write access to the web pages in the forseeable
future; i'll just munge what i can and send my recommendations up
the line and see if it survives inspection... :)

> >     b. newbie links:
> >         - debian faq / faq-o-matic
> >         - debian / linux glossary
> >         - where/how to download debian
> These are linked, but not directly from the front page. All links can't go
> on the first page, or else it will take forever to download.

i'm interested in making the debian.org website more conducive
to getting the newbie up to speed. i've been climbing uphill for
a while and i see more new folk every week adding their layer
of repetitive questions to the mailing list--if we can make it
more difficult for them NOT to find what they need on the website,
the rest of us won't be distracted by the same questions day
after day, week after week, until we pull our hair out and jump
the debian ship in favor of a PAYING job somewhere...

> >         - will debian work on my hardware? [ports]
> >             - i386
> >             - powerpc
> >             - sparc
> >             etc
> That goes into the installation manual or release notes, I think.

and it should be there too. but foremost, to attract ranks of 
new debian users and make debian the number one linux available,
we need to present info to the newbie in a format that the
newbie 1) expects, 2) understands, and--most important, in my
book--3) can FIND. bury it three links down and they'll never
see it.

> >     c. have the remainder of the left column contain
> >         - tip of the day (maybe make a fortune database for this?)
> That could probably be a good idea, if someone can write anything good.

i wonder if we could find a way to distill some tidbits from
debian-user? past archives are a wealth of useful data
for just such a use.

> >         - quick-start guide
> What do you mean? A link to something?

probably. there's a fella working on documentation for the mod_perl
plugin for the apache webserver, and his efforts (perl.apache.org/guide)
are getting to be incredibly informative and crucial to the whole
project. maybe we can start a pale imitation in regards to debian...

this item may overlay the 'tip-of-the-day' above, in that a series
of such tips may be lined up to help get newbies off the ground with
minimal disturbance to the debian-user list.

> >         - languages available
> >             [need to fix "??????? ?? (GB) ?? (Big5)
> >             ??? ???" regardless]
> One should not mix nationality with language.
> The best thing is to do as is done now, have the language.

very good point--pardon my naïveté (i'm feeling much better now). 
i come from the graphic arts perspective, and had a knee-jerk
reaction to a dearth of icons. never mind about the flags...  :)

[i guess my browser can't handle the ones that display as '?????'
then, right? should we try GIFs there?]

> > online html documentation must be updated so that any reference to
> > 'currently' is replaced with 'as of xx/yy/zz' to reduce
> > misinformation--such as the outdated comment that "hamm (2.0) is the
> > current debian release."
> Where can one read that?

a-ha. almost like the question a newbie would pose to a guru.

here's the reaction a newbie might get from a harried guru, in 
response to your question:
    | why, it's right there on the website/in the documentation,
    | as i already mentioned. you have to try to look for it
    | yourself--at least try a little bit. go look for it
    | yourself (RTFM)...

not too helpful, is it? i hope you can see my point -- an 
occasional pointer now and then can be a lifesaver to someone 
who's just  getting started.

the outdated reference you're seeking is under the faq-o-matic
on www.debian.org:
    | ...
    | Currently, hamm is stable, and slink is frozen and
    | potato is the unstable distribution.
    | ...
just a bit out-of-date as you can see. (if there were a search
facility, the exact page would be much easier for anybody to find.)

i can supply a less vague pointer (an exact url, if you like) of 
the outdated info if you (like most newbies) don't care to--or (like
most newbies) don't know how to--do the legwork yourself.


let's make it easier on the newbies and watch our rank & file
grow exponentially!

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