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Bug#325655: www.debian.org: Help us to help ourselves

Package: www.debian.org
Severity: wishlist


After several years on debian-user, and a month or two on #debian, it is
apparent that we could make life a lot easier for our support community by
recommending that new users read:
1. The Installation Manual.
2. The Reference.

Yes, believe it or not, it seems as if nobody is reading them.  In fact, I can
start at www.debian.org and navigate through until I'm downloading an iso, and
not even know what the Reference is.  The Reference should be plugged, nearly
everywhere that the IG is, as an essential post-install read.  Also, perhaps
it should have a name change to the Manual, but that's probably a different
discussion.  Reference is not something that encourages perusal.

Especially where testing and unstable are concerned, there should be more of a
warning on http://www.us.debian.org/releases/ to those considering using those
distributions.  It should be something like:

"Please note that, whilst many users happily use testing and unstable
on their desktops every day, it is possible that due to their nature,
these distributions may break from time to time.  Therefore, unless you
know what you are doing, please stick with stable until you gain enough
experience to be able to fix things when and if they go wrong on testing
and unstable.

It is sometimes thought that testing is less likely to break than unstable, and
represents a balance in risk between the two, but this is not necessarily the
case.  You have been warned.

Additionally, whatever release you run, but especially if you run testing or
unstable, please check the BTS before asking for help.  It is quite possible
that your issue has already been spotted, and there may be a workaround or fix

I know there is a link to the faq entry on testing, but it's not enough.  The
page discusses the advantages of testing and unstable and _no_
disadvantages.  The stigma of Woody's age should be long gone now,
and we shouldn't shy away from pointing users towards stable.

In addition, not everybody will come
through www.debian.org/releases.  Some may go straight to
http://www.us.debian.org/distrib/.  There are problems with that page too.

It makes no mention of the fact that there are the three releases.
This is bad as it means that users coming in from this route will not see the
releases page, even with the above information.  They may want to download
Debian, already hell-bent on moving straight to unstable, with no regard for
the frustration that may be ahead.

Perhaps there is a case for merging the distrib and releases pages?

Furthermore, all users should be nudged towards reading d-s-a, and possibly
d-u, whether by mail or newsgroup.  Unstable users should read d-d-a.

I understand that users need to fend things for themselves, but all I can say
is spend a few days on d-u or #debian, and you will surely agree that a few
changes could free up a lot of resources.


-- System Information:
Debian Release: 3.1
Architecture: i386 (i686)
Kernel: Linux
Locale: LANG=en_GB, LC_CTYPE=en_GB (charmap=ISO-8859-1)

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