New Users Learning FreeBSD
rpratt1950 at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 6 15:54:22 PST 2004
This thread has gone beyond a question and should be moved to -chat
and trim freebsd-questions from the cc in further discussion.
On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 16:15:01 -0500 you wrote:
> There will all ways to the party line drawn between the developers
> and the users. Developers want total freedom about how to install
> and config while the users wany automated no question asked install.
> If FBSD was an commercial product, the developers world would never
> be seen by the customers. There is no question that the sysinstall
> process is not new-be friendly. Heck it's not even user friendly to
> experienced users.
That's odd. I don't seen any "party line" drawn between developers
and users. Quite a few developers spend time answering questions
on the various lists.
IMHO, very few users want an automated no questions asked install
where everything is decided for them by someone else. I prefer
the idea of allowing users choices.
Many people find sysinstall quite easy after having read the
documentation/handbook. Perhaps I've spent too much time using
sysinstall when I wrote most of the Handbook Installation section
to see what is difficult.
> FBSD all ready has an division point called the
> development code branch for the developers and the stable code
> branch for the user community. The stable branch can be considered
> akin to an commercial product release version.
-CURRENT has always been a testing ground for new code and -STABLE
is for production use. After sufficient time, well-tested code
is merged from -CURRENT into -STABLE (when appropriate).
> The problem is the
> development total freedom install method is not really appropriate
> to the technical knowledge level of the general user community and
> this division between communities has always gone in favor of the
> developers. This will never change as long as developers are in
> control for it's their nature to be blind to the needs of the users
> of the finished results of their labor.
The majority of the developers volunteer their time and resources.
Consequently, they spend time working on projects/code
that interests them or they have a need for. Usually this benefits
everyone. There have been instances where developers have been hired
to develop specific features. This option is always open.
> This is even evident in the
> tone and depth of the documentation of the man pages and the
> handbook. Every thing is geared to the documentation reference needs
> of the developer and technical knowledgeable user. There really is
> no provisions for the people new to FBSD. They are kind of just left
> on the sidelines and have to dig through a lot of old outdated
> public internet how-to's, man pages which are so cryptic they are
> next to useless, and the handbook which is written in an style that
> is very hard to comprehend, the poor new user has to learn by trial
> and error.
I've not seen this level of criticism in a long time. Most all of
the comments I've seen indicate that FreeBSD has some of the best
documentation of any of the free OS's. Perhaps you could point out
some specific examples of "good" documentation that we could learn
If there's some part of the Handbook's installation instructions
that seem to be cryptic, I'd certainly like them to be pointed
out. I've received many emails thanking me for the time I've put
in those in the past 5 years so I'm hard-pressed to figure out
where I went wrong.
> We can all see that this situation is almost designed on
> purpose to make the new user pay their dues before they can join the
> FBSD developers club. All this does is inhibits the growth that FBSD
> could really experience. An good compromise which services the wants
> and needs of both communities would be to add an newbe user-friendly
> install process on stable branch only. A step-by-step instructional
> install guide that explains how the system is designed to be used
> would go a very long way to speeding up the learning process of the
> newbe and go an long way to removing the frustration that we see
> voiced all the time in this questions list.
Yes, there are dues to be paid in learning anything new. It was not
designed that way; its just the way it is. No one will deny that
there is a steep learning curve involved in learning to use a free
unix. Once you have a basic level of understanding to build on,
things will go smoother and those cryptic manual pages will become a
valuable asset. They will probably never become tutorial style since
they are meant to be reference documents.
> Just my general observation's and comments based on what I have seen
> and read in the list.
Your use of sweeping generalizations is a bit unfair and incorrect
in the ways they were stated. More specific information would be
needed before anyone could take any sort of corrective action.
I do not take part in bikesheds, flamefests or troll-feeding so
I won't respond unless you have specific questions or constructive
suggestions for improvements to the project.
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