Explaining FreeBSD features

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at chrononomicon.com
Thu Jun 23 13:07:52 GMT 2005

On Jun 23, 2005, at 6:30 AM, Erich Dollansky wrote:

> Hi,
> Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>>>> Why should I study the drivers manual before getting a
>>>> drivers license?
>>> I do not know why people do it. I just learned driving in a
>>> deserted place.
>> I didn't say "learned driving" I said "get a license"  You have
>> to learn what's in the manual to pass the test to get the license.
> I also never studied that one. With other words: there is more than 
> one way to get the knowledge.

And so many ways never to learn the full potential of the tools you're 

>> It's not a question of trust, it's a question of do I understand what
>> is going to happen.  I find post-operative pain a lot easier to bear
>> when I know why it's hurting.
> I do not bother to understand as long they say it is all right.

Ignorance is bliss.  Letting others think for us gives away 
responsibility and power, but hey, it's less work than thinking.

It is for this reason that sysadmins end up having to clamp down so 
hard on so many desktop systems in organizations.  You don't want the 
responsibility of knowing why you shouldn't be doing this, so we'll 
simply not allow it anymore.  Why can't I get this attachment?  Because 
you like clicking before thinking.  Why can't I change my color schemes 
around?  Because you ask for help and it makes other people's eyes go 
wonky reading purple-on-pink text.  Why can't I save documents here 
instead of there?  Because we've warned people that area isn't backed 
up, you lost a file, and threw a fit when it couldn't be restored.  
Eventually you HAVE to turn the workstation into some kiosk-esque 
etch-a-sketch to keep them from screwing up their workstations with 
their random click-click-click.

Living in ignorance, and worse, being told that it's right to live in a 
state of ignorance, brings us to the state we're in today in the US.  
Everything is designed for idiots, we expect to legislate morality and 
intelligence (if it's harmful, we should ban it, make it illegal, or 
put so many warning stickers on it that only someone with the IQ of 
butter could operate it).

>> Ah, but help on who's terms? Telling a newbie to RTFM for an answer 
>> that
>> he asks which is in the manual IS help.
> Yes, it is help. But how dumb does a person have to be if this is of 
> real help?

I don't know the population of Estonia but knowing where to find the 
information can be of more help than memorizing that (changing) fact.

More often than not it's not a matter of a person being dumb as much as 
it is just being lazy.  Why read for help when we can ask a short, 
pointed, and specific question to "experts" and have them answer just 
my specific floating in the forefront of my head question right now?

It's of real help to try to get people to actually think on their own, 
and use the groups to clarify questions or share experiences or 
practical application information.  But I'm sure we're all guilty of 
asking questions when our needs would have been met by just RTFM at 
some point.  Or at least getting the pointer of where in TFM to look to 
cut down on the search time.

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