Back to the topic of the original thread: FreeBSD Cert

Polytropon freebsd at
Thu May 28 22:22:04 UTC 2020

On Thu, 28 May 2020 22:47:01 +0200, Ralf Mardorf via freebsd-questions wrote:
> It's trivial to _program_ a digital video recorder to automatically
> record a television programme, [...]

Yes, but only for _old_ people! :-)

> [...] but it's not trivial to translate data
> into _code_.

It's not just data - it's concepts (of behaviour, of data, of
calculations, of interactions, of data exchange, of communications,
of hardware control, etc.).

> In the end it's not that important for this thread, so
> back to the topic:
> Important is that UNIX alike operating systems have got a login shell
> that is useful for an admin, poweruser and even for the clueless user to
> customize the machine, to the user's (operator's) needs. So starting
> with writing scripts is essential, starting with learning how to
> maintain a port is grotesque.

Not neccessarily.

Allow me to explain: The goal (!) to maintain a port will
inevitably require a certain skillset. Being able to use a
computer running FreeBSD, using the shell, dealing with shell
scripts, and probably learning to use the tools involed in
the ports infrastructure is _needed_ to maintain a port. So
while "maintaining a port" can be seen as a distant goal, it
can be a valid goal to learn the fundamental knowledge and
gain the required experience to become a valuable port maintainer.
Of course it technically doesn't start with "the port"; it
starts with the basics.

> Using and customizing/optimizing a computer neither requires programmer
> nor coder skills. Most could be done by using existing software and
> writing shell scripts. Even a disgusting bad written shell script could
> do the wanted job.

I know that, I have _one_ (in numbers: 1) written in C shell. :-)

> Scripts are portable.

They _should_ be.

> Getting used to man(ual) pages is very useful.

Definitely. Commands like "man" and "apropos" are essential to
acquire basic knowledge, but as you correctly pointed out, "using"
man pages is more than reading: they have a specific format, and
they present information in a certain way one needs to get used
to; they are not a HOWTO or a README or DOMYHOMEWORK. :-)

> Learning how to use a terminal emulation is very useful.

Plus, discovering different editors, choosing, and mastering
at least one editor is useful. It doesn't matter which editor
it is. I would also say that there are certain tools that can
be helpful, like the Midnight Commander for file management,
rsync or cpdup for data exchange, of course archivers and
compressors, and maybe even all the small things that usually
make it into scripts, like sed, awk, cut, paste, wc, tr, and
other little "moving parts" that help in automating things.
I wouldn't say you're lost as a port maintainer if you don't
know those tools, but depending on _what_ exactly you need to
do, they can be a great advantage.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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