[TAG] Re: [Lgang] linuxgazette.net down......
tfbrown at dejazzd.com
Mon May 24 06:58:59 MSD 2004
OK, I'm gonna jump into this discussion, even though I'm gonna regret
it. I've stirred up hornet nests before, so this won't be the first
time. I fully expect to get a few "stinging" replies.
When talking to the people new to Linux, I think part of the challenge
is that they don't have the same mind-set or point-of-view as "old-time"
or "traditional" Unix/Linux users. Part of it is the GUI/CLI issue that
others have mentioned, but it's more than that. The CLI in Linux is
richer, and more complex than the MS-DOS that a lot of folks are used
to. Another problem is that a lot of people aren't interested in
becoming programmers. They just want to know how they can rip tunes from
an audio CD, or whatever. While some people do want to learn it all, I
think those people are in the minority.
Now, I think giving people a CLI as well as a GUI way of accomplishing
what they want is a great idea. Especially if you're giving them an
easy-to-use shell script that prompts for parameters, instead of making
someone type-in a huge command line with lots of alphabet-soup options
they'll never remember. They're not really looking for a GUI, just an
easy step-by-step "cookbook" way of getting the job done. Without
learning what is, to them, a programming language. I know that sounds
like heresy. It isn't the sort of thing a veteran Unix/Linux person
would even think of, never mind want to use. I've used some flavor of
Unix off and on over the last 10-15 years, and I tell you that I still
have a handful of "incantations", which I use without caring much about
how they do what they do. Is this the wrong way to approach using a
computer? Some would say Yes, but today's new Linux user would disagree,
The biggest challenge to LG would be writing the articles, which would
require a lot of traditional Unix/Linux experience combined with a
"cookbook" point of view. I don't think the two are a natural fit in one
author. Each time I tried to start an article in this vein, for example,
I quickly discovered that I lacked the in-depth knowledge and experience
to do an adequate job.
Here's a rough top-of-my-head list of topics:
* The Hardware Department: Pick some bit of hardware that isn't
automatically handled by Linux, or isn't handled well, and show the user
what to do to make it work (cookbook fashion). Another topic might be
the sort of benchmark article LG did recently. Another might be helping
a user select a good video card (or printer, etc.) to use with Linux.
* The To-Do List: Pick a task (or a series of them) the user might want
to do, and again, show them cookbook-style
* Finder Free: Pick a Windows or Mac application, and discuss the "free
software" alternatives. For CLI apps, you might want to include a script
file that makes using them (almost) as easy as a GUI.
* Up Against the Wall: Security issues are very much on people's minds
these days. Linux security issues, and solutions are different from
Windows. Topics here might include: how to update different distros
(those without a built-in mechanism to do this), how to configure a
* Brain Surgery For Beginners: Pick a Sys Admin task that someone might
want to do (configure Samba comes to mind), and describe the steps most
people will really need to do, pointing them to specific documentation
elsewhere for problems.
* Paint and Wallpaper: GUI desktop issues. Some topics here might be how
to use Superkaramba, as well as KDE and Gnome topics (perhaps a
step-by-step on upgrading from one version of KDE or Gnome to another
for the non-rocket-scientist)
*Arresting Development: Topics related directly to programming and
programming languages. Tutorials in something common to Unix/Linux, but
not the DOS/Windows world (awk, python, etc) might be nice.
*Tales From The Dark Side: Running a specific Windows app in Linux via
Wine or Wine-x. Mono tutorials, tips and suggestions.
Anyway, you see what I'm getting at. It's more a point-of-view change
than anything else. If you can also get sites like LWN to link to
articles now and then, it'll increase the impact of the change.
Normally, I wouldn't think to tell you guys what to do, or suggest any
changes. This is your gig after all, and you're doing a teriffic job.
But you did ask for suggestions.
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