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Re: [gNewSense-users] Re: gNewSense Documentation

From: Don Parris
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Re: gNewSense Documentation
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 21:14:30 -0500

Hi all,

I finally realized why my last e-mail didn't get a response.  I replied off-list to Kevin, not the whole list.  So here is my reply on the documentation structure, in the hopes of continuing to push it forward.


On Nov 14, 2007 7:44 PM, Don Parris <address@hidden> wrote:
On Nov 14, 2007 5:45 PM, Kevin Dean <address@hidden> wrote:
On Nov 14, 2007 5:36 PM, Mark William Darbyshire <address@hidden> wrote:
> Thanks Don.
> I've put your structure proposal on the Proposed Structure page. I'll
> have a look at it and see what other sections I can think of. I'm
> thinking that Using gNS should probably go before Administering gNS. But
> then, on the other hand, I suppose it's a good idea to instill people
> with good habits as soon as possible.

I questioned that myself too, how advanced is "advanced". I say "Users
and Groups" and instantly said "If they don't know they shouldn't mess
with it" but then realized that a lot of people share a single
computer and they want to have "My" account and "The Wife's" account.
This is, in my mind, a pretty basic task and would explain why they
need that information in the beginning. That's why I'm wondering if
breaking things into "advanced" might be a bad idea; just ensure the
documentation maintains a good mesh of ideas (i.e. Reference "Command
Line Basics" before delving into how to write a BASH script that
mounts remote NFS shares, rsyncs the user's home directory while
exluding ~backup files) :)

NFS, etc. really belong under administration, imo.  Maybe "advanced" is the wrong word.  In fact, using that term might actually convince a user that they cannot do it, just because they don't perceive themselves as "advanced".

Perhaps we should have a section called "Servers" or "Servers and Clients".  It's kind of admin stuff, but can be used by newbies wanting to learn and experienced users alike.

Essentially, everything falls under Installing, Administering or Using the system.  But I do think many users will want something beyond the basics here.  Hence the "Servers" Suggestion.

> I suppose one big question is: "How advanced is advanced?" Basic use of
> the command line? Shell scripting?

Perhaps not judging "advanced" or not. Personally, there are some
things I do on CLI that are so basic (IMO) that I'd be upset if they
were deemed "advanced" and some things on the GUI that would baffle me
if I had to use them as text only. My solution?

1. How to install additional software on gNewSense

gNewSense includes Synaptic/Adept to manage software. You can use this
program by going to the menu... Here's a screenshot...

ALTERNATIVELY you can use the command line tools

sudo apt-get install some-package


Don't make the command line "advanced", just put it as an alternative.
After all, GNU/Linux isn't "harder" to use than Windows in most cases,
it's just different.

I agree wholeheartedly with this, and reiterate my thought above about the negative connotations of "advanced".  I'm glad y'all raised the point.

> I suppose it would be a waste of time
> writing that sort of thing, since there are plenty of other tutorials
> that cover that ground, but we could still offer links to such
> tutorials.

I can go along with this, but I think we need to include some things, like using apt-get, that might be somehow tied to the distro (kind of like UbuntuGuide).  But yes, links to other good tutorials on using the command line would be the best approach.

> In addition to the normal documentation, we'll need some sort of section
> that provides help for specific hardware. This sort of thing can't all
> be structured into the main documentation. There is such a collection of
> pages, currently at but it
> needs a bit of work. Some of the articles on that page would actually
> belong in the main Documentation. So I suppose that is a major part of
> "Configuring Funky Hardware".

Actually, we could put a link to a whole hardware section from the documentation ToC.  Other links need to be placed at strategic places in the site, but definitely include a link from the documentation page.

> Please put your name or user name with a link to your profile in the
> appropriate column at


D.C. Parris
Minister, Journalist, Free Software Advocate

D.C. Parris
Minister, Journalist, Free Software Advocate
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