Our best foot forward

Onno Benschop onno at itmaze.com.au
Wed Nov 14 22:32:11 UTC 2007

On 15/11/07 02:51, Patrick wrote:
> Hi Eoin and list
> I agree that shell scripts are not for beginners. Really I think Ubuntu 
> is already really good for the beginners, although a different bred of 
> OS , I don't see what is more difficult then let's say windoze. However 
> for a beginner administrator, let's say someone who is trying to set up 
> a small business network, an FTP server etc, it is a different story.
> Take me for example, I still would not call myself an expert but I have 
> come a long way from last year. Last year I set up an FTP server(VSFTP) 
> it took me 1-1.5 days. Now I can set one up in 15 minutes because I know 
> what to do. I read through the online tutorials and I was instructed to 
> type vi /etc/vsftpd.conf. I then had to learn how to use vi(which I 
> hate). Then I had to figure out that the tutorial probably should have 
> said sudo vi /etc/vsftpd.conf. To boot VSFTP was not my first choice 
> there was another open source one that turned out to not be very good. 
> I  was discouraged and then tried setting up Webmin which took more time 
> to learn and in the end did not really do want I wanted it to do so I 
> went back to manual editing.
> I have a small business. Things are gong well enough this year but last 
> year was a real struggle. 1.5 days really hurt. I can't stand close 
> source software but the better business move would have been to pay 
> $100-200 on a closed source one click install windoze App.
> There is tons of great open source software out there but we have to 
> lower the barrier to entry. We are fighting Billions of dollars and 
> political influence, we can't just be as good as windoze we have to be a 
> lot better to get noticed.
> If someone had a script like this for me it would have really helped:
> #!/bin/bash
> echo "we are going to install vsftpd"
> sudo apt-get install vsftpd
> echo "you will need to edit the following configuration file to get this 
> working\
> please change the listen to address to your ip\
> if you want more then anonymous access please add a user name and file 
> permissions
> sudo gedit /etc/vsftp.conf
> echo "now we need to start the server"
> sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd start
> echo "please check your your FTP server now by typing= ftp your-server ip"
> I think a new administrator could get a server off the ground in an hour 
> or so and at no cost. His/Her boss would say great this cost me $20 (or 
> whatever the hourly wage is). If I was the new administrator last year 
> and I made $20 an hour, my boss wold have said " this cost me $240. We 
> should have paid for that Windows one click app.
> Ubuntu is awesome but maybe it needs to be easier for administrators.
> I would be happy to write a dozen of these scripts but I will need help 
> to develop a big repository.
> Thanks-Patrick
As a business owner I understand exactly what you're saying here, but I
think that what you're proposing as a solution will not actually assist.

Fundamentally, the script(s) you're describing as I see it, are really a
command-line based walk through of a tutorial.

The problem is not getting vsftp installed and configured, the problem
is that you don't know how to do it (yet). One approach to that is
education, that is, documentation that assists you in the process.
Making a shell script to do this is a complete waste of energy because
you're going to end up making a script framework that can deal with
instructions, text, information, branches, mark-up, examples and other

Guess what, that's what a WIKI already does.

So, while I agree that setting up an FTP server shouldn't be hard, the
problem is not "the one click installer", we already have that, it's
called Synaptic, the problem is configuration and documentation.

Now, there are a few things that you personally can do about this:

    * Write bug reports that indicate why the current installation of
      vsftp "didn't work out of the box", because the whole idea of this
      fan-dangled package manager is that it "just works". There are
      pre-install and post-install scripts included in many packages.
      Perhaps all that is needed is to add or fix some functionality in
    * You can contribute WIKI pages to document the process, from
      selecting the appropriate package, with reasons why you tried
      others and found them to be wanting, what you did to make it work
      and how you achieved success.

In my opinion, those two single things would be much more helpful than
writing a script to walk you through the installation process.


Onno Benschop

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