Our best foot forward

Patrick optomatic at rogers.com
Thu Nov 15 00:07:51 UTC 2007

Hi Onno and List

I am not sure I have made my intentions clear. First of all, Ubuntu's 
package management system is easier and less hazardous then a 
windoze-one-click-installer program, my helper script idea was just to 
focus on the configuration and if necessary, post installation 
commands(i.e sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd start).

My helper script idea was not meant to eliminate wikis and online tutorials.

My difficulties last year with setting up an ftp server had nothing to 
do with bugs but my inability to climb the learning curve quickly enough.

Linux is such an amazing OS because you can do so much with it but this 
power comes at a price, power comes with complexity.

Frankly speaking I have tried my best to learn as much as I can about 
Linux but when I post to lists I always feel that the other list members 
are light years ahead of me.

I just started using Linux in 2005. I had/have no friends and no family 
members that ran Linux. I wonder if this is the case with most other 
Ubuntu users? I wonder if Ubuntu is spreading more by word of mouth, 
then anything else.

Everything I have learned, I have learned through the internet. I wasted 
30+ cds trying to burn a "bootable CD" or "an image" when I was just 
getting started. It was not until I bought a Linux CD that I found K3Bs 
"burn as ISO image". I went through 15+ distros before settling on 
Ubuntu. I wiped out windows with a dual boot and I killed Ubuntu logging 
in as root.

Am I an idiot? I would be the first to admit it but I do have some 
abilities. I have a successful business(although my take home pay is 
still low). I taught myself how to refurbish laboratory instruments and 
I am selling them to Universities all over the world. Most were 
originally worth tens of thousands of dollars and my recent project is a 
mass spectrometer that was worth just under a million dollar when it was 

Really I am an idiot, I could write a three volume novel on all the 
stupid things I have done but I am not without abilities. Learning Linux 
has been an uphill battle the whole time and there are probably more 
people like me then there are like the people on this list. Although 
Linux is growing in popularity it is a slow burn. It is a great OS and 
it should be a raging fire by now. Vista sales are in the billions, it's 
just not right.

We need to put Our Best Foot Forward. People of varying levels of 
ability should be able to do more with less effort. My helper script 
would give someone the ability to make a "first pass" through a set up 
process very quickly. They could then read the online tutorials and man 
pages to improve their set up by making second and third passes through 
the script. The first pass must be painless.

Cheers, Mate-Patrick

Onno Benschop wrote:
> 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
> exceptions.
> 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
>       those.
>     * 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.
> Cheers,

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