Diveintopython package - non-discoverable?

Simon Gerber nequeo at gmail.com
Wed Jan 4 01:27:19 GMT 2006

> > > e) Start the online help, click on Applications->Programming->Dive
> > > Into Python   :)
> > I don't think it's reasonable to consider 'e' as discoverable.
> It's not optimal, but better than how you "found" it...  :)

Yeah, in my case I was reading the installation text, and saw
'diveintopython' scrolling by. And I just happened to recall that I'd
seen it three months later, when I started learning Python.

> Not after a standard install, but there is after installing
> programming-related packages if they contain a .desktop file.

Yup, understood and observed. But my point was that there isn't much
reason for your average user to suspect that there is even a
programming sub-topic of Help.

Then again, Dive Into Python is not an entry-level text. So your
'average user' wouldn't get much out of it even if they did discover
it. Not that I'm complaining or anything. For those who need it, it's
there. And those who don't, probably won't even notice it's lurking

I am a little curious, however, as to why a 'developer'-ish package
like diveintopython is installed to the harddrive by default, when
'build-essential' isn't. From memory, those packages are shipped on
the CD anyway, just not installed by default. I see far more
complaints from people trying to 'make' stuff who don't know about the
build-essential package than I ever do about Python.

> wxPython has such an application somewhere in its examples IIRC.
> There are probably others too.

Then why aren't we using them? :)

> > Now that you've pointed it out, there actually seems to be some useful
> > things stuffed in there.
> Including all the python docs, yes.

Only after you've installed python-doc. Which aint there by default.
Which doesn't bother me, 'cause most of it's just an off-line version
of www.python.org, which, unlike Yelp, I *can* search through, for the
thing I want.

Don't get me wrong, I *like* the fact that this stuff appears in Help
after you've installed it. I had no idea that happened, and I think
it's a cool feature. But I didn't know about it. And I have a vague
feeling that perhaps a lot of people don't. Like John said a couple
e-mails back, perhaps we should find out how many people actually
read/use the Help? Having done my time in Tech Support, I have a
suspicion the answer is 'not many'.

> > In any case, I still think we should either ditch the package
> > entirely, or at least provide a link to that 'help' section under the
> > Applications-->Programming menu.
> It's not an application...

True. But it's not a help file, either.

> Maybe we need a documentation menu?   :P

I can just imagine the Absolute Beginner forum if that happened.
"Please click on RTFM..." :)

> Or a better documention browser, that invites people to really
> _browse_ through it?

Lemme throw an idea out there.

I think pretty much every package puts something in /usr/share/doc.
Usually just a changelog and a licence. Only a few packages add
anything useful to the HTML help. However, we already have a
notification icon that tells us we need to reboot after a kernel
package has been updated. What if we extend that so the user is
notified when a package has installed some docs you can read with the
help browser? Maybe along with a little notification pop-up letting
you know you ought to click it and have a look?

I know there are problems with that idea... For example, you'd have
hundreds of notifications after a fresh install. You even get the
'kernel updated, please restart' after a fresh install at the moment.
That would have to be fixed. And it would get annoying after a while,
so there'd have to be a very obvious way to turn it off.

And people still wouldn't ever read it. But at least they'd know it was there.

Has this already been thought of? If not, do you think it's worth
writing a spec?


Seen in the release notes for ACPI-support 0.34:

'The "I do not wish to discuss it" release
  * Add workaround for prodding fans back into life on resume
  * Add sick evil code for doing sick evil things to sick evil

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