Ubuntuguide.org Considered Harmful

Vista Office perspectiveoffice at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 6 19:08:56 UTC 2007

I'm a frequent user of Ubuntuguide. In fact, that's all I use. It is too time -consuming and difficult to navigate the Official Ubuntu Wiki. 

I agree that much of the  information is wrong, out of date, and dangerous. So I changed it. Anyone can, you know.

I have now edited at least 25% of the guide.

Why don't I contribute to the official Wiki? There's enough people doing that, and on Ubuntuguide I don't have to fight with them. Ubuntuguide is more like Wikipedia (where I contribute regularly) -- any expert can contribute, not just the self-proclaimed experts (who may not really be the experts). 

Besides, Ubuntu has to be careful about what it espouses as its official instructions, especially regarding proprietary software. Should the official Ubuntu wiki espouse downloading w32codecs? Probably not. 

Ubuntuguide is not as constrained as to what information it ought or ought not to provide.

Ubuntuguide harmful? Maybe. But a lot of Debian developers consider Ubuntu harmful. Ubuntu developers/documentationistas ought not to cast stones.

The same debate occurred over Wikipedia. Encyclopedists claimed that Wikipedia was not very accurate. But a Harvard study showed that Wikipedia was just as accurate as any encyclopedia (turns out there's an awful lot of mistakes and misinformation in the average encyclopedia).

When you allow every expert to contribute freely, the truth will evolve. 

Ubuntuguide may be harmful from time to time, but it evolves with the right information, just as Wikipedia does.


Reply to:


I'm with you that not all the information there is "good" and can break 
your system. Heck, I've seen some instructions there that were just 
plain wrong without even having to try them out. However, in my opinion, 
the layout of the UG is much better and easier to find information 
quickly than the official wiki site you linked to. Until this is 
addressed, I'm afraid there are some that will not go there first (maybe 
even at all). In my opinion, there should be links at the very top to a 
task oriented wiki similar to UG for each respective version. The links 
at the bottom don't lead to help and are just confusing.

When someone wants to know how to do something very specific, trying to 
sort through the pages there is a bit cumbersome in my humble opinion. 
When I have a very specific task I want to accomplish, I'd prefer not to 
navigate through more than a couple of clicks.

Aaron Kincer

Kristian Hermansen wrote:
> All,
> Be wary of Ubuntuguide.org.  When users first encountered it, they consider it
> to be a great resource.  Everything you might need to do is in one
> place with info how to accomplish a goal.  However, the problem is
> that using Ubuntuguide.org may result in your system becoming broken
> or incorrectly configured.  The guide is not always correct, and you
> may break your system, especially when it comes to upgrade to the next
> release of Ubuntu.  Much of this has to do with adding third party
> sources to your APT configuration.  When you do this, your system
> could be stable for a few months, until you decide to move to Gutsy,
> and then you wonder why Ubuntu
> fails to upgrade!
> Please please please use http://wiki.ubuntu.com or the other
> help/community resources at the official Ubuntu domain ahead of any
> other resource.  Once you realized that Ubuntuguide is harmful, make
> every effort to support the official wiki and add items there.  Some
> people on this list may not realize the harm that can be done if you
> add unofficial items to your APT sources.  This is one of the major
> issues with UG, as they are always suggesting you do this.  With
> Ubuntu,  you normally don't need to do this, since most software is in
> the hosted repositories.  Again, Ubuntuguide.org should be avoided at
> all times...

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