Ubuntu - a Walk in the Park (was Problems after using UBUNTU for about 13 Days...)
bedwards at rnli.org.uk
Wed Sep 29 11:37:55 UTC 2004
I think a mixture of traditional and on-line authoring would be good. For example FAQs are a good example of where on-line works, specially where the questions may not be asked so frequently. That way when someone finds a solution to a problem (maybe with help of email lists/forums) they can post it as a FAQ for all.
The more task based documentation can then be authored traditionally and then published on-line. on-line manuals such as PHP break everything down into sections and allow people to comment of them. These comments can then be incorporated in the next version where appropriate.
As for he techie geto, I think it exists for lots of different reasons - like not a lot of people (and far less techies) really enjoy writing documentation - it simply ant cool;) It is in fact a good thing for those who are getting paid to be directed towards. I wonder if there are any technical authors being employed by Ubuntu.
>>> Karsten Fischer <kfischer at bfki.net> 09/29/04 12:04pm >>>
Am 29.09.2004 um 11:56 schrieb Benjamin Edwards:
> I totally agree about the documentation side of things and would be
> willing to help out. Documentation, especially for non-technical
> people, seems to be a general short falling im Linux.
> I think one of the keys to this is good on-line authoring tools. Wiki
> is great but lacks structure/has the topology of assembly language. I
> have been working for a while on structured CMS solutions and think
> this is the way to go. What I would like to see is stuff like a FAQ
> module written for something like zoops, myphpwebsite or the cms used
> for Ubuntu.
Don't know if I get you right - but then I never thought about using an
on-line tool. See, I just finished a screenplay I was writing for some
time, so I thought of using something like OpenOffice for writing and
then some magic to convert the documents to an more appropriate format.
After writing some 120.000 words, things like spellchecking is to be
regarded as god-sent :)
Perhaps it might be possible to combine both of it, I gather that OO is
using XML for storing its contents, so it should be possible to use
> Some of my inspiration for this comes from a book (not sure if it is
> still in print) called 'Red Hat Linux for Small Business'. This book
> was task based (i.e. setting up a mailserver) and was pragmatic rather
> than technical. In other words it gave you just enough technical info
> so you knew what you wanted to do for the task in hand and avoided
> asking you to read 3 other technical documents. This type of
> documentation may involve repetition but having everything in a walk
> through type document is very good for non-technical/newbees.
Yes, indeed. It could also be linked to the technical documentation if
someone wants to dig deeper - after all, the documentation is
> I recently had what could only be described as an argument with
> someone on a Linux list. There comment 'Linux is not meant to be a
> walk in the park' sums up the attitude of a lot of the Linux
> community. I muted that 'Walk in the Park' was a good name for a
> distribution and they thought this was a very bad idea. In fact it
> seems Ubuntu is becoming the 'Walk in the Park' distribution ;).
> It all ended up with me saying:-
> "It is my belief that the main barrier to Linux becoming more widely
> used is the belief by techies that computers should be difficult to
> use and that strait-forward and easy are uncool ;-)."
> Strangely enough it all went quiet after that and I did not get a lift
> to the next lug meeting, they do strangely however seem quite
> interested in Ubuntu.
There may be a grain of truth in that. Taking pride in mastering the
unknown depths of Linux - and making sure it remains that way. But I
guess there are definitely more people out there who just want to use
their machine, regardless of its OS.
>>>> Karsten Fischer <kfischer at bfki.net> 09/28/04 06:27pm >>>
> Am 28.09.2004 um 15:38 schrieb Benjamin Edwards:
>> Not sure wether a 'usibility' study is really possible using a beta
>> release of a distribution that is months old against a very mature
>> release. What you say is in fact fairly encoraging.
> You are right, of course. But I did hope to pinpoint some of the points
> which I regard as show-stoppers for any user not familiar with Linux
> and it way of getting things done the linux-way.
>> Although due to standardisation it is a lot easier to get a
>> distribution working on Mac I suspect since the number of mac users is
>> smaller, the platform more expensive and the fact that it already has
>> a mature *nix initialy most of the activity will be on x86.
> Granted. Though I think the whole idea should be: as usable as
> possible, regardless of the hardware. This is, of course, much easier
> said than done :)
> But Ubuntu is - in my humble opinion - the distribution which might
> achieve this goal, hopefully. It's definitely a bright outlook.
>> What I would be interested to know is wether there is anything about
>> ubuntu you prefer to OS X.
> In fact, I do enjoy using Ubuntu very much. It's feel is quite unique.
> It has the speed (of the GUI) of OS9 mixed with the versatility and
> stability of Unix. It's potential is quite amazing. I can easily
> imagine myself deleting the rest of OS X - not yet, but somewhere in
> the future. The GUI is pretty easy to understand, lean, nothing to
> worry about. I even like the Application-Menu a lot, it gives you all
> your needed apps in one place. The difference between desktop-settings
> and system-settings seems to be very strange. Most surprising: all the
> stuff you have at hand, by having one (1) CD installed. Thats just
> great. With the software included in the very first beta-release
> anybody which survived installation (scnr :) could do all the common
> daily work. Well, that is: apart from developers, but thats not my
> concern :)
> I do look forward to the more recent releases. I guess most of my
> hardware-related issues will be solved someday, so there is one major
> point which remains: documentation.
> I myself am willing to write down a white-paper for a
> documentation-project which - hopefully - will help creating a
> Ubuntu-specific documentation (open for others as well) for the system
> and its main features. I seriously think that the lack of user-specific
> documentation (read: understandable documentation, means: If you never
> had any idea that there might be something like 'mount' and you read
> the man-page by accident you might guess what I am referring to. It's a
> proper, even excellent, explanation but a technical one) is a key
> feature for the success of any OS.
>> It would be cool it you could put some of this stuff into bugzilla.
> As soon as I get home from holidays and I can use my modem for faxing
> only, I will.
>>>>> Karsten Fischer <kfischer at bfki.net> 09/28/04 02:23pm >>>
>> Caveats in UBUNTU (or, more precise, UBUNU & Gnome & Debian)
>> First off all, UBUNTU seems pretty stable and easy to use. Compliments
>> to the developers.
>> Still, comparing the Desktop-Usability of UBUNTU with the only other
>> Desktop-Unix (OS X)available, Ubuntu stays at the second place.
>> Granted, UBUNTU runs on three different platforms: the x86-Family,
>> AMD64 and PowerPC (up to G5); whereas OS X runs only on the PowerPC.
>> Nevertheless, it is after all possible to produce a Unix-based
>> which is easy to use, needs barely knowledge of computers to set it
>> or to maintain it. With this example in mind, Ubuntu should strive to
>> reach a similar goal.
>> The current problems seem to be mostly GNOME-related, with only a few
>> but extremly annoying bugs in the underlying system. I tried to
>> them into the following categories: Platform-specific,
>> Desktop-Specific, OS-Specific.
>> Now, let the list begin:
>> Platform: PowerPC (iBook G3, summer 2003, 800 Mhz G3, 640 MB RAM)
>> OS-Specific: While running on Battery-Power, Ubuntu seems to drain the
>> battery almost twice as fast as OS X; CPU is running at 400 Mhz as
>> would in OS X, but this doesn't seem to have any dramatic influence
>> battery-usage. Way to go there...
>> OS-Specific: the modem is neither detected nor is any software
>> installed (using the Desktop-install) for the use of it. Very
>> interesting, since nearly any Mac produced in the last three to four
>> years seems to have a modem. Internet via Modem as well as Fax should
>> be installed as default I think.
>> Desktop-Specific: My Digital camera (a no-name brand which identifies
>> itself as USB-Mass storage) seems to be detected, I even get a dialog
>> which states that there seem to be pictures on it and if I would like
>> to copy them to the computer great. Unfortunately, in the next
>> I am asked to select my camera, since there seems to be no camera
>> connected to my computer. Regardless which camera I choose, I
>> import any pictures of it.
>> Desktop-Specific: The Keyboard doesn't work as anticipated. After a
>> long, long time of fiddling with it I came up with a work-around:
>> time I log in, I open a terminal and issue the following command
>> 'xmodmap -e *keycode 64=Mode_switch', after which I can use the
>> Option-Key to generate things like the '@'-smybol using the
>> Apple-default Option-l. This seems to be a minor bug, but pretty
>> annoying and is probably fixed in the latest builds. By the way: it
>> seems that the default buttons for closing a window (which seems to
>> in most cases the same as closing the application) is something
>> strange and should set to the default Command-W and Command-Q
>> Platform: any
>> Desktop-Specific: Documentation. This is a simple topic: there is
>> almost none of it. When I pressed the Help-Button, loacted
>> in the Menubar (called 'Panel' here, which may be more appropriate
>> since every app seems to have its own Menu sticking at the top of
>> window) I get an awful lot of documentation, but in fact hardly
>> anything usable. Especially since I selected German as my default
>> language but the Help System is always English. What I expected
>> probably most users of Ubuntu would be an introduction to the OS,
>> perhaps a chapter *Differences to Windows & OS X, several guides
>> *How to connect to the Internet, Printing, Faxing & Scanning, How to
>> set up your local Network and so on. And I would prefer a native
>> Unsure: I greatly appreciate OpenOffice, but there seems no way to get
>> Spellchecking to work.
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