[Media] 8.04 Servers - Wikipedia

Bo Grimes boslists at gmail.com
Sat Oct 18 16:39:47 UTC 2008


On Sat, 18 Oct 2008, Dotan Cohen wrote:


> While I love debian-user, they still are very short-tempered with
> regard to RTFMs and hand-holding. Actually, that's he reason that l
> love that list. It is on a higher competency level than ubuntu-users

I hate to perpetuate this thread, but I came to Linux as a complete newbie 
around 1998, and when I say complete I mean I have no background, training 
or education in computers.  Still don't.  I was dwan to the philosophy and 
freedom of open source.

That said, though, I also wanted to actually learn and master the OS to a 
reasonable extent.  I do not have time to learn anything about the kernel, 
though I have compiled my own.  The recent thread on JFS was beyond me, 
but I enjoyed reading it.

So, wanting to master Linux to a reasonable extent for a non-professional, 
I really do try to solve my own problems.  I don't want to be given a 
script or a command and just execute it.  I want to understand why, again, 
within reason given the bounds of my life.

However, there often comes a time when I just can't find it, or what I do 
find by way of help doesn't make sense.  What it still boils down to is 
that we learn best by doing under the supervision of a 
teacher/mentor/coach.

Each and every person who has ever replied RTFM has at many some point had 
many someones teach him.  I understand the frustration of those who try to 
teach those who don't want to learn.  You see, I am a teacher.  However, 
what is also a problem is when those who understand think something in the 
manual is clear when it isn't.

I could elaborate but we can all think of examples from economics, 
science, history, grammar or auto repair to illustrate how what one person 
thinks has been explained perfectly is really a mystery to other equally 
intelligent people.

There are those who think "Well, if you don't understand the command line 
use Windows," or "If you don't understand how to replace a master brake 
cylinder take it to a mechanic."

I don't agree.  I replaced my first master brake cylinder last weekend 
with lots manual reading, but when I got stuck or confused I asked my 
neighbor who's a mechanic and who patiently helped elevate my understanding 
to the point that next time I will be able to do it better, and, 
eventually, one day I will be able to help others.

You see I do not want to be an atomized man.  I do not want to be my job. 
Take for example a doctor who is an excellent doctor, but someone else 
landscapes his yard and another grows his food and another fixes his cars 
and another teaches his children and another cleans his house.  Of course 
we all have to depend on others, but I want, in as much as is reasonable 
and possible, to be integrated.  I want to understand the tools I use be 
it hammer or operating system.  I even want to understand my body and 
health so I am not at the mercy of health care professionals.

I believe that we'd all be better off if we used FOSS to a more or less 
extent, so I will try to elevate others to my level of understanding so 
that others can take them farther.  If they ask a question, if I can 
answer it I will, and I will do so in a way that tries to help them 
understand.  If I can't I won't.

What it is that to the RTFMers?  We are all idiots about something to 
someone.




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