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Re: VI, standards, politics and all that

On Sat, 7 Aug 1999, Bud Beckman wrote:

> Or assume the doc is written well enough for a newbie to undestand.

That's true. I was thinking from the point of view of writing new docs

> >Don't assume that the user knows what X is.
> Or how to install it.

Since I don't use any distribution I don't know what the "usual" way is, but
installing X from source is really easy. Extract the archive, "make World",
"make install" and that's about it (if I remember correctly).

> They should be cautioned to read a doc on vi beforehand.

Or just keep them away from it - which is what started this thread ;)

Personally I think that if this distribution is targeting "my mother" then
VI is not something they should ever have to use. Sure, include it, but
don't refer to it in documentation until they reach a "very advanced users"
chapter or something. It's just too arcane in the way it works, and
referring to it any earlier would just scare people off and make them feel

A decent X editor which looked something like Notepad would be ideal. I saw
something called TkNotepad which would have done the job except it had some

> An easily configurable ppp would do wonders. Problem is not all ISPs are
> the same. I don't know how to get around this.

Microsoft seem to manage with their dial-up system. I might have a go at
programming something like the Microsoft "Dial Up Networking" thing, where
if you're lucky you only have to enter the phone number of your ISP. If
you're unlucky you also have to enter gateway IPs, DNS servers, and the like
as well.

Is there not a GUI like this already around for Linux? What is kppp like?
Someone mentioned wxppp or something as well? Or do all of these assume you
know what PPP means, for a start - ie they're still "technical user" level?

> A step by step instruction kit.

Exactly - like the HOWTOs, but even simpler and for simpler tasks.

I would envision a small app on the desktop with a little box for entering
queries in, and a drop-down box selecting what kind of question you're

  * How Do I..?
  * What Does <something> Mean..?

You then type your query, it searches the database, and pops up a viewer
containing the matches - perhaps using Netscape or something to allow the
documentation to be in HTML.

If people agree that this is a good idea (and it's not Been Done Before),
then I will start programming it and also start collecting questions and
answers for its database.

- Andrew

PS - Bud, you were talking about programming a little and getting negative
     responses or requests for additions, and having to go through 1000
     lines of code. Think yourself lucky to get any response - I don't
     usually get any response at all, and one of my projects that DOES get
     suggestions is around 17000 lines of code :(
     Feel better now? ;)