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SEUL: Re: Networking proposals second version.
> As far as the documentation on that website, it's damn near unusable.
> Ever see new users that can't find the information they're looking for
> in a manual because they don't have any idea of what sort of term to
> look up? It's the same thing with that documentation. I know what I
> want to accomplish, but with all the gobbledy-gook in that text, it's
> impossible to tell what I need to put into /etc/sendmail.cf to get it
> to work.
This is one of the biggest hurdles we have to overcome in order to get Linux
into the hands of end-users. I have some ideas myself on some serious search
tools designed to work from almost nothing, so that someone with not the
slightest clue where to start can at least do a reasonable search for what
they need. It would use document meta-information to provide context and
topic-based groupings that someone could browse through and likely find what
they need. I have to think about this a lot more before I can write up an
outline of it. When I do, it'll be on www.seul.org somewhere.
> So where does that leave the new user? Stuck with an MTA that doesn't
> do what they need out of the box, incomplete documentation, and a
> config file that is way over their head. The "guru" advice to these
> new users to "buy the bat book" is overkill for a home user.
Quite. I just now got the bat book (for Christmas), and I've been doing
sendmail for quite a while now. I'm no guru, but I know what I'm doing. I
actually hesitated to get it for that very reason. It's a reference book,
and it could be useful, but do I really need to spend $50 on a book for a
simple home system???
> My point is this: why not have a bit of empathy with these new users?
> If there's a plain and simple way to get Sendmail to work the way that
> most of us ISP users need it to work, why not make the information
> BOLDLY available so that we're not scratching our heads trying to
> get it to work. In the end, you'll gain not only a happy Linux user,
> but a happy Sendmail user as well.
Internet services like mail and news are going to be one of the most
interesting parts of the project I'm heading, SEUL (Simple End-User Linux).
Check out www.seul.org for more info, though it's still a pretty measly site
(I haven't gotten around to beefing it up quite yet, hopefully next week).
The goal (as far as mail goes) is to get things set up so that a user can get
online in whatever setup they have. We are developing a help system (which
will hopefully include powerful searching features as alluded to above),
which might possibly act as an administrative system as well. This would
allow us to create quite a number of pages for sendmail configs. A set of
pages set up with links kinda like those make-your-own-story books that point
you to the right config page or a slight modifications thereof, and you're
set. Or something like that.
There is much to be though about when developing something like this. As the
home or office user is the primary target of the SEUL project, we have formed
a group of various types of end users (mostly scientists right now, with a
few home users thrown in), which we intend to question thoroughly about what
they want from a computer system. This will eventually turn into some
serious beta testing, where we'll learn if we're doing it right and if not
what we need to change.
We will be doing a second announce on SEUL and first for the 'focus group'
within a couple weeks, so stay tuned to your nearest source of good
information (this list will be one, I think).
Erik Walthinsen - SEUL Project infrastructure/system architecture
/ \ firstname.lastname@example.org Work: (503)578-5314
| | M E G A email@example.com Home: (503)281-4281
_\ /_ firstname.lastname@example.org Majoring in CS
SEUL: Simple End-User Linux - creating a Linux distribution
http://www.seul.org/ for the average home/office user