Re: mailing lists, books, and FAQs

Subject: Re: mailing lists, books, and FAQs
From: Hollis R Blanchard (
Date: Wed Apr 11 2001 - 12:16:19 MDT

On Wed, 11 Apr 2001, Donn Tarris wrote:
> What kind of exchanges do you wish to see on this list? Without seeing
> faces or hearing tones of voice, it's hard to tell whether or not you
> appreciate being asked what may appear to be "lame" questions on the
> list...

I can't tell if this is directed at me personally, but if it is then I can
say that I like answering "new" questions (the icmp spoofing message yesterday
was refreshing), and I don't mind answering "old" questions as long as the
questioner has demonstrated sufficient effort in trying to find the answer
themselves. That might seem wrong on the face of it, but it's far too easy for
everyone to fire off every question to a list, overwhelming the people who are
able and willing to answer.

OTOH, when people say "this archived email message says A, but I found this
web page that says B", that indicates a genuine conflict that the questioner
is understandably unable to resolve on their own. I think everyone respects
that; no one knows everything (especially not at first ;).

Emailing a question without prior research concentrates the load on a few,
which is not a viable system. Distributing the load to the "many" - even if
each of the "many" suffer more load than the "few" would have for a given
question - works.

I don't think I'm saying anything new; I think most mailing lists use this
system implicitly.

> support for new users on the PPC Mac specifically is hard to
> find, and I've found that the generic linux information available on the
> internet often doesn't apply to the PPC, or I don't have enough
> knowledge to be able to affect the workarounds/modifications to make
> things work - case in point the downloads available for the open
> StarOffice release 5.xx.

Yes, this can certainly be a problem.

> I've now put a lot of hours into unstructured
> (learn as my needs dictate from moment to moment) education of the linux
> environment, but again, not many books available that are specific to
> YDL or the PPC, at least not in the book stores around my area. Most of
> the library books are older releases of general Unix and Linux.

Books on Red Hat Linux will be mostly-applicable. Chapters covering lilo can
be skipped (obviously), and details may slightly vary, but the concepts should
all be the same. For your reference, LPPC 2000 Q4 and CS 1.2.1 (which came out
nearly a year before it ;) are both based on Red Hat 6.2. YDL 2 is/will be
somewhere between Red Hat 7.0 and 7.1.

> I do want to thank you for your time and efforts on this list. One thing
> I would find helpful would be an on-line database that allows easy
> searches for strings, ie. something set up in FileMaker Pro linked to
> the internet that would field the questions and responses so that it
> would be easier to look back. This may make it easier for you when you
> find yourself being asked questions you asked the week before...

Massive FAQ's have been proposed and tried. It seems to have worked in the
past for Usenet, but I haven't been part of a mailing list that's been able to
pull it off. I don't know why that is; maybe it's us MTV-generationers that
lack the attention span. :)

Quite a few people have put together limited pages answering a particular
problem. Others have written "here's how I did it on my machine" pages. To my
knowledge no site links to any large number of PPC Linux personal pages.
Anyone know of any? Donn, you may be looking for this sort of directory.

(If you have had a PPC-specific problem and have written up the solution,
email me at and I can try to integrate it into the
support pages. I'm less interested in "this is what I did to my machine"
because those tend to be specific directions that don't explain general
problems, and so are too limited in the audience that can use them. As you
might imagine, recently all of us have been much more busy finishing a product
than finding problems/solutions to document.)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2a24 : Wed Apr 11 2001 - 12:19:49 MDT