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Thread: Ideas and Plans for Improving Ubuntu Documentation

  1. #111
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Beans
    5

    Re: Poor documentation on the main website should be addressed

    confused57, thank you very much for taking the time to investigate my claim. Once you get the the Documentation page it's not clear which link will take you to the install guide.


    I really do think ubuntu is special, and I've been using it as my desktop distro since it first came out.

    I'm hopeful that if the website is modified to make the documentation easier to find that it will help people.


    Dan


    Quote Originally Posted by confused57
    Yes, it was pretty difficult finding documentation:
    1.)Went to Ubuntu.com
    2.)Clicked on "Support"
    3.)Clicked on "Documentation"
    4.)Clicked on "User Documentation"
    Then there was documentation in "Start Here", which included how to burn
    an iso, etc.

    I guess it needs to be easier.
    Last edited by dmann; July 3rd, 2006 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #112
    wpshooter is offline Ubuntu addict and loving it
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Beans
    3,581
    Distro
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: Poor documentation on the main website should be addressed

    Quote Originally Posted by dmann
    Dear dmann:

    Thank you for doing that. That is what I was going to suggest that you do.

    I don't think you have and will get much support for your type of suggestion on this forum. Many posters here seem to be sort of satisfied with the status quo.

    Most of the posters here are to young to remember the days when companies like IBM wrote hard bound paper documentations of all of their various o/s platforms as well as their applications (and no, I am not suggesting that anyone offer paper copies of their documentation) that were arranged in a heircharical order that made logical sense to anyone from the most elementary of computer users to the most advanced systems analyst. Let me note that the only other software developer that I ever saw that took pains similar to IBMs in documenting their software was a company called PDS (Parameter Driven Software) that developed accounting software packages for Unix based systems back in the early to mid 1980s.

    Back in the old days of programming there used to be a theory in writing software and documentation for that software that was referred to as "the top down theory".

    Somewhere along the way this great form of writing software and the supporting documentation was lost/abandoned (WHAT A SHAME).

    Therefore, now most all of computer related software, etc. including internet website development has degenerated into a very poor shadow of the care and extreme thought that used to go into the computer software development process.

    However for your comfort, let me say that I strongly believe that the developers of Ubuntu will eventually get around to doing a better/more logical/proper flowing documentation scheme for their O/S. Keep bugging them about it to see if we can speed up the process.

    Thanks for your concern and good thought processes.

  3. #113
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    N.C.
    Beans
    4,796
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Poor documentation on the main website should be addressed

    Quote Originally Posted by dmann
    confused57, thank you very much for taking the time to investigate my claim. Once you get the the Documentation page it's not clear which link will take you to the install guide.


    I really do think ubuntu is special, and I've been using it as my desktop distro since it first came out.

    I'm hopeful that if the website is modified to make the documentation easier to find that it will help people.


    Dan
    dmann, you do have a good point that it should be made as easy as possible for new users to find "easy to follow" instructions...it might not be so intuitive for absolute beginners to know which links to click first, it'll definitely take a little "trial & error".

  4. #114
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    London, UK
    Beans
    49

    Feedback on the documentation website

    Hi all,

    Recently the community contributed documentation was moved onto its own wiki on the documentation website. I'm interested in hearing your feedback about how the site could be improved, in terms of usability, look, and so on.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Matt

  5. #115
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    London, UK
    Beans
    49

    Re: Feedback on the documentation website

    No replies in 4 days? That's terrible, c'mon let's hear your thoughts.

  6. #116
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Granada, Spain
    Beans
    224
    Distro
    Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: Feedback on the documentation website

    Quote Originally Posted by mattheweast View Post
    No replies in 4 days? That's terrible, c'mon let's hear your thoughts.
    I think it's pretty good right now. Don't would change anything so far
    Benedikt Bär - www.relamp.tk
    WARNING: Some commands can be harmful when executed, especially the ones starting with "rm". If you are in doubt what a certain command will do, please ask other members first before executing!

  7. #117
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
    Beans
    15
    Distro
    Ubuntu 6.06

    The Trouble With Linux

    I was getting tired of Win98 deteriorating over time and having to reinstall it every year to get the bugs out. But I've been trying for a week, nearly 10 hours a day, to make the switch to Ubuntu, and I have just about reached my limit for continual frustration.

    The install was flawless, and the ease with which I could replace Office was encouraging. My real problem was a couple of Windows applications that I really needed to bring with me. So much of the last week has been spent on trying to get some form of virtual maching working. I've tried several. And nearly everything I've tried to do has required literally hours of combing the internet for scraps of information.

    The problem with Linux ?

    #1. Documentation
    I expected a learning curve, but this is insane. There are two forms. One is written by kindergarten teachers and tells me absolutely nothing. The other is written by hackers and can only be understood by experineced hackers. Trying to learn this stuff is like moving to Zimbabwe and picking up the language. If Linux proponents really want to compete with Windows, someone needs to write some decent bridge material in real English.

    #2. Forums
    When people ask a sensible question like, "How do I transfer files between the Host and a VM Guest?" they get answers like "just install widget bubba with the thingamabob and configure it to meet your needs". Why do you do that?

    #3. Attitude
    Whenever someone levels a critique of Linux, the responses are usually one of the following:
    a. It's free ... what did you expect?
    b. Did you think it would be easy?
    c. Microsoft sucks too
    This leads me to believe that most Linux users must be in the 7th grade. Which explains the documentation problem mentioned earlier. The point is that Linux attempts to be a viable alternative to Windows. It certainly has that potential. What is lacking is not more development ... it is already a great system. What it needs is a more learner-friendly environment. Having the best system in the world is a useless accomplishment if the average person is unable to use it.

    It doesn't have to be this hard.

  8. #118
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Beans
    151

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    You know you'll probably get flamed like a mofo, but I agree with alot of what you're saying. It's true.

    what windows apps are you having trouble with?

  9. #119
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    US
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by David TAkle View Post
    #1. Documentation
    I expected a learning curve, but this is insane. There are two forms. One is written by kindergarten teachers and tells me absolutely nothing. The other is written by hackers and can only be understood by experineced hackers. Trying to learn this stuff is like moving to Zimbabwe and picking up the language. If Linux proponents really want to compete with Windows, someone needs to write some decent bridge material in real English.
    As someone who writes documentation and used to teach high school English, I'm interested in what you would consider "decent bridge material." Do you have some examples you could link to of what "decent bridge material" is (doesn't have to be for Linux--any kind of software-related documentation will do)?

    Can you also provide examples of the kindergarten/hacker tutorials you've come across?

    There's generally a sense in the documentation arena that if you don't like the way it's being done, improve it. Simply saying it is bad doesn't really help. Criticism has to be specific to make change, and even better than criticism is inspiration--write some good documentation yourself. You'd be surprised at how much you know.

    #2. Forums
    When people ask a sensible question like, "How do I transfer files between the Host and a VM Guest?" they get answers like "just install widget bubba with the thingamabob and configure it to meet your needs". Why do you do that?
    I guess people figure if you know how to do VM stuff that you are savvy enough to install widget bubba with the thingamabob. If you don't understand, just ask for more details, "I'm sorry. That may be a good solution, but I have no idea what you just said. Can you give me a step by step of how to do that? I'm kind of a new user. Thanks." You'll find people on these forums will be quite accommodating to that kind of request expressed in that fashion.

    #3. Attitude
    Whenever someone levels a critique of Linux, the responses are usually one of the following:
    a. It's free ... what did you expect?
    b. Did you think it would be easy?
    c. Microsoft sucks too
    Those are three typical responses, but there are d. and e. and f. and all the way to z. probably. My response is "quit whining and do something about it."

    And, in all fairness, the people who level "critiques" of Linux in these forums tend to have a pretty 7th grade attitude themselves. Rarely do you get a mature and even-handed critique. It's usually vitriolic flamebait. Read some examples here.
    Last edited by aysiu; August 17th, 2006 at 07:37 AM.

  10. #120
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Beans
    6,040

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    Trying to learn this stuff is like moving to Zimbabwe and picking up the language. If Linux proponents really want to compete with Windows, someone needs to write some decent bridge material in real English.
    Like this? Or this, or this? There's plenty of it, and when you can't find the help you're looking for in prewritten documents, there's the forums and mailing lists and IRC channels full of people more than willing to help you with specific problems.
    When people ask a sensible question like, "How do I transfer files between the Host and a VM Guest?" they get answers like "just install widget bubba with the thingamabob and configure it to meet your needs". Why do you do that?
    Maybe because that's what you should do to transfer files? If that's too vague for and you can't figure out what exactly to do, what the next steps you should be, you can always ask further. Did you?
    Whenever someone levels a critique of Linux, the responses are usually one of the following:
    a. It's free ... what did you expect?
    This is just plain wrong. I've been on these forums for more than a year and I don't remember seeing this attitude even once. You may have seen it elsewhere; you won't see it here.
    b. Did you think it would be easy?
    Did you? You're learning to use a new operating system. You should expect a few stumbling blocks at best.
    c. Microsoft sucks too
    I don't see this given as an excuse for the shortcomings of Ubuntu / Linux here. We do have many people who think Microsoft products suck, along with many who are quite happy with them, but "Windows isn't any better" isn't really put forward as an excuse for Ubuntu's shortcomings.
    This leads me to believe that most Linux users must be in the 7th grade.
    You're wrong, we have people from all age groups.
    Which explains the documentation problem mentioned earlier.
    It doesn't, obviously, and many people will take this as an offensive statement.
    Having the best system in the world is a useless accomplishment if the average person is unable to use it.
    It's not; averaging our endeavors solely to account for the criteria of the "average person", whoever they may be, will confine us to endless mediocrity, but in complete disregard of that fact, we have tens of thousands of non-technical users enjoying Ubuntu. Imagine yourself as an exception rather than a base for generalization for a moment.
    It doesn't have to be this hard.
    It's not too hard. Stick around, read some docs, ask questions (no matter how naive; they'll be welcome) and chances are you'll get it.
    Last edited by 23meg; August 17th, 2006 at 11:10 PM.
    Previously known as 23meg

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