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Thread: Ideas and Plans for Improving Ubuntu Documentation

  1. #121
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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    885
    Distro
    Xubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    #1. Documentation

    a. Until Ubuntu/Canonical can afford to divert precious resources to documentation, what we can hope for is for the number volunters to write the documentation to increase.

    b. If you have any specific and constructive ideas, critism, comments on the documentation. Feel free to share that with the documenatation team. Better yet, when you have gained enough skill in Ubuntu and if you still remember this frustration, join the Ubuntu documentation team later on and start contributing to improve the documentation for future users.

    c. Hope and pray more people or company will go for the paid support for Ubuntu so that there will be more resources to be spread around areas such as hiring professional writers to write the documentation. Better yet, start introducing Ubuntu to companies that you know that are willing to pay for the official support and start the ball rolling.


    #2. Forums

    Have you been to any other forums besides Ubuntuforums? That might give you a different perspective on the friendliness or lack-of-friendliness here.

    Paid fulltime customer support staff may have the luxury to hand hold you all the way. But for a volunter who's actually doing some other work or studying for some midterm, it's kind of selfish to be asking for more.

    To be honest this is one of the most (if not the most) friendly volunter-run support forum I have ever seen.


    #3. Attitude

    The problem with introducing new things (ideas, methods and etc) is not the new ideas itself, but getting out or throwing away the old ideas or ways of doing things.

    Being raised since early childhood with MS-DOS, Win 3.11 till Win XP... I feel your pain. It sucks when you have to UNLEARN the old ways and relearn something new.

    But trust me, at the end of the day... the feeling of satisfaction and comfort of using this gem of an OS is well worth the price of jumping across some hoops

  2. #122
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    US
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    Looking at your posting history, I don't see what right you have to complain.

    adding/removing software:
    You asked a question, got two responses within an hour. Three hours later, you asked a follow-up question, and got another response within the hour. No one in that thread acted like a 7th grader. No one used complicated lingo or terminal commands.

    Where to Post questions ??:
    You asked a question and got two responses within a day (possibly within the hour, I can't tell since it was three weeks ago). No one used any complicated jargon or technical terms. You asked where to post questions about VMWare, and people told you.

    Where are authentication Keys ?:
    You seemed to get quite a few responses. mlind, in post #8, addresses a bunch of your questions specifically, and then after three weeks, you never followed up to say whether things worked out for you or not.

    HowTo: Windows (XP) on Ubuntu with VMWare Server:
    You said
    What happened to this issue ??
    I've got basically the same problems and I cannot find any cures.
    #1 problem: How can I move files between UBUNTU host and Win98 Guest ?? Seems to me this would be one of the main reasons for running a VM and there ought to be a way.
    Someone else replied (again, within the hour)
    i simply made a share folder in my ubuntu, and axs it via the network in the windowsXP i installed in vmware. pretty simple --hope this helps.
    You replied
    Just creates more questions....
    1. How do I create a shared folder in ubuntu
    2. How do I use the network (Win9 to access shared folders on the system?
    And that was an hour ago with no response. An hour ago.

    So what were the big words that were too hard to understand? I think axs was intended to be shorthand (like IM-speak) for access. Nevertheless, you did the right thing by asking how to create a shared folder, and someone will probably respond to you eventually. It's been an hour.

    As someone else mentioned before, this is a volunteer forum. Volunteers are any random user who happen to have internet access and signs up for these forums. You're actually quite lucky to be getting the kind of support you're getting right now!

    If you want better support, pay Canonical for it.
    Last edited by aysiu; August 17th, 2006 at 07:49 AM.

  3. #123
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    31

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    I've found the posts in this forum very easy to follow and the language used to describe the processes involed neither childish or too technical. So far I have managed to install and set up drivers for my Nvidia card, drivers for my Dell printer(lexmark ones (never would have worked that out if not for this forum))all codecs needed to play my mp3 files and all types of DVD and video files. Have installed XGL-compiz which worked perfectly first time through threads in this forum. I would like to thank everone that puts there time and effort into this forum for making Linux easier to set up for NOOBs like me. Like Ubuntu so much that I have torched Windows all together and am now running a fully linux box. Thanks again peoples

  4. #124
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    May 2005
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    It's funny--it was Ubuntu's forums and documentation that drew me to Ubuntu.

    I was previously using Mepis, which I still think is technically "better" for new users (has more GUI frontends for things and proprietary codecs preinstalled). Mepis' users weren't that knowledgeable, though, and the documentation for Mepis was scant.

    Once I stumbled upon http://www.ubuntuguide.org, I was a near convert. It was the forums here (the ones we're posting on right now) that made me a full Ubuntu convert.

    People here were knowledgeable and friendly. And I even grew to appreciate terminal commands, as I could just copy and paste them into the terminal and have stuff happen.

    Don't be fooled by my bean count (which just means I post a lot). I've been using Linux only a year and four months, Ubuntu only a year and three months, and I do not have a background in computer science. Somehow, with the documentation and users here, I managed to get everything up and running just the way I like it.

  5. #125
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Oxfordshire UK
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    335
    Distro
    Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    I understand the frustration expressed by David TAkle, but I think it needs a little perspective.

    He has installed a new operating system, and it all works fine apparently, out of the box. He then wants to run software designed & coded for a completely different operating system. As a 20+ year IT veteran, it isn't surprising to me that its complicated - its surprising that you can do it at all. And for free (minus some time invested).

    It also seems to me that Cannonical charge less for support, including telephone support, than some others do just to buy the bare OS.

    As my mother would say, sometimes we need to count our blessings before complaining about the small stuff.

  6. #126
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Pasadena, CA
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    15
    Distro
    Ubuntu 6.06

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    It's been interesting to see the responses ....

    As for the documentation issue, to be fair, the stuff I've seen on the Ubuntu help site is actually quite good. It is written at a reasonable level, and it's only real shortcoming is that it is just scratching the surface of what needs to be covered. I expect that time will make a difference. I haven't had time to browse the Wiki site, but that might have the best promise, provided the technical terms get properly indexed in each article, so that people can pick and choose what they need more info about.

    The problem about people having time to document really did not need to be pointed out, esp. comments like "if you don't like it then write it yourself". That was a prime example of what I was trying to point out, and actually helps to make my case. That it is difficult to write good documentation is no mystery. My point still stands that without the necessary documentation, the Linux community will be restricted to the very few who are determined to do the tremendous effort it currently takes to learn this stuff. Broader appeal will require better communication. As for contributing, I'm afraid that after a couple weeks of frustration I can barely retrace my steps and in some cases I'm no longer sure which things fixed my problems. To write something useful, I'd have to start over with a new installation and work thru it again. Not likely. The community would be better served by someone who actually understands this thing.

    As for attempting to analyze my experience by examining my other posts, your logic escapes me, and your reply is a waste of forum space. About 99% of my issues were resolved by hard work and a ton of Google attempts (since the documentation was too limited).
    The replies I received were not really very informative or helpful in any real sense. Since most of the problems I have had seemed like they should be common, I tried not to repeat questions that someone else probably asked.

    Intersting that several replies here have brought up the issue of cost. I think I predicted that when I began this thread. It's really not relevent. You missed my point. I think open source is a great concept. I think what has been accomplished so far with Linux is nothing short of amazing. It's just so damn hard to learn! And attempting to learn the basics in piece-meal fashion by poking around forums is really quite unproductive. If 80% of the people have to ask the same question in order to use their system effectively, then it says something about the documentation, does it not ???

    Oh ... and contrary to several of you, the difficulty has nothing whatever to do with unlearning Windows. I was programming computers ten years before DOS hit the market. I've had to do a ton of learning over the years. In this industry about the time you become proficient at something it becomes obsolete. So re-learning is really not the barrier. It's the sheer lack of well-written guides. Some of you may have had to unlearn windows because you thought it was synonomous with computers, but that's not always the case.

    BTW. You wanted an example of Kindergarten documentation. I was referring to "Linux for Dummies" and those sorts of aids.

    Anyway, it's been fun. My basic point still stands. THis is a great system. But that doen't matter if the barriers to learning it are too great. I look forward to the day when it is possible to pick this up without quite so many headaches.

  7. #127
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    UK
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    155
    Distro
    Dapper Drake Testing/

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    If you were a programmer you should ber used to some tasks, to me it seems you're bitching i'm afraid.
    Sure some do attack Microsoft but you don't think they don't attack the linux community? Get real and grow up its swings and round abouts.

    How often do you see documention about creating themes for windows, you don't
    If you're using gnome you can actually get involved.
    Yes you do have to unlearn windows a bit no matter what you say.
    Your comments have been somewhat rude and total flamebait.
    Its going to take sometime getting use to things just remember that stick to the wikis they are useful
    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    I think that ms's future will be a drunken and down-on-his-luck Steve Balmer on a beach somewhere in South America or the far east, trying to convince bored american tourists that he used to be important.

  8. #128
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Beans
    709
    Distro
    Ubuntu 6.06

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    You just kind of ignored all the points made by asyui and others.... Im still not sure how you spent "a week, nearly 10 hours a day" and didnt find what you needed. 75% of my problems are solved by searching the forums, I've had more hurdles to get by than you looking at your posts. The other 20% are solved by IRC, wiki, and of course posting on these very helpful forums. Don't give up, we're not trying to run you out here. Take your time with it and it will be fine.

  9. #129
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,979
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    I'm sorry, but after reading some of your posts, pointed out by aysiu, you just seem to be as pig-ignorant as the linux fanboys you complain about. You get answers to your questions, and you either don't reply, or you do, with more questions, often seemingly unrelated, or far too advanced to matter for your problem. In one such case, you ask why something is working! Why does it matter? It just is. If you want to know why something's working, download the source code and pick through it yourself. Linux is different from Windows, ok? You can't expect to just jump in and be doing everything right from a base install, and I'm sorry, but if you can't figure something out as simple as the differences between 'Add/Remove Programs' and 'Synaptic', and why those differences exist, then really, you may be out of your depth here. It's fairly easy to understand that one is more powerful, hence more dangerous, to your system than the other. That's why Synaptic requires a password just to start up. Sure, they have a similar function, but so does DOS and the linux terminal. They both look the same to the average guy/girl, but until you actually have a specific reason for using them, you won't understand the differences. Learning new stuff just takes time, and getting things to work may be different.

    As for your comment about people asking the same question - well, that really says more about the laziness of the people with the problem than it does about the documentation. Yes, I'm going to say 'it's free, what do you expect', because seriously, what DO you expect? Most linux distrobutions are generally a community oriented project - they don't have teams devoted to documentation and whatnot, they just have the core developers. They don't get paid for doing what they do, and so they have to have a job aswell (unless they're very very lucky). They don't have time to sit around writing manuals and all that stuff to help people out. I'm sure they'd like to, but as far as their priorities go, it's just not something that need command their time. This is why, as aysiu pointed out, that the end user should do something about it. More often than not, an ongoing, open-source project's documentation is etirely within the comments of the source code. It's easier for the devs, because they're the ones writing it, continuosly, unpaid - responding to user demands/wishes, fixing bugs, problems, streamlining the program. You can hardly blame them for not writing comprehensive, detailed documentation, particularly when the very nature of the 'open-source' means nobody really understands the whole thing 100%. Sure, it's irritating when you can't find out an answer to a problem, and yes, a lot of documentation is poorly written and generally unhelpful, but this is down to the end-user (ie, you). If you don't probe the DEVELOPERS of the program, then they won't know that you're having trouble. Once you've found your answer, write a few notes about it. They don't have to be comprehensive, just outline what you did. Send it to the developers, or stick it in their wiki. Eventually someone who DOES have the time will come along and improve on what you've contributed. Contrary to your apparant belief, the world does not revolve around you, and people have other concerns than writing documentation which suits YOUR preference. If you don't like it, improve it, and if you're not prepared to, just lump it. In Windows, you are at the mercy of closed source programs. You generally don't have the oppurtunity to improve anything if you don't like it, and you get used to pretty good documentation (in general anyway, there's obviously a few really bad examples), because the company who write the software have tons of money and time to write it. Linux doesn't. Ubuntu is lucky in that it has financial backing, and the documentation for Ubuntu is actually pretty good. Some if it sucks, yes, but on the whole, it's readable and understandable. On top of that, you have the forums for more 'live' help, and an IRC channel if you're that way inclined. What exactly is the problem then? If you're not going to make the effort to self-document, or just leave a simple thank you, or some indication that somebody's solution has actually worked, then really, how can you blame the linux community as a whole for not writing millions of pages of documentation for you?

  10. #130
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
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    467

    Re: The Trouble With Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by David TAkle
    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.
    Why dont you start writing the documentation then?
    With me i had no problems coming across documentation since there are tons of sites out there that helped me back when i was a newb to linux.Remember that Linux is different, accept change, which i did for the better, just show interest instead of just complaints.

    Quote Originally Posted by David TAkle
    #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?
    We are only trying to help you. If you dont understand there is always the beginner section. Also remember that everyone answers differently. Also the accuracy of our answers can and will increase if you can explain the software you are looking for more clearly.


    Quote Originally Posted by David TAkle
    #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.
    I always thought that the average person was a graduate from school...
    You have to get used to change, Linux is very different from Windows you know, me for example was lost in Linux and didnt know what to do. Until i came across this site. Personally i like being challenged...but maybe thats my programmers side speaking(python my lang. of choice).
    And i have to agree with C, because when i had windows 2000 i always got the blue screen of death...all the time! Even when i tried Windows XP, but with Linux, i didnt get that problem.
    Educate men without faith and you make them clever devils
    Educate men without Linux, then yeah, the opposite happens
    Let Chakra guide the way
    U.3F

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