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Re: Informal survey (was Re: Banner ads)

>>>>> "jd" == Poet/Joshua Drake <poet@linuxports.com> writes:

    jd> ... most people I talk to that are just
    jd> "hobbyists" have never heard of us.  Most new users don't even
    jd> know where the /usr/doc directory is. And even if it is listed
    jd> in the CD or Book... when was the last time you read the
    jd> instructions?

And you'd expect them to go to a Linux expo?

Seriously, if they don't read either books or docs or packaging, and they
don't use a website to search for specific component documents, and they
never use usenet or DejaNews or IRC, then how did they manage to find Linux
in the first place?

I will agree though, the /usr/doc or even the RedHat /mnt/cdrom/doc
directories are not properly announced to new users.  I'd certainly support
a stage in every Linux install that says "would you like to read 10,000 

Even in the /usr/doc and many other files sourced by the KDE Help system,
you will find ample refs to the LDP.

    jd> I disagree, it is very much an issue. IMHO the LDP has
    jd> completed it's job until it is the absolute first place that
    jd> "EVERY" person looks for documentation on Linux.

This can only happen when the website and the tools for sifting the
information are solid.  Right now, I don't ever use the LDP search page
to find docs because I get far too many false positives.  I use GOOGLE and
quite often, the doc I get is a HOWTO, usually housed on a mirror

    jd> Holding this up is the fact that in order for that to happen
    jd> we MUST have good documentation (we do) but we do not have
    jd> enough.

There's an old Joe Williams song (I think it was JW) which has a verse

        The girls call my friend Big John
        He's big as he can be
        Now Big John may be twice the size
        But he don't know as much as me

Size is not everything.  It is much more important to be able to find
what you are looking for quickly, easily and have it arrive in a
useful package.  If the LDP answers questions faster and more
precisely than any other source and delivers that information in a way
that leads people to answer their questions more efficiently than any
competing source, it will get referrals from happy customers. They
tell two friends, and they tell two friends and before long, you have
the eyeballs.  It is that simple, and in this business, there is no
other way to do it.  

    jd> O.k. you are not as far off base as I originally thought ;)

I am so far off base, I'm in the endzone (don't mind me, I am at the end
of a month of 20 hour days writing the backend for sports.cbc.ca)

I don't think I have the same personal mandate as the LDP, but I think
we have common ground.  To be upfront, my 'manifesto' is World
Domination or better put "World Liberation".  I am only committed to
getting people up to speed with GNU and Linux so they can experience
networks and computers as positive things rather than as continual
frustration, endless expense and an invariable dead-end street.

As much as it makes me a heretic, I don't really care if that means
free docs, helping publishers obtain good authors and picking apart
their manuscripts, or if it means arranging for commercial support
contracts for corporations, running a support hotline or just talking
and talking and talking until my collegues try Linux just to shut me
up (like I've been doing the past two nights with the head of ops for
a large Canadian telco) I support free docs, but I will concede they
can never be all things to all people any more than any publisher can
be all things to all people.

My manifesto is to get *everyone* I encounter to at least consider
open source where it is appropriate --- I have no mandate to refuse
non-free works because, unlike some of the luminaries, I believe our
way is inevitable and not something that needs to be 'won'.  If that
isn't totally off base, I don't know what is.

Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@linux.ca>: office voice/fax: 01 519 4222723
TCI - Business Innovations through Open Source : http://www.teledyn.com
Canadian Co-ordinators for Bynari International : http://ca.bynari.net/
Moderator, Linux Education Group: http://www.egroups.com/group/linux-ed

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