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Other BSD and UNIX/UNIX-like Any other flavour of BSD or UNIX that does not have a section of its own.

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Old 2nd June 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottro View Post
Of course, someone out of Berkeley would know that. <snicker>
I knew that and I've never been to Berkeley, but I wish I had a chemical engineering experience
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Old 3rd June 2008
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This largely depends on the distribution. I know Debian does not do it.
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Old 9th July 2008
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Sheesh, I can't even get back into Linux, ever since I started using FreeBSD. I've tried FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, and loved them all, FreeBSD the most. I haven't tried Dragonfly yet. Since then, I've tried some of the Linux distributions I've used before, and the feel bad.
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Old 10th July 2008
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I am running ubuntu on my notebook (good support of all the hardware, amd64 nvidia drivers, didn't think that *BSD would provide sufficient support (hibernation essential, for example), I was lazy), but I must say that I am constantly annoyed by the lack of good documentation. Would it kill them to, say, _write_ a _man_page!!!!!!_

And the config files are who knows where, (I'd know where if it was listed in that man page!!!) and are messed around with by various gui tools (stay _out_ of my sources.list, please!!!)

Still everything works, and it is almost a pleasure to use most of the time.
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Old 10th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corey_james View Post
yes yes this is a troll - i don't care :P

I don't use linux much ... and in fact i haven't used it in about 2 years but unfortunately been required in the last week or two to do some poking.

I don't understand what people see in linux, bloody colours everywhere.
Can't do an 'ls' without colours
Can't view a man page without some really weird formatting and colours

What ever happened to the back on white / white on black plain terminal ?
Is all this to 'convert' windows users to a nice pretty command line?


argh is all i can say ... ARGH!!!

</rant>


edit: I'd just like to correct the above '%s/linux/GNU\/Linux/g'
... how childish
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Old 10th July 2008
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To say that about a Corey post is somewhat redundant.
In answer to Robbak, yes, that is my biggest complaint. When my job change brought me back to Linux, I was in shock for a few weeks. I would see a program I didn't get, type man <program_name> and find there was no man page. In /usr/share/doc there would be a one or two line non-explanation.

Mostly it's with Gnu programs.

I remember viewing a bug report on the fact that with RHEL 5, they moved the default named.conf and didn't tell anyone. The bug report said that's fine, but why not a one or two line README.REDHAT in /usr/share/doc/bind.

The developer's answer was, well, you just documented here. (I should add that their bugzilla is, errm, buggy--searches often don't work, plus, the database is so huge that the site is extremely slow.)

Conversely, they did another violation of POLA with their Rawhide, the equivalent of CURRENT. I posted on the mailing list that a line or two in the affected file would save a lot of people a lot of time, and within a few hours, the person working on that particular program had committed the change. (He also answered me on the list, agreeing.)

Linux man pages used to make me think I was stupid till I got to the BSDs and realized that no, it was that many man pages are very poorly written.

I saw a thread on a mailing list the other day that struck me as very typical. Someone asked for a tutorial, someone else suggested the site's home page. The OP wrote back that he had looked there, but found it obscure, for example, he didn't understand X Y and Z. The reply was that he should look at the intended audience of the tutorial and it was his fault for not reading enough in advance.

Rather than add a line or two or three to the tutorial, blame the reader. It strikes me, sometimes, as being like the Emperor's New Clothes. For those unfamiliar with the child's tale, a swindler convinces the emperor that only the pure of heart can see the marvelous suit he is being given. In a parade, everyone feels it's because they aren't pure, so no one mentions that he's in his underwear.

Finally, a child says, the emperor's in his underwear. I think Linux man pages are often like that--say it's badly done and you're jumped on for not knowing enough.
To repeat, I fell for this till I began reading BSD man pages.
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Old 10th July 2008
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scottro, you're right!

But a lot of BSD man pages aren't perfect, too - especially, if one is looking for some basic information (and is not an expert!). Much often I have read man pages and after I knew as much as before. Why? Because a) quite often they are lacking structure (like starting with the basics and then proceeding to the more advanced tasks) and b) they are very theoretical.
In my case I often make the experience, that I read a man-page and after that I still do not know what to do. Partially, it's because I'm not a native english-speaker. But even with a good dictionary it's sometimes hardly possible to get what the author wants to tell me.
And I think that it's sometimes because experts are writing for experts.
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Old 10th July 2008
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No, the BSD man pages aren't perfect, of course, for as you say, sometimes they too, as well as the handbook at times, are by experts for experts. One difference is that, (probably because of FreeBSD's smaller size) the man page authors and developers are more willing to listen.

(I thought you meant I was right about Corey_James. Speaking of English not being your native language, I think it's better than his, and he's from an English speaking country.)

On the other hand, for example, ifconfig might be hard for the beginner to follow, but at the end, it has the examples section. Robert Watson's page on jails is the example I always give when pointing out how a man page written for the busy professional should be--it doesn't ask you to google all over the place to figure it out, it says do this, then that, then this and explains what's going on.

With third party programs, it's hit and miss. The fluxbox man page is an example, in my mind, of how (and WHO) should write them. The writer is enthusiastic about the program and WANTS you to understand how to use it--it's full of comments like, "With fluxbox, this is easy!" Then shows you how to do it.

The BSD pages might not always be clearer than the Linux ones, but they are far more likely to have an EXAMPLES section, which is the most important. Plus, things ARE documented, even if it's not clear. For example, the RedHat based systems start about 40 programs by default. Many are not documented, or if they are, not to the point where you can really understand if they're necessary or not. Everything in BSD's /etc/rc.d/ and the defaults are documented to a point at least.

Once again, compliments on your English. What country are you from? I had no idea you weren't a native English speaker. (By the way, the "to" of nihonto should probably be tou, it's a long o, and would be written, in Japanese phonetics, as tou.)

Last edited by scottro; 10th July 2008 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 10th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottro View Post
With third party programs, it's hit and miss. The fluxbox man page is an example, in my mind, of how (and WHO) should write them. The writer is enthusiastic about the program and WANTS you to understand how to use it--it's full of comments like, "With fluxbox, this is easy!" Then shows you how to do it.
Yes, exactly! It's about the attitude of the writer and if he (or she) tries to imagine what someone else might is looking for when using a certain program for the first time. If both aspects come together, the man page has a good chance of being perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottro View Post
The BSD pages might not always be clearer than the Linux ones, but they are far more likely to have an EXAMPLES section, which is the most important. Plus, things ARE documented, even if it's not clear. For example, the RedHat based systems start about 40 programs by default. Many are not documented, or if they are, not to the point where you can really understand if they're necessary or not. Everything in BSD's /etc/rc.d/ and the defaults are documented to a point at least.
Just a personal experience that can not be generalized: I startet with Linux in 2002 and tried out SuSe (8.0 or 8.2). I didn't used it very long and switched about one year later to Debian which is still my favorite distribution. In these first years I never used the man pages, because I didn't understood them. I left them behind, thinking "just for experts" and was very happy about maillists and forums where I could ask my (silly) questions. So, because of my first negative impressions I stopped using man pages for some years - and I have to admit that I never missed them.
Nowadays I look them up much more often, because now I'm using OpenBSD alongside Debian, and - as some of you know - it's no good idea asking a question on an OpenBSD forum or mailinglist without having checked the FAQ and the man pages before.
In short: If the "first contact" fails, a lot of unexperienced users are lost for the man pages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottro View Post
Once again, compliments on your English. What country are you from? I had no idea you weren't a native English speaker. (By the way, the "to" of nihonto should probably be tou, it's a long o, and would be written, in Japanese phonetics, as tou.)
Thanks for the flowers! Think I should mail your posting to my old English teacher. I'm from Germany - and I know that my knowledge of english grammar could be improved.

Concerning "nihonto" - I know that it's a long "o" at the end of the word. But up to now, I've always seen this way to write it:

Quote:
nihontō
... and my qwertz-keyboard knows our funny german "umlaute" (äüö), but no "ō".
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Old 10th July 2008
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I would say that Linux is always getting worse in some ways but improving in others. Linux is in a state of constant change. Just look at some of the changes recently. Tickless kernel, merging of x86 and amd64 architectures, supporting ide hard drives with the sata driver, and others. These changes are intended for good purpose, increased features or simplified code, but proper testing becomes impossible. Most of the distributions I've tried have required tweaking to work and fixing one issue leads to another. Updating? Don't. Who knows what you'll break.
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Old 11th July 2008
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davidgurvich, your statements can't help but remind me of some line posted somewhere in this forum about a "slackware box in the basement" running for over a decade without being touched. I wasn't sure if it was true or exaggeration but I would believe the former just as much as the latter >_>.



Quote:
Originally Posted by nihonto View Post
scottro, you're right!

But a lot of BSD man pages aren't perfect, too - especially, if one is looking for some basic information (and is not an expert!). Much often I have read man pages and after I knew as much as before. Why? Because a) quite often they are lacking structure (like starting with the basics and then proceeding to the more advanced tasks) and b) they are very theoretical.

...

And I think that it's sometimes because experts are writing for experts.
Some manual pages are worse then others but most are fairly good in OpenBSDs case.


One time I was doing something in FreeBSD, the program kept giving me an error although I was doing it 'properly' as far as I understood the manual (along with testing every which similar way while trying to read the writers mind).

In the end I had to go look up the source code and mutter, "thanks for not writing an EXAMPLES section !#%!" !


When I was learning LaTeX I also read some good advice:


0/ Tell them simply and concisely what you want to tell them.

1/ Then explain it in detail


2/ Then give a summery of what you just told them, simply and concisely.


For both experts and people who are less experts, especially if you ever want to get anyone expert or not reading past the abstract or introduction.





I would describe my learning by "show me, then tell me" so manuals don't always cut it -- sometimes I need to quickly look up how to do X or my memory has one of those "Uhh, what switch does Y again?" moments.

So I like manual pages that put it in English and show you what the flib you are supposed to do without requiring a Ph.D. AND also manage to tell you everything !


That way, you can use the manual to get a quick understanding of it's operation and use the more detailed explanations to find out how to use it to best serve your needs.


A *good* manual page should be all someone needs and including examples in the documentation and in configuration files, so you don't have to push 20,000 things onto your brains stack when using the program really helps to do that !
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Old 11th July 2008
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Like Terry, I prefer show then tell. Back to nihonto, yes, it seems you folks auf Deutschland tend to have very good English. Every time I try to write in German on one of these forums, it makes Dr. J and Oliver snicker, so I won't even try. Sheesh this gnaedige gnaedig something else for a guy is confusing.

As for the to of nihonto, I don't even try with the line over the o--that can make it confusing if you're trying to learn the language as to whether the hiragana is oo as in Oosaka, the city, or tou as in tou, the sword. I just try to copy the hiragana.
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Old 11th July 2008
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Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
Some manual pages are worse then others but most are fairly good in OpenBSDs case.
Some manual pages are great! They are so good that some reference books will use them almost verbatim to describe the program. Others are utterly abysmal. They may be little more than a description of what a program does (if you're lucky).

I recall one I read recently (can't recall off the top of my head which one) that gave you a list of 2-3 options (out of who knows how many), but none of them did what I needed. The program doesn't run with the proper arguments, but the documentation doesn't tell you what those arguments are. Am I supposed to read the programmers mind as to how they designed the program?

Documentation is a royal pain to do (at least that's how I feel), but it is on of the most necessary things a program needs - after all, if the user doesn't know _how_ to use the program, they won't use it at all, no matter how good it is. Documentation (both in the form of source comments and manpages) is a duty and obligation on the part of the programmer(s).
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Old 11th July 2008
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Perls Getopt::Long and Plain Old Documentation are probably why most of my Perl scripts that survive past | perl'ing them are better documented then any other back scratchers I've got JMJ ;-)


I know what you mean though, some of the crap I've tested from ports has made me think about the possibility that some developers would have brain damage if they ever thought to write *useful* documentation.
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Old 17th October 2008
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scottro. How did you made the tty's background grey? And does it work in NetBSD 4?
BTW: Wow, is just me, or there's a lot of linux bashing going on here. I thought that all of the OSS ppl (both linux and BSD) had M$ as the ones to bash.
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Old 17th October 2008
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To make an xterminal of any sort gray can be done in any *BSD system.
Create a file in your $HOME directory called .Xdefaults

Then put in (for example, using urxvt)
urxvt*background: gray
(grey will also work, they honor, or honour as the UK folks say, both spellings. Of course, we from the US think the UK has strange spelling, but many of we older foulkes like the Roulling Stounes.)

In FreeBSD at least, it can be done in console as well (vs. an xterminal). The command is vidcontrol (with a decent man page) but I've forgotten the syntax. I tend to prefer the standard black console with white text.

Also, most xterminals can have their background (and foreground) colors changed from command line. For example

urxvt -bg blue -fg white

With some terminals it's just -b and -f rather than -bg and -fg.

As for the Linux bashing, well, Corey_James and Vermaden like to do it. Most of the rest of us don't have the energy. There are bad things about it of course, but of course, there are bad things to say about all operating systems.

In the end, its popularity probably helps the BSD folks as well, since it increases the likelihood of a manufacturer providing open source drivers.
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Old 17th October 2008
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OP (55 posts back) is right. Don't see any appeal either.
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Old 17th October 2008
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personally, I like color ls as it helps me when I'm look at the content of an unfamiliar directory.

But, I worked with a programmer who said "I see in color, why shouldn't I print in color?" I assume that was kind of behind the color everywhere in Linux.

But - I don't like Linux, but it's got nothing to do with the colors.
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Old 17th October 2008
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Colors are a useful way to convey extra information with the same amount of characters, I have color ls, color vim, color grep, etc.
The problem is that most (if not all) Linux distributions often turn on color by default, and that this sometimes this causes problems ... BSD on the other hand uses the more safe default of black/white.
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Old 18th October 2008
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By the way, I don't think it's been mentioned, but one can put in the .bashrc
unalias ls

Or, simply type it in the command window for it to just have effect for that one session.
Lastly, one can escape it with a backslash.

\ls

will simply run the ls command without color.
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