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Re: Another list? (was Linux vs. NT Security contest)
At 08:09 PM 9/22/1999 -0500, Leif Pedersen typed:
>I know that back when I first started using Linux [which was my first
>unix], I absolutely hated reading the man pages. They were very long,
>hard to understand, and had very few examples, even when an example was
>ALL that was needed. I got quite discouraged with man pages and seldom
>looked at them again for a very long time. Man pages seem to be geared
>towards the experienced users, and I think it should probably stay that
>way for four reasons: 1) Man isn't exactly the command you would guess
>at for getting help...2) It would be a real pain to rewrite them...3) they
>are actually quite useful to more experienced users...4) you have to know
>what command you want help on before they're any help at all.
>I also remember that when I first started using Linux, the first place I
>went to was the web page...I guessed linux.com, linux.org, and
>linux.net...and I found HOW-TO's on linux.org. These explained things
>quickly, easily, and by example. Also, I learned some commands and got an
>'entry point' into the man pages.
>When I first started using OpenBSD, I once again went to the web page for
>docs. Here I was a little disappointed. There is a good FAQ, but a
>single FAQ isn't quite what I think is needed. If we had an indexed
>repository of HOW-TO's, or the like, it would be very helpful.
I once heard it explained like this, "man pages tell you everything you
need to know if you already know what you're looking for." I find that's
generally pretty true. If you already know what command you want and
basically just need a refresher on exact syntax or need to find a
particular switch, the man pages will help you out. If you don't know
exactly what you're looking for and/or don't already know how to use a
given command, the man pages are not very useful. Which is of course where
how-tos and FAQs come in....
Rodney Hopkins, MCSE, Compaq ASE