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Open Source Programming Linux

Is Linux Documentation Lacking? 769

eldavojohn writes "A number of blog posts are surfacing that are calling out the helpful open source community on their documentation. No, not the documentation for the highly skilled technical people, but the documentation from beginner to apprentice. A two-part series by Carla Schroeder lists bad documentation as 'Linux Bug #1' and advises users to use Google as the documentation. We've discussed before some of open source's documentation being out of date. Is it really as bad as these blogs paint it? Has it come down to using Google before a man page?"
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Is Linux Documentation Lacking?

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  • yes yes (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:26AM (#30310554)

    I google for man pages.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dlrowcidamon)> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:40AM (#30310766) Homepage
    Well I've been using Linux since 1979, and the documentation has never been that great. I remember asking Linus and some of the other developers about it when I ran into them at Studio 54, but they were too stoned to answer. Man, it was crazy back then, you'd get high and write a program and you wouldn't even care about the documentation. You'd just copy over someone else's man pages, or paste in Beegees lyrics, or whatever you're drug-addled brain came up with at the time.
  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:48AM (#30310892)

    It also saves programmers the time of having to answer needless questions.

    Don't worry! I have scripts to answer RTFM to whole forums at once. I do not even have to read the post. Just to be undetected sometimes the scritps replies "Read the source Luke" instead.

  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:50AM (#30310926) Journal
    man microwave
  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:50AM (#30310928) Homepage
    > apropos burn a cd

    drutil(1) - interact with CD/DVD burners
    hdiutil(1) - manipulate disk images (attach, verify, burn, etc)
    CONF_modules_free(3ssl), CONF_modules_finish(3ssl), CONF_modules_unload(3ssl) - OpenSSL configuration cleanup functions
    CONF_modules_load_file(3ssl), CONF_modules_load(3ssl) - OpenSSL configuration functions
    APR(3pm) - Perl Interface for Apache Portable Runtime (libapr and libaprutil Libraries)
    APR::Base64(3pm) - Perl API for APR base64 encoding/decoding functionality
    APR::Brigade(3pm) - Perl API for manipulating APR Bucket Brigades
    APR::Bucket(3pm) - Perl API for manipulating APR Buckets
    APR::BucketAlloc(3pm) - Perl API for Bucket Allocation
    APR::BucketType(3pm) - Perl API for APR bucket types
    APR::Const(3pm) - Perl Interface for APR Constants
    APR::Date(3pm) - Perl API for APR date manipulating functions
    APR::Error(3pm) - Perl API for APR/Apache/mod_perl exceptions
    APR::Finfo(3pm) - Perl API for APR fileinfo structure
    APR::IpSubnet(3pm) - Perl API for accessing APRs ip_subnet structures
    APR::OS(3pm) - Perl API for Platform-specific APR API
    APR::PerlIO(3pm) - -- Perl IO layer for APR
    APR::Pool(3pm) - Perl API for APR pools
    APR::SockAddr(3pm) - Perl API for APR socket address structure
    APR::Socket(3pm) - Perl API for APR sockets
    APR::Status(3pm) - Perl Interface to the APR_STATUS_IS_* macros
    APR::String(3pm) - Perl API for manipulating APR UUIDs
    APR::Table(3pm) - Perl API for manipulating APR opaque string-content tables
    APR::ThreadMutex(3pm) - Perl API for APR thread mutexes
    APR::ThreadRWLock(3pm) - Perl API for APR thread read/write locks
    APR::URI(3pm) - Perl API for URI manipulations
    APR::UUID(3pm) - Perl API for manipulating APR UUIDs
    APR::Util(3pm) - Perl API for Various APR Utilities
    ASN1_OBJECT_new(3ssl), ASN1_OBJECT_free(3ssl) - object allocation functions
    ASN1_STRING_dup(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_cmp(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_set(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_length(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_length_set(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_type(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_data(3ssl) - ASN1_STRING utility functions
    ASN1_STRING_new(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_type_new(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_free(3ssl) - ASN1_STRING allocation functions
    ASN1_STRING_print_ex(3ssl), ASN1_STRING_print_ex_fp(3ssl) - ASN1_STRING output routines
    ASN1_generate_nconf(3ssl), ASN1_generate_v3(3ssl) - ASN1 generation functions
    Algorithm::Annotate(3pm) - represent a series of changes in annotate form
    Algorithm::Diff(3pm) - Compute `intelligent' differences between two files / lists
    Algorithm::DiffOld(3pm) - Compute `intelligent' differences between two files / lists but use the old (<=0.59) interface
    Alien::wxWidgets(3pm) - building, finding and using wxWidgets binaries
    Alien::wxWidgets::Utility(3pm) - INTERNAL: do not use
    AnyDBM_File(3pm) - provide framework for multiple DBMs NDBM_File, DB_File, GDBM_File, SDBM_File, ODBM_File - various DBM implementations
    Apache2::Access(3pm) - A Perl API for Apache request object: Access, Authentication and Authorization
    Apache2::Build(3pm) -
  • RTFM (Score:3, Funny)

    by thijsh ( 910751 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:52AM (#30310954) Journal
    Yeah, but don't even try to ask for any help, you'll most likely get an RTFM response. XKCD said it best: []

    I think it's safe to say the documentation isn't really lacking, but the support is... :)
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:57AM (#30311038)

    You ask two differnt questions. The first is how to burn a CD. The second is what man command you could use. Using a man command will not burn the CD so has no relation to the first question.

    I assume that the first question is more urgent. []

    Or you start here: []

  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:58AM (#30311046) Homepage

    man 1 cdrdao

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:59AM (#30311066)
    $ man microwave No manual entry for microwave You tricked me!
  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) * on Thursday December 03, 2009 @11:59AM (#30311076) Homepage

    > You've lost me already. I'm having to look up what "man" does.

    man man

  • by BrentH ( 1154987 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:04PM (#30311164)
    I've been using Windows since 1954, and I've never needed a manual to open them!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:08PM (#30311252)

    Well, what is he doing in the kitchen anyway? That is the job of the woman.

  • by ais523 ( 1172701 ) <ais523(524\)(525)x)> on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:20PM (#30311436)

    $ man -k burn cd
    brasero (1) - Simple and easy to use CD/DVD burning application for ...
    k3b (1) - KDE CD burning program

    There were more answers than those two, but either of the first two looks a sensible choice for burning CDs. (The results quickly drop off in quality, though; the fourth was the Perl module Language::INTERCAL::Charset::EBCDIC, which I strongly hope can't burn CDs...)

  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Funny)

    by gzipped_tar ( 1151931 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:24PM (#30311542) Journal
    I've been posting on Slashdot since World War II, and the silly trolls have always been modded +5 Insightful ;)
  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:28PM (#30311606)
    I just put in a blank CD. Then a folder appears on the desktop with a button to burn the CD. I drag the file I want into there and hit that button. I'm not sure what this MAN thing is everyone keeps talking about.
  • by ciderVisor ( 1318765 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:31PM (#30311664)

    Welcome to Slashdot !

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @12:35PM (#30311756)

    Worse, it's responses like the GP's that compounds the problem.

    Noob: I don't know how to use Linux! Won't someone help me?
    BOFH: *grumble*grumble* Look, here's the "man" command, dumbass. It obviously means "MANual". Get it? Figured you looked too stupid to figure out how to use Linux...
    Noob: Um... when I type that, all I get is "What manual page do you want?" How do-
    BOFH: Why you rotten little... just how stupid ARE you? Were you born and raised with Windows or something? You type in the command, kernel function, or standard library call in after "man", just like we've done for the past TWENTY FUCKING YEARS OF UNIX. Hello? Have you been paying ANY attention at all, you worthless little Windows runt? If I hear you badmouthing one of the most hallowed and revered of Unix commands again, I'll-
    Noob: So... er... what man command do I use to learn how to burn a CD?
    BOFH: (eyes starting to turn red, veins now starting to pop out of head, teeth clenching almost to the point of shattering them by the pressure) You... were... asking... about... MANPAGES... YOU... STUPID... ASSHOLE! What the fuck is WRONG with you? You don't use man to burn a CD! Where the hell were you raised? In Redmond? I bet you don't even know what revision of the CD filesystem to use to optimize storage and retain symlinks! As everyone ALREADY KNOWS, ASSHAT, you have to build up an ISO image from on-filesystem objects using the proper options for your image of choice, make sure the appropriate kernel options are compiled in (or, of course, make and install the proper modules via modprobe or insmod, or via the autoloading mechanism which ONLY the uneducated scum use because they don't know the glories of "pure" Linux from ten or so years ago, the stupid "modern" bastards), THEN you can "burn a CD", as you so quaintly put it! WHAT PART OF THIS IS NOT OBVIOUS TO YOU?!?
    Noob: I...
    BOFH: (starting to shake from pure rage) You're clearly too much of a moron to truly enjoy Linux! GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT, WINDOWS USER! OUT! AND TAKE YOUR GODDAMNED "PRETTY" GUI WITH YOU!
    Noob: Hey, guess what? In the time it took you to rant about all that, I got my CD burned under Windows and didn't have a raving insular lunatic insult me. And I was able to do it without having to study the history of an operating system. Sounds like I'm using Windows from now on.
    BOFH: *sniff* Why don't people like Linux? We're so superior!

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:48PM (#30313130) Homepage Journal

    woman microwave

  • by machine321 ( 458769 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @01:56PM (#30313256)

    Can't emacs do it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, 2009 @03:36PM (#30314792)

    I'm not sure what this MAN thing is everyone keeps talking about.

    That's because MAN doesn't actually exist.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @08:45PM (#30319328)

    Believe it or not Wikipedia isn't the ultimate source of information.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.