*sigh* (was: Re: pcre-4.0 has been released)

Richard A Downing richard.downing at bcs.org.uk
Sun Feb 23 08:27:41 PST 2003

Matthew Burgess wrote:

> "Richard A Downing" <richard.downing at bcs.org.uk> wrote in message
> news:b3akkk$e3s$1 at quasar.highos.com...

> Ouch...I still class myself as a newbie in many areas but I do generally
> read the relevant documentation and the FAQs that it may point me to
> before requesting help.  This is what I regard a fundamental part of
> netiquette.  What frustrates me is when it is *obvious* that someone
> hasn't even bothered reading any of the documents and is quite plainly
> asking question after question in the hope that someone can hand-hold
> them all the way.  Others may have the time and the inclination to help
> people in this way, but I certainly don't.
> Regards,
> Matt.

I agree with your words here. And I'm far from perfect myself, in this
regard and others.  I just lost my rag at the superiority expressed in the
thread earlier, you just said the bit I wanted to quote, thanks!

I still think Linux/Unix is hard for a newbie to get 'into'.   For example:
some of the most difficult packages to build are the docbook/xml ones and 
without them some docs won't build.  GNU-Info is almost completely
non-intuitive for anyone with a point and click background, yet that's
where all the best GNU docs hang out - until I got KDE help centre up and
running (I couldn't do that at first 'cos my xmal was broken and I didn't
know it) I never realised what a great resource it was.

I discovered 'whatis' TODAY, I'd just never noticed it, in 35 years of
hacking about Unix! Revelation.  I discovered it lurking in a mailing list
watching answers to newbie questions.

I now have a policy of NOT answering newbies on the mailing lists with
anything other than: 'Read this: ...', unless I don't know myself, and then
I lurk and learn.  Sometimes the question shows up something really
interesting.  I recommend this policy.


Richard A Downing FBCS
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