Get rid of (information for) lazy people

Bill Maltby LFS Related lfsbill at
Tue Sep 17 06:08:05 PDT 2002

Is it possible to set your mailer to wrap at col 72? Thanks.

On Tue, 17 Sep 2002, Hilary wrote:

> I thought i would add my 5c in this particular commentry, I am a fully
> qualified motor technition ( I have run my own race team as well as
> develop and build cars).
> I appreciate your points on learning about cars before learning to
> drive them,  however I would like to point out that it takes three to
> five YEARS to learn the stuff about cars and I know that it takes about
> the same time (with work commitments etc) to learn any new thing or OS, 

Without starting a thread on the specific opinions of that, I would only
point out that the *basics* may be learned in much less time by most
people. By example, to be a basic and competent and safe driver on the
street takes much less time. To be able to do a *basic* tune-up (what we
used to call points, plugs, condensor), lubrication, tire repair and so
forth, takes much less time.

For the driving, most are expected to have studied and learned the "rules
of the road". By my observation, *many* lack this basic info, although
they were apparently able to pass some test at some time in the past.

> a point I would like to make is that it is rediculous to expect every
> USER to know the insides of how a vehicle runs , brakes or acceller-
> ates, thats what professional people like myself are for, yet I show
> none of the snobbery that I have seen on this LFS thread in the last
> two days.

It is *not* snobbery.

I think you either missed saome parts of this thread or have just
misunderstood what is being espoused. First, let me say that I am one who
supports a certain level of "tolerance" towards the noob. And I have done
some professional teaching and enjoy it a lot. And I enjoy helping some on
this list.

But regardless of that, I happen to agree with Matthias's suggestions for
reduction, to some degree, of the basic content of the book(s). Since he
also advocates supplanting the eliminated content with references to other
commonly used documents, I feel this has many advantages.

The originator (owner) of the project states in the book, and in many sub-
sequent threads, that the project is intended for intermediate-to-advanced
users. Since he is the owner, I feel obligated to respect his wishes and
support his goals. I also feel comfortable with encouraging tolerance and
some support of less-skilled users, to some degree.

What has been espoused is akin to asking drivers have some basic under-
standing of the "rules of the road" before they get out in traffic and
endanger the rest of the motoring public. If one came to you and wanted to
immediately drive one of your vehicles, but repeatedly did not follow the
instructions you offered, would you let them take your vehicles out on the
road? Would you still enjoy teaching/sharing with them?

Well, the owner of this project, and most (I believe) of the active list
participants enjoy helping others get started. But new users are expected
to actively have learned (or be learning) some of the basic skills so that
the time and resources of people are not wasted by hundreds of questions
that have answers *easily* discovered in on-line man pages and many
HOW-TOS available on the net. Furhter, they are expected to know basics
akin to what a steering wheel is used for, the difference in purpose be-
tween a service brake and parking brake (erroneously called an "emer-
gency" brake here in the states), what purpose the ignition provides to
the end-user and so on.

You see where this is going, right? So I will end this part on that note.

> I have come to respect the people who take the time to teach others
> about what they already know, to have the pleasure of knowing that they
> have somehow contributed ( as was told to me when I first became
> interested in UNIX/LINUX) was reason enough to participate, just as I
> WOULD when a customer took the time to ask me how thier car worked, it
> was the pleasure of SHARING KNOWLEDGE that is important, not self
> importance, right?

Yes, but if 1000 people daily came and asked you to put them immediately
on the road in a high-performance vehicle and they had no license, and
your sign out front stated clearly that only licensed drivers may take a
vehicle on the road... In other words, you would request they have certain
basic skills first.

If you repeatedly tell them where to acquire the needed information and
skills, does that mean you are "self important"? Of course not. It means
you are willing to help them, at that time, to acquire the needed attri-
butes in a way that is beneficial to them and more efficient for you. And
when some number do as you asked and you can then *really* help them to-
ward their goals, the satisfaction you obtain is increased.

> People are getting to grips with a "new fangled" (its just and
> expression I do know that this stuff has been around for as long as
> I've been a mechanic) and sometimes 'confusingly illogical' system like
> UNIX/LINUX  I have always found it easier to understand when I think of
> it as just another language ( I speak Four)  and that the 'grammar' is
> different in every language , just like cars, ie french cars have
> everything 'backwards' to what the german cars do, the Japanese cars are
> all upside down, these design 'feature's reflect the designers culture,
> just as LINUX does, so be a little humble when you realise that you are
> the ones to help the new generation become better people and I take my
> hat off to those who can teach with wisdom and humility for they will
> save humanity.

We all need humility, *including* some aggravating noobs who come in and
act as if their ill-informed postings take nothing from the members of the
community who are trying to be of assistance. And they get upset at a per-
fectly reasonable suggestion for appropriate prerequisite reading or gain
of additional experience.

I myself will answer almost any level of question of which I am capable of
answering (and for the others, I'll theorize the hell out of it). But when
I do so, I often cite references where the information is to be found, as
a gentle reminder to folks that they need not be dependent upon others for
the answers and to encourage a general increase in knowledge beyond the
very specific pertaining to their question.

I encourage others to behave in a similar fashion, because I believe that
is A Good Thing (TM).

But, I also support the suggestion of modifying the books to point others
to some of the *many* available documents that will increase the skill-
level of the new users and I *refuse* to support a new user who will *not*
make independent attempts to learn some of the basic skills, either by
reading (perfectly acceptable IMO) or usage (better, but not everybody has
time, facility...).

> Spread the Linux word be patient and the world will follow in your footsteps.

And if Linux were a high-performance car... (Hmmm? I think it is!  :) )

> Hilary

Bill Maltby
billm at

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