What if the book wasn't a book anymore

Alexander E. Patrakov patrakov at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 22:37:21 PST 2008

2008/2/28, Gerard Beekmans <gerard at linuxfromscratch.org>:
> > I think it is a bad idea to force interactivity for a program,
>  > especially for those who are not first-time visitors.
> My counter-argument: turn it off when it's not desired. It's not that
>  hard to stop a program from showing output you don't want (anymore).

For programs that write to stdout and stderr, true. For ncurses-based
programs such as "lxdialog" that is used by jhalfs for creating the
configuration file, false, unless the switch is provided by the
developer of the program.

> Good points too. It's a common problem everybody faces. There's not a
>  one solution that fits the bill. Perhaps different installation profiles
>  could be thought of to try and fit a few main categories (Russian users
>  vs North American in your example). But that too eventually leads to
>  problems - too many profiles to maintain and not enough people to test
>  them all out.

User-submitted profiles? Some official "initial approval scale" and
"health scale" in the profile repository?

>  Think outside the current HTML box for a minute. Not for technical
>  reasons but convenience.

Sorry, I can't really think completely outside of a box. I need some
bigger box to stay in.

And technical reasons for HTML do exist: we need a solution that is
portable, i.e., works starting from a variety of non-LFS hosts (or
risk requiring a LiveCD, thus making all our toolchain work moot). As
you can see from
even bash scripting is prone to failures.

So, one has to invent some other way of delivering the LFS content
that is convenient, reliable and flexible (i.e., allows easy
deviations and doesn't think for the user).

>  I've been wondering for a while if there's a
>  case to be made for seeing installation output and the book's
>  (replacement) text in the same window. I can see this be a nice change
>  for installation modes where you are text-only.

Something like this "split window", AFAIR, was in the old nALFS
implementation. However, this means ncurses programming, which is
(given that UTF-8 locales are now common) a sort of art that I would
prefer to avoid.

>  While you wait for "make" to finish (we all know how long that can
>  take), you can shift your eyes up a few lines and start reading up on
>  what you're actually doing in one (hopefully?) convenient location.

GNU Screen certainly allows to do this. Maybe Emacs users have
something similar, and even a format for the interactive book--but I
use Vim and don't know much about Emacs.

Alexander E. Patrakov

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