[nSLUG] Gentoo founder joins Microsoft

Donald Teed donald.teed at gmail.com
Tue Jun 14 10:55:17 ADT 2005

This was probably noticed by some on slashdot and Gentoo's page.

I'm not sure which of Robbins' creations from Gentoo days and previous
might make an appearance at Microsoft.

Would it be:

-  Windows for ricers?
-  A method to completely rebuild Windows from scratch?
-  Implement the April fools joke of Linux on an NT kernel?
-  Documentation for humans?

Although he is more well known for the Gentoo "from scratch"
linux approach, I think his real contribution has been to make
documentation, and a documentation system, which people
want to work on, and people find useful.


As I work on completing testing of Gentoo to Debian migration,
I have encountered many little things in Debian that
have not been documented through a guide.  The Debian
documentation rarely takes that sort of approach.
There is a guide for the installation, but that only
gets you to first boot.  I'm referring to possible guides
on system configuration issues that include details
on the Debian specific paths and config files for how it
handles apache, postfix, etc.

Here is an example of the excellent sort of guide Gentoo

Or one from the wiki on setting up ddclient, which works
better than Debian's auto config (it told my dyndns
I was at

Although guides are put down as being for newbies, I
find them useful as a checklist to make sure I have not
forgotten anything.  It is quicker to scan through
a well written and formatted guide, observing the examples
as highway mile posts, than to do it from memory, making
a mistake, checking the log files for errors, searching in config
files for what is missing.

One rule I see adhered to in Gentoo documentation is
to make examples with real values.  It is very easy
to tell what the variable parts of a command are and
what are keywords from examples written up this way.
Debian should do this.

I found myself doing a combination, of copying old /etc
files from Gentoo set up, and letting Debian's config for a package
(if it had one) try to set things up.  I can imagine that someone
who has set up one Debian box for typical services can simply
refer back to it for examples or typical settings of what they need
to do when setting up a new Debian box.  They reach a point
where they either "know it" or can use their reference machine
as a breathing example of what they need.  Perhaps this explains
why one Debian user on a forum said he doesn't need
documentation.  If that is a common attitude towards
documentation within the Debian community, then it explains
why things are like this.  However, it also explains why
users with minimal Linux knowledge are not going to start
out with Debian.  Although Gentoo has many problems, finding
easy to follow and up to date documentation is not one of them.

Ubuntu has the goal of reaching "humans", but still has a ways
to go with the unorganized documentation.  At least they do have
official forums, and this is a useful seed for allowing people to contribute
useful notes on some issue, have others comment on it, graduate
to sticky note, FAQ or HOWTO item in documentation.


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