RTFM

Story: Anyone Can Use The Linux Operating SystemTotal Replies: 22
Author Content
Ridcully

Jun 13, 2011
7:23 AM EST
This little article message, Read The Flamin' Manual, really struck a chord with me last night. For the first time I seriously installed Xfce and tried to get started, and realised that if I had a concise and detailed manual to this delightful WM, I could get much further. For instance, after considerable searching of the settings, I still could find no way to alter the Xfce parameters so that it operates with a single click on main window icons instead of a double click.....so I did a search on Xfce Manual, and here is what I got:

http://docs.xfce.org/

Do read the accompanying notes........And then realise why I nearly ate my keyboard in sheer frustration. Xfce is a long established WM and there should by now, be a really good manual with full notes, illustrations, etc.. But from what I can see, it doesn't exist. A lot of notes, yes - and undoubtedly very helpful.....but what I was looking for was a proper download file, probably in pdf format, that I could print and slowly digest - something to sit on my shelf as a basic reference. There are a series of places where you can get other "fill ins", but as for one single manual site......I haven't seen it yet if it exists - but I would be happy to be told I am wrong and that it does exist. Good manuals are like hen's teeth.
jdixon

Jun 13, 2011
8:26 AM EST
Hmm. You appear to be correct. The best documentation I could find was Arch Linux's writeup about Xfce, and it's none too detailed.
dinotrac

Jun 13, 2011
10:04 AM EST
Ridcully -

All to common with all too much free software. As the KDE team (and now the GNOME team) reminds us: It's all about the developers.
pmpatrick

Jun 13, 2011
10:14 AM EST
Ridicully, did you ever find a way to activate single click for desktop icons? I never could in xfce 4.6. I was under the impression that it was not possible but that xfce 4.8 might address the issue. See my September 2010 post here:

http://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php/topic,79604.msg6652...
Fettoosh

Jun 13, 2011
10:18 AM EST
Speaking of documentation, here is a link talking about doing it right. Audio and video documentations & tutorials are the way to go. They are easiest for a user and most effective to learn by. Most modern training material and applications are based on video an audio

http://dot.kde.org/2011/06/05/be-part-kritas-first-training-...

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth a thousand pictures, or may be more.

dinotrac

Jun 13, 2011
10:21 AM EST
@Fettoosh -

UGH!!!!

They are snazziest, perhaps, or easiest on the developers. The lazy way to convince yourself that you have done your duty. They are a great addition to the documentation universe, but they are no substitute for proper written documentation.

As a user, they are slow and difficult to use in a setting with others around you.

Absolutely difficult to browse through for specific bits.

Fettoosh

Jun 13, 2011
10:34 AM EST
Quoting:They are snazziest, perhaps, or easiest on the developers.


Dino, Dino, Dino, lighten up guy and be a little creative.

Done right, the audio narration has to be written down to be accurate and of good quality, so I assume they will have a text version.

Also, they don't have to make a single gigantic video/audio file, they can make a hundred or more little self contained clips for each feature or operation, create DVD/Web interface with search and such feature to make it easier than text documents.

You must have seen such material, haven't you?

K_REY_C

Jun 13, 2011
11:01 AM EST
Let's get the text only w/ screenshot version done first. Then video work could be delegated to others (working from the written documentation).

At any rate, I recently got a forum reply of "So, I searched Google and got 76,000 hits... so either you didn't look..." blah blah blah recently. I was not happy. That isn't "helping" (and, since I'd looked through a healthy number of those 76,000 hits to no avail, it was also insulting). I checked this "helpful" responders other posts... and their most common response involved "google blah blah blah." My advice to such helpful posters: get off of the forums.
Fettoosh

Jun 13, 2011
11:30 AM EST
Quoting:Let's get the text only w/ screenshot version done first


Sorry, I can't oblige because I am not involved in that project but, they might accommodate if you donate to that project.

Besides, this is a project to create documentation for a graphics application. Audio and video are essential to create a meaningful training & help material

vainrveenr

Jun 13, 2011
12:20 PM EST
Quoting:...a really good manual with full notes, illustrations, etc.. But from what I can see, it doesn't exist. A lot of notes, yes - and undoubtedly very helpful.....but what I was looking for was a proper download file, probably in pdf format, that I could print and slowly digest - something to sit on my shelf as a basic reference. There are a series of places where you can get other "fill ins", but as for one single manual site......I haven't seen it yet if it exists - but I would be happy to be told I am wrong and that it does exist.
Notice the contrast between the FM documentation commented upon here and FreeBSD's Documentation at http://www.freebsd.org/docs.html

Noticeable difference, yes ??

Observe how nicely (subjectively-speaking) and appropriate the documentation categories are in the latter.

E.g.,

- FAQ **

- Handbook **

- Manual Pages

- Books and Articles Online

- Publications

- Web Resources

- For Newbies

** Of special note, the FreeBSD FAQ and Handbook are both handily available as downloadable html, pdf, ps, rtf, and txt -formatted references.

There is even a strong documentation/reference effort for the entire FreeBSD "community", see the 'FreeBSD Documentation Project' at http://www.freebsd.org/docproj/

Conclusion: It is perhaps unfortunate that excellent documentation for Linux continues to lag further and further behind that of FreeBSD (e.g., Linux documentation within the somewhat antiquated 'Linux Documentation Project', http://tldp.org/ )



dinotrac

Jun 13, 2011
2:05 PM EST
@vainrveenr --

I'm not quite as enamored of FreeBSD as you, but agree that it is head and shoulders above most free software doc. I still break into cold sweats over libxml2, and I haven't had to program to that since 2007.
Steven_Rosenber

Jun 13, 2011
2:47 PM EST
I'm not saying the FreeBSD Manual isn't a great thing (because it is), but it's in no way as easy to run a desktop in FreeBSD as it is in most Linux distributions (and I'm definitely including Slackware just to put this in its proper perspective).

Not that you can't run a FreeBSD desktop successfully. I've done it. But there's a lot of work to be done to get from the basic installation to a full desktop-environment-powered system with all the apps, all the configuration and all the multimedia extras that many (if not most) users require.

PC-BSD http://pcbsd.org/ is a great way to get all of this without so much legwork ( ... or finger-work). Dru Lavigne's PC-BSD book is also a great help, and there's also a PC-BSD Handbook.

While you can turn just about any "core" BSD project (Free-, Open-, Net-, DragonFly-) into a desktop system, it's neither quick nor painless. They all ship pretty much bare and server-oriented.

More BSD "distros" like PC-BSD would go a long way toward closing this gap. As much crap as Slackware gets for "pain" incurred, you can burn a DVD, do an installation and have KDE and a bunch of apps ready to go.

GhostBSD http://ghostbsd.org/ helps, bringing a GNOME-based project into the fold, and when PC-BSD stops relying so heavily on KDE in its upcoming release, the FreeBSD core will be much easier to turn into the desktop system of your choice.
Steven_Rosenber

Jun 13, 2011
5:42 PM EST
On the original topic, that being what is needed for less-frustrating Linux uptake, it's true that documentation across the Linux and BSD spectrum can be very spotty.

Distributions that focus on new users (you know which distributions I'm talking about), that produce documentation aimed at those users and offer forums that can help them -- these are invaluable.

More valuable (and rare) are Linux desktop systems preloaded. I wish (fill in distro name) would focus on that and that alone ...
Ridcully

Jun 13, 2011
6:58 PM EST
@Pmpatrick.....written in much haste without reading all the additional comments properly....so if I have missed it, sorry in advance. With respect to the "one-click" issue, not as yet. I don't know if it is possible, but so far I haven't found a solution. If this is brought home to the developers, I am sure it will be addressed......maybe.....perhaps....but I do hope so; I am so used to one-click operation that the double click method is irritating.

PS....in fact the absence of the Xfce manual as it apparently has been confirmed by others above, almost begs me to do a simple project for LXer and write a beginner's guide to the wretched software with screen capture illustrations etc, rather like my previous articles on setting up KDE4. Wouldn't hurt because I think Xfce is pretty good.......my impressions are that it is much faster and simpler than KDE, even in my cutdown form, and I could even see me shifting to Xfce to get both of those characteristics. It depends on Scott's wishes and needs - and my time of course. Or someone else might like to take it up, because the package needs it badly.
BernardSwiss

Jun 13, 2011
7:17 PM EST
Quoting:They are snazziest, perhaps, or easiest on the developers. The lazy way to convince yourself that you have done your duty. They are a great addition to the documentation universe, but they are no substitute for proper written documentation.

As a user, they are slow and difficult to use in a setting with others around you.

Absolutely difficult to browse through for specific bits.


I must confess, I agree with Dino 100%, here.

(Should I seek professional help immediately?)

ComputerBob

Jun 13, 2011
9:11 PM EST
Re: single-clicking in Xfce, there's a setting in Thunar, but I haven't tried it to see if it does what you want:

Thunar > Edit > Preferences > Behavior
Fettoosh

Jun 13, 2011
9:23 PM EST
Quoting:I must confess, I agree with Dino 100%, here.

(Should I seek professional help immediately?)


No need to seek professional help. You and Dino are not the average computer users and I am sure you would prefer man pages.

Scott_Ruecker

Jun 13, 2011
11:10 PM EST
Quoting:It depends on Scott's wishes and needs - and my time of course..


If its my approval your asking for in writing up your own version of a Xfce walk-through manual Ridcully you most certainly have it..;-)

mortenalver

Jun 14, 2011
3:09 AM EST
Video tutorials can be very nice and useful, but they are not good for everything. Especially not for finding the solution to a specific problem or question quickly, since it takes time to see through them, you can't search in them and you can't copy-paste from them.
Ridcully

Jun 14, 2011
3:46 AM EST
@ComputerBob..Thankyou for the suggestion........Yes, I know of that one from my limited "playabout" with Xfce, and it works......BUT......only for opening the items in Thunar and a few other places, but not for the main screen - or at least that's what I have found so far. Curious but true.

@Mortenalver.......hmmmm.......you didn't intend this because you were talking of videos, but an index to actual items in the script would be very, very, very useful......I shall give it much thought.

For Scott.........I just KNEW that would be your response.....my big mouth LOL. :-) However, lemme take a long think about this. I'll be using openSUSE 11.4 and its variation of Xfce. There are reasons for this such as being able to easily import KMail into Xfce if desired.......since that allows me to get at all my previous mail. Xfce uses Thunderbird I believe......but I have never used that software and I'd like to concentrate on Xfce if at all possible.
hkwint

Jun 14, 2011
5:27 AM EST
Yeah, the hardest-to-use desktops certainly have the best documentation!

It's really true for Gentoo and NetBSD as well; I have used both (and Free and OpenBSD) as my desktop. Compared to Gentoo docs, I find most Debian / Ubuntu tutorials / howto's I find on the web pretty dissatisfying, as they usually only tell how, and not why.

One has to remember - beyond 'corporate desktops' and Ubuntu, it's all volunteers. So if XFCE-volunteers enjoy coding but not documenting, then there will simply be no documentation. Even if users ask for it, why would free software developers write documentation - if that's not what they like doing most?

After all, last time I checked being a volunteer is mainly done for satisfaction and fun; not for answering to 'customer demand'. OK, coding would probably be even more fun if there are satisfied users out there in the real world; but one should never forget there's also something called "Art pour 'l art".

Applied to coding: "Coding solely for the sake and fun of coding and forget everything else". Usually, such art is pretty useless, except for making the artist happy.

If you want something which makes the user happy, sooner or later someone in a software project has to do a job that one doesn't like doing, and most of the time people have to do things they don't like, a monetary reward is involved. I'd say no monetary reward pretty much means no one is doing the boring / frustrating jobs. Can't really blame them, do you?

I mean, if you like making brooms as a hobby, and the neighbours ask you: "Given you're making brooms but don't put them to use, why not make us real-world people happy and broom our garden?" I think most people wouldn't be surprised you'd rather stick to making brooms just for the sake of it, and not using them to make the world population happy. I think the neighbours should be happy if you lend them the broom for free, and have no right to demand you broom their garden as well.
gus3

Jun 14, 2011
6:57 AM EST
"Ars gratia artes" is specifically a revolt against the patronage system of yore, but it's really "art for the artist's sake" in practice.

(Where "sake" is understood to be a rice-based booze from Asia.)
hkwint

Jun 14, 2011
5:32 PM EST
Uhm, yeah, code for the coders sake is probably better, since I'm pretty sure there's no mirror where 'code' can look into and see how beautiful it is.

Thanks for sharing the Latin and English name (they only taught me the original French one), and now I also now what Greek "autotelic" means. I think autotelic pretty much describes how much free software is written, however "auto" indeed not referring to the code itself but to the coder.

Wow, RTFW can be really helpful!

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!