...making Linux just a little more fun!
By Jim Dennis, Ben Okopnik, Dan Wilder, Breen, Chris, and... (meet the Gang) ... the Editors of Linux Gazette... and You!
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See also: The Answer Gang's Knowledge Base and the LG Search Engine
Dear readers, welcome to October in the world of The Answer Gang.
Statistics: About 680 messages this month. I say "about" because I can't count spam that hit the filters, and I'm not counting admin notes that I spotted and put aside early. That's just the total I had to split.
Peeves of the month --or-- how not to get an answer:
- ask a question about printers, and don't bother to look at http://www.linuxprinting.org first. A lot of our answers are gentle pointers to HOWTOs, as we assume real newbies don't know about The Linux Documentation Project (http://www.tldp.org) yet, either.
If you have already looked at a a HOWTO, for a pumpkin's sake do not say "I looked at all the HOWTOs and it made no sense." That just makes us sad and worried that our own answers won't help you any either.
Tell us whatever phrases confused you, and tell us what sort of sense you expected of it. We may be inspired to "translate" the techie bits into English, or point you at the pre-requisite HOWTO that goes before it, which already does. Probably we'd copy the maintainer so that the clearer answer gets to help a lot more people. If so you could feel proud you'd helped the LDP by making it more readable
- gosh, it's my first week of school, maybe those Answer Guys will do my homework for me. I dunno what the prof is talking about anyway, so I won't even rephrase he question.
"sure, give us your professor, we'll advise him on a few pointers to give you." Here's the first hint; try the class textbook. The second: if you don't understand the question ask the professor about it. It's his or her job to explain it to you; you pay the school good money for that.
Especially distressing were the ones who want us to pick their masters thesis for them. Research and new insights are the basis for handing out such a degree, right? So I'd think it needs a bit more research than firing a note off to a batch of linux gurus on some mailing list somewhere. You need some background, you need a topic, you need some actually interesting new theory, you need some ways to test or explore that theory, and then you need to make the paper presentable at an academic level. I suggest typing the keywords "linux" and "proceedings" into the nearest search engine, and following their examples for style, reading them for content, and considering whether they are aiming for the same academic audience or if you need a slightly different tone. Simmer with new ideas, garnish lightly with a conclusion, publish to taste. Keep notes throughout and have a complete bibliography so people can follow how you came to think of it all.
Not really a peeve at all, but rather interesting: Crossover questions with Microsoft OS' are up. On the other tentacle, awareness that they're talking to Linux people here is too. For the record two Knowledgebases might come in handy:
No, we have no idea whether any MS varieties can boot off a second drive. We suggest swapping the disks. Linux will boot fine as long as the bootloader has a kernel on the same media. Even if that's a floppy with SYSLINUX, or a Windows install with LOADLIN.EXE lying around.
Here's a touch of what The Answer Guy himself (Jim Dennis) and I have been up to. We visited Portland, Oregon this weekend - meeting some old friends - and got a tip about this great recycling project, http://www.FreeGeek.Com. We swung by their offices and it's just the coolest thing... assuming that you find big boxes piles of discarded cards and monitors and so on fascinating, of course. We sure did
Anyways, they get people in the community involved in putting these old bits back together into wimpy little machines that Linux can still make usable. The stuff that's hopeless, they snip the heavy metals and chips out of for recycling. Meanwhile some folks who previously knew nothing about computers, except maybe "where's the on switch" are learning how to tell an ethernet card from a modem, and so on. There are probably other projects like this out there, too. I'd like to hear from a few of them.
Now on to some All Hallow's Eve fun.
We really had to start coughing while cleaning out the cobwebs this time. Not one, but two questions about copies of Red Hat so old the moths are stuffed and buzzing around with beards and canes. The answers weren't very tasty, so you'll be spared them.
For slimy worms we've been pestered by the Klez worm all month. See the Two Cent Tips for more on that. Ugh.
We do have some candy though.
Ghoulies and monsters, we've got a definition of the term daemon that might be particularly useful this month. Plus how to get 'em started. LAN stuff got you spooked? We've got some great notes to chew on. if you find uninterruptiple sleep bothers you, we'll tell you how to kill that ghost... probably! Mwa ha ha ha, ha ha! See you next month!