Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to Any contributions to a RH HowTo?

Posted by Jonathan Marsden on
David wrote:
You are right that this is awkward, but I believe that it is a good way for somebody "quite" new to the material, to realize what it needs to build a site that scales with some perspective. On the other hand I want to show exactly which steps to follow, because it is always more relaxing to know what you typed in than to know that you installed an rpm - on my side at least.

Encouraging anyone to type in commands they do not understand (especially as root!) is in general a bad idea IMO. But if your doc explains each command you suggest in sufficient detail for newcomers to grasp, it will be a huge tome. So, they will probably lack the patience to actually progress all the way through it? Leave out the explanations, and you are either writing only for experienced folks, or else you are in effect encouraging a "trust me and just type this stuff" mentality which I don't think is likely to helpful.

If you have RPMs (or .debs, or whatever packaging system you choose, I'm not tied to RPM except that it is what RH use and I use RH currently) then beginners can just "trust the RPM maintainer", and those with some knowhow can do

rpm -qp --scripts openacs-3.2.5-2.noarch.rpm

and see exactly what the RPM is going to do, and then decide whether they want to install it or not. It also minimizes how much typing is needed, so reducing install problems that end up being caused by a typo by the sysadmin.

If you choose to limit the HOWTO to an RH base, and to one specific RH distribution, then I don't see the value in then not using the packaging system which is the basis of that distribution. If you really dislike RPMs, why would you be running RedHat anyway?

Just one person's opinion; if you have time and energy to write a doc, I'll probably read it, and I may even suggest changes to it. But I think that the exact audience you have chosen -- Red Hat users with only limited Linux/Unix background, but who don't like the idea of installing from an RPM -- seems to be a rather odd and perhaps somewhat small group.

Given the other documentation needs surrounding OpenACS, I'm not sure the niche you have chosen is the most obviously wanted high priority thing to write. But obviously, that is your call to make, not mine!

Final thought for now: at first glance at least, the new RH 7.1 looks a lot more security conscious than older RH versions were. So basing your work on that might reduce the size of the 'OS security' part of it?