Re: convention for putting a variable in a path...

Subject: Re: convention for putting a variable in a path...
From: Stuart Burnfield <sburnf -at- au1 -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 14:41:52 +0800

Sean said:
> Anyone working on Linux at the technical level will know
> what the init scripts are and where to find them and how
> to use them. User of deb or rpm -based systems will know
> the differences.

"If they don't already know, they don't need to know." I'm not saying this
is wrong, but it's the sort of assumption I think we as TWs need to be
careful of. Kimberly's documentation might be aimed at 'a reasonably
knowledgeable/experienced Linux administrator' but there are shades of grey
in that job description. You could have an experienced sysadmin who hasn't
had much to do with Linux before.

- The company could be replacing some ageing UNIX gear with Linux, so their
very experienced sysadmin may know all about init scripts but not be aware
that their location is a little different on Linux.

- The Linux support guy just quit last week, so the Windows support guy has
been told to look after the Linux boxes from now on.

- After a company takeover, the little fish's Linux admin function has been
'centralised' in a different city where the big fish has its HQ.

- a Windows-only or Mac-only software development shop is thinking of
providing a Linux client for their product. One of the developers is told
to set up a Linux development environment (including Kimberly's repository)
and see what's involved.

And so on. Of course we shouldn't have to teach Linux or computing basics
in an application manual. It's reasonable to specify an assumed minimum
level of knowledge in the Preface. But you do need to be aware of how many
people you might be telling, "Sorry, we don't want your money. Try our

In my experience, a very common question for sysadmins to want to ask about
an software installation is "What are you going to change (or what did you
just change) on my system?" If Kimberly's product is likely to be installed
by some people who haven't done much Linux admin yet, and Kimberly's
company doesn't want to exclude some potential customers on the basis that
their sysadmin is unworthy, it's reasonable to provided them with the

To get back to the original question, in this situation if there were only
two or three items I would just list the full paths. More than that and I'd
go with Martha's style (italicized N).




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