Prerequisite skills?

Tushar Teredesai tush at
Mon Sep 23 14:55:21 PDT 2002

Nathan Ladd wrote:

>I'm going to disagree with you slightly--#lfs and the mailinglists are 
>getting lots of questions that are answered in documentation throughout the 
>book--clearly people are skipping those sections!  That's what's annoying 
>for the people that answer them (timothy :P )--if they read the entire book 
>and followed instructions and read the needed references, then there 
>wouldn't be a problem.  The 'n00bs' only read from chapter 5 up until they 
>see that the next title says "reboot the system" (they probably don't even 
>read that page).  A list of prereqs would sit nicely in one of the first 
>chapters, but it wouldn't get read by those who need it.
>Here's where it gets complicated--LFS is a cohesive book, and as such a 
>remider in the chapters where they're cutting n pasting like mad would 
>detract from the writing style in the book.  Then again, I don't have to 
>put up with all the lame question that the editors do, and maybe they'd 
>prefer to interject at some point with a reminder of prerequisite skills if 
>they felt it reduced lame questions.
>So basically I think the idea is good, but we're dealing with people who 
>blindly cut n paste thru only half the book and may not be likely to even 
>notice it, much less heed it.
I was thinking of exactly the same thing y'day, the fact that it is so 
easy for someone to cut & paste is responsible for people skipping the 
sections. To be honest, for my first install, I did just that and got to 
the end of the book, rebooted and (thankfully) it worked. But the fact 
is I had not learnt much during the process. Once I realized that, I 
removed the entire installed partition and then followed the book but 
instead of cut & paste, I typed each command manually (including the sed 
commands that were in the book at that time) and I realized the 
significance of each step and what difference a missing backslash makes:)

Perhaps the solution to improve the learning experience is to not make 
it so easy for someone to just copy and paste. Interspace commands and 
comments together (the same way most of the hints do). Keep each patch 
seperate, and give information on what it does. Things like that. Not 
meant as a disrespect, but make it so that it more resembles a book 
rather than a manual. I noticed the same thing in the BLFS book, 
conversion of many of the hints to the book made the instructions quite 

Now I will go hide before the bricks hit me...

Tushar Teredesai
LFS ID: 1377

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