For a while now I've felt that there should be more documentation for the linux beginner than there is. The best guide to using linux I've found is written for debian. I thought it would be nice to write something for Fedora.
The documentation is for a computer
newbie. That means that there will be no comparisons with Windows, OS X etc. If I can't explain things without refering to other OS's then I might as well not bother.
The documentation is not
for dummies. There's no such thing: a monkey could learn to use a computer but, strangely enough, my far more intelligent mother has difficulties with even the smallest task. The problem imo is ignorance -> fear of the unknown. Computers aren't hard to understand and once you do everything becomes a whole lot easier. So the manual will
go into detail but without
sounding like a computer science professor.
Here's the basic layout I've come up with so far:
1) Bash Tutorial
You're going to have to learn it eventually so it might as well be now. I also thought it would be a good way to explain how programs work in linux (pipe) and also to give a guided tour of the system. It would generally be a nice place to learn some of the background of linux
2) Guided tour of gnome
Once the CLI stuff is covered the GUI stuff should be a breeze. Not much to do here since Gnome already has good documentation. More importantly it's a good way to introduce them to the concept of X.
3) installing new packages
I'm not sure whether to include up2date
and Add/Remove Applications (Redhat-config-packages)
here or in the chapter above. Either way, they're both fairly self explanatory so descriptions on how to use them will be brief.
It'll really start with yum
and its common uses. I'll mention the unofficial faq here as well since it has a nice yum.conf.
After yum comes rpm
because that's where you'd have to go next if you can't find a program at the yum repository. This is where I'll explain what rpms are, how they work and how they relate to redhat.
Now we go back to yum and have a look at yum.conf. I want to give an explanation of how this works so that users can add repositories if they need to.
Finally we delve into compiling source code and maybe even building rpms (once I've gained some experience doing this myself
4) Shell Scripts
They're used by installers, config files etc and you're bound to come across them sooner or later so it's a good idea to be able to understand them if you ever need to read or even edit them. Will probably include, or start with, a basic tutorial.
And that's it!
I realise that the whole thing is quite CLI intensive but that's ok because (well designed) GUIs are intuitive anyway and users can usually work them out on their own. Personally, I use a combination of both interfaces and I suspect most linux users are the same.
The idea is to lead with practical examples and then explain them afterwards with the theory, perhaps hinting at things covered later in the tutorial. The whole tutorial should provide quite a lot of background to how linux and fedora works and, most importantly, give the end user confidence in using the OS.
Any thoughts/input/insults apreciated. I've just realised that I haven't even mentioned run levels or rescuing linux using the bootCD or creating boot diskettes etc. Any other things that I've left out?
Thanks for any feedback/participation.