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From: c...@titan.ucs.umass.edu (CHRISTOPHER M MAY)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 20 May 1994 19:50:30 GMT
Organization: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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Hi, I just saw a solicitation for "volunteer hardware experts"
to write for the AutoConfiguration Project for Linux International.

What is the general consensus on this project?
As I have yet to volunteer any services (I need to get through
school, and I have a job), I would like to know what people
think.  My first impression is that this project is somewhat unnessesary.

IMHO:
Linux isn't for the feint of heart when it comes to computer knowledge.
It's really for those who want to push the envelope of what their PC
can do, under a multitasking Unix-like OS.

Do we really want people who can't tell a jumper from a gender-mender
using this OS?  Can they possibly contribute to it's progress?

It sounds to me like a big effort to sell some people (i.e. newbies)
something they don't really want, by hiding some of the complexity of 
the system from them.

I forget, is LI a "non-profit" organization which is truly working 
for the betterment of Linux?  Why did they post outside the Linux
groups _FIRST_?  I keep up with these groups alot, and if it had been
handled correctly, I might have joined.  From what I remember, though,
it seems that the general linux community was against their autoconfig
project.  Please inform me, I don't know it all when it comes to linux
politics.  I don't want to rub anybody the wrong way, but seems like
a furthering of the fragmentation that we're seeing so much of lately.

Can't people just work on drivers and real hardware support, and leave
the distributions as they are?
--

-Chris May, Computer Science, University of MA, Amherst
-	Technical Assistant, P.C. Maintenance Lab

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From: pdcr...@iinet.com.au (Patrick D'Cruze)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Re: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 21 May 1994 18:33:20 +0800
Organization: iiNET Technologies
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c...@titan.ucs.umass.edu (CHRISTOPHER M MAY) writes:

>Hi, I just saw a solicitation for "volunteer hardware experts"
>to write for the AutoConfiguration Project for Linux International.

>I forget, is LI a "non-profit" organization which is truly working 
>for the betterment of Linux?  Why did they post outside the Linux
>groups _FIRST_?  I keep up with these groups alot, and if it had been
>handled correctly, I might have joined. 

Point of fact.  We didn't post to the comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware
newsgroups first.  We made a posting to comp.os.linux.announce almost
a full week BEFORE the postings to the ibm newsgroups.

>From what I remember, though,
>it seems that the general linux community was against their autoconfig
>project.  Please inform me, I don't know it all when it comes to linux
>politics.  I don't want to rub anybody the wrong way, but seems like
>a furthering of the fragmentation that we're seeing so much of lately.

We're not attempting to introduce any fragmentation at all or to get
involved in any politics.  Linus and the other kernel developers have not
decided to use the loabale modules within the Linux kernel due to a number
of concerns they have about it.  Hence it is an "unsupported" modification.
They are working on a more robust version though.  This has nothing to do
with autoconfiguration though.  We're just attempting to get a few people
together to work on a "plug and play" package for Linux which should work
for both loadable drivers technologies.  We have not voiced support for
either implementation but rather for both.

As for whether this is a good thing or a bad thing - each person will have
opinions.  I believe that this is a just a little thing which is going
to make Linux easier to setup.  Its not going to reduce the complexity
of the system in any way and is not going to have much of an impact upon
newbie users.  I could be wrong here but I thought the whole point
of using a computer was to unload as much of the work onto the computer
as possible.  Why should I have to go and manually set IRQ's, DMA
addresses, specify which cards I've got, etc when I could get the
computer to do it all?  Its one less task I have to do in maintaining
and configuring my system.

>Can't people just work on drivers and real hardware support, and leave
>the distributions as they are?

Why can't people work on drivers and real hardware support AND distributions?
The 2 are not mutually exclusive.

>--

>-Chris May, Computer Science, University of MA, Amherst
>-	Technical Assistant, P.C. Maintenance Lab

Patrick D'Cruze					pdcr...@orac.iinet.com.au
Linux International

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From: by...@cc.gatech.edu (Byron A Jeff)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development,comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Linux for the masses? (WordProcessing again)
Followup-To: comp.os.linux.misc
Date: 21 May 1994 14:27:11 -0400
Organization: Georgia Institute of Technology
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In article <1994May21.000155.9...@kf8nh.wariat.org>,
Brandon S. Allbery <b...@kf8nh.wariat.org> wrote:
>In article <2rj4a6$...@nic.umass.edu>, c...@titan.ucs.umass.edu (CHRISTOPHER M MAY) 
says:
>+---------------
>| Linux isn't for the feint of heart when it comes to computer knowledge.
>| It's really for those who want to push the envelope of what their PC
>| can do, under a multitasking Unix-like OS.
>+------------->8
>
>To make it short and unsweet:  if you want an operating system For Hackers
>Only, use *BSD.
>
>Does it *offend* you that someone might want to make a *ix usable without
>having to be a Unix God?  Why?  Why do you need to argue against *any* attempt
>to produce a non-hackernix, even if it can't/won't prevent you from using a
>hackernix if that's what you prefer?  (Not that I want to hear the answer; I'm
>not a psychoanalyst.)

This is an important point. Linux is quickly becoming bigger than all of us
and a lot of novice users who are open minded are starting to try it.
I at least offer it as an alternative to folks because the software is
free and Linux can wring many more uses out of your machine than DOS/Windows.

Where we're having problems breaking through is with the simple core software
base that many unix OS's don't have because they've never been in the
personal computer market with all the feature and the right price before.
(meaning that Unixware and Mark Williams didn't have the features, while
SCO and Intel SVR4 didn't have the price. Linux has both).

The last two installations I've done have been for novices. I'm batting
500 right now (one is still working with Linux, the other not). Let me
share some perceptions:

1) The lemming syndrome: novices need to be able to be part of a group
   that share similar software. Brand name is a monster in the PC software
   business. The best example of this is xspread: Unix product, runs on
   Linux, looks and acts like lotus 1 2 3. A novice linux user can go
   and get basic commands and whatnot from Lotus users and books. It gives
   them a sense of comfort to them.

2) Documentation: We're doing pretty good here. The LDP has excellent books
   available. Also all the "Unix for Dummies" type books on the market are
   starting to fill the gap. The one thing that's yet to be written is
   the type of 15-20 printable manual for each application that in tutorial
   fashion shows users how to use an application without assuming that they
   already know how to use it. Most experts understand that an editor is an 
   editor is an editor, but we get that from experience. So having a tutorial
   document is a good thing.

3) Word Processing: I've finally figured out that outside of the expert class
   that folks really only use computers to write documents. I can name
   a dozen folks that I work with that only used their machines to write
   documents until I introduced them to E-mail, which is essentially a
   another document tool. We need a word processor that native to the
   platform. I know that it's been kicked around before but I have a new
   twist to add: It needn't be complicated. Most of the ideas that have kicked
   around have centered around complex issues like object based semantic 
   models and SGML layout architecture. But at heart there are only 5 or
   6 essential tasks that a WP needs to perform:

   1) Getting text into a document (obviously)
   2) Applying attributes to portions of the text (fonts, size, bold, italics)
   3) Printing
   4) The ability to include graphics
   5) WYSIWYG
   6) Simple interface for commands.
   7) On-line and offline documentation
   
   Before you add more (and there is probably more) ask youself how often
   any other feature is used by the average user. Remember also that we
   already have tools for doing complicated layouts. The key to a good
   WP is that it performs that average WP tasks and not much else.

   I light of this I have a new proposal for getting a simple WP off the
   ground: start with an existing product and extend it into the WP arena.
   I have not yet seen or run Harry's WP yet which may do the job but I'll
   start with an example I'm familiar with: JOE.

   JOE is a simple editor. JOE also has innovative features for an editor 
   (help that stays up while you edit, multiple windows), and has the start
   of rudimentary WP functions. And it's simple which is the most important
   thing. Most importantly JOE doesn't intimidate folks with hard to use
   interfaces or massive complexity. Type joe and start typing. Doesn't
   get much simpler than that. I'm partial to it because I can introduce it
   to novice users (like my 10 YO, or my parents) and they pick it up
   quickly.

   Right now JOE and fullfill items 1 and 7 on my list and these are the
   ideas that I have for the others:

   2) Attributes: Seems to me that SGML has the right procedural model
      for attributes: just tag them with text. So it you want something
      in bold Century 15 pt just tag it:

      [Cent-b-15]This is Century bold 15 text.[def] and some more text
      in regular format.

      Keep it in regular text so that simple editors can edit it and it 
      can be mailed or processed with text tools.

   3) Printing wise I think the tools already exist: simply convert to
      PostScript and Print it out. Or convert the above tags into something
      else. The important thing is that the ability to print should be
      able to happen from the app without leaving it.

   4) Included graphics: Encapulated postscript is an obvious choice. Include
      graphics just like xfig does. Supply a bounding box and the graphic
      will go right in. Question: is there a linux tool that is Like Xpaint
      for VC's. Seems it would be simple to create using the SVGA lib.

   5) WYSIWIG: I'm a believer in text based applications because I've seen
      many situations where one works from terminal, over modems, telnet
      links and the like. So both a text based and X based display model
      need be addressed:

      text: The most important thing is that the app computes the amount of
            space each character takes and only show an appropriate number
            of character for each line. Something in 30 point should only
            show 5 characters to the line if that's all that fits.
            
            The Second most important thing is to somehow highlight the
            attributes for the text. The color console model will be good
            for this. And I think that simply highlighting text that has
            attributes attached for mono terminals is sufficient.

         X: Obviously an X tool can show everything is it's proper form.
            And it should be used when at all possible. How difficult
            would it be to build a TCL/TK front end? I've only played with
            it briefly.

   6) Simple Interface for commands: solution is to use the mouse when at
      all possible. Attribute selection should be done by doing a selection
      type drag over the text, hitting a button, and choosing an attribute.
      the attribute will then be applied to the selected text and the 
      document will adjust to reflect any text changes.

      Also arrow and control key commands should be available so that
      terminal users can still work.

Anyway given these criteria (and I'll gladly accept any other suggestions)
how difficult would be be to either adapt JOE (or HWP) or generate a new
application?

I of course know the charge of "You dreamed it up. You write it!" But I'm
unfortunately too deep in my research to do anything else right now.

Anyway not having something simple to create documents is really hurting 
Linux expansion and the non native tools (like WordPerfect or Word for
DOS) can't do the complete job. Plus it always raises the question "If
I'm running WordPerfect anyway then waht difference does it make under which
OS?"

We need to somehow develop something that simple, different, and better.

I'm aware of the WORD mailing list folks but frankly we haven't heard
a whole lot from them lately. The Linux tide is being stemmed for the lack
of a basic yet essential tool. And this can be complementary to a richer
and more powerful tool. But I think this is something we need to do in
typical Linux fashion: Get it out quickly, let people bang on it, improve
it 'til it's acceptable, then distribute the hell out of it.

Comments accepted, flames ignored.

Later,

BAJ
-- 
---
Another random extraction from the mental bit stream of...
Byron A. Jeff - PhD student operating in parallel!
Georgia Tech, Atlanta GA 30332   Internet: by...@cc.gatech.edu

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From: c...@titan.ucs.umass.edu (CHRISTOPHER M MAY)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Re: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 23 May 1994 05:28:34 GMT
Organization: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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Well, I didn't mean to turn up the burner, but I guess I asked for it.

Death by fire, how pure.  
--

-Chris May, Computer Science, University of MA, Amherst
-	Technical Assistant, P.C. Maintenance Lab

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From: becker@cesdis (Donald Becker)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Re: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 23 May 1994 15:16:13 -0400
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I know I was a little put off by the posting.  I've probably spent
twice as much time writing and debugging the autoprobe and autoIRQ
code for the network devices drivers as I spent writing the run-time
part of the drivers.  Linux does far more more extensive network
device probing than any other PC-based operating system that I know
of, yet the posting clearly stated that probing for network cards was
a weak area. 


-- 
Donald Becker				 bec...@cesdis1.gsfc.nasa.gov
USRA Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences.
Code 930.5,  Goddard Space Flight Center,  Greenbelt, MD.  20771

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From: nel...@crynwr.crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Re: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 24 May 1994 02:29:46 GMT
Organization: Crynwr Software
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In-reply-to: becker@cesdis's message of 23 May 1994 15:16:13 -0400

In article <2rqvdt$...@cesdis1.gsfc.nasa.gov> becker@cesdis (Donald Becker) 
writes:

   I know I was a little put off by the posting.  I've probably spent
   twice as much time writing and debugging the autoprobe and autoIRQ
   code for the network devices drivers as I spent writing the run-time
   part of the drivers.  Linux does far more more extensive network
   device probing than any other PC-based operating system that I know
   of, yet the posting clearly stated that probing for network cards was
   a weak area. 

Yup, he screwed up.  I ping'ed him on this, and he said:

"I was aware of this facility in the Ethernet drivers.  I wasn't so
much thinking about them as a few other things."

And he goes on to note that sound, video, and mouse detection is not
as good as the Ethernet.

--
-russ <nel...@crynwr.com>      ftp.msen.com:pub/vendor/crynwr/crynwr.wav
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support | ask4 PGP key
11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 (9201 FAX)    | Quakers do it in the light
Potsdam, NY 13676 | LPF member - ask me about the harm software patents do.

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From: pdcr...@iinet.com.au (Patrick D'Cruze)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.development
Subject: Re: Linux Intrntl & Auto Cfg project
Date: 25 May 1994 02:23:24 +0800
Organization: iiNET Technologies
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becker@cesdis (Donald Becker) writes:

>I know I was a little put off by the posting.  I've probably spent
>twice as much time writing and debugging the autoprobe and autoIRQ
>code for the network devices drivers as I spent writing the run-time
>part of the drivers.  Linux does far more more extensive network
>device probing than any other PC-based operating system that I know
>of, yet the posting clearly stated that probing for network cards was
>a weak area. 

My apologies for any negative inferences.  The use of network cards was
a bad example and it shouldn't have been used at all.

I was trying to emphasise support for any card that may be installed in
a PC (provided a compatible driver was available) and in my enthusiasm
put down as many cards as I could think of.  The one thing I definitely
shouldn't have put down is networking cards.

Once again I apologise for this oversight on my part.  Terribly sorry.


>-- 
>Donald Becker				 bec...@cesdis1.gsfc.nasa.gov
>USRA Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences.
>Code 930.5,  Goddard Space Flight Center,  Greenbelt, MD.  20771

Regards,
Patrick D'Cruze				pdcr...@orac.iinet.com.au
Linux International

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From: t...@uniplex.co.uk (Timothy Towers)
Subject: Re: Linux for the masses? (WordProcessing again)
Organization: Uniplex Ltd.
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 12:12:50 GMT
Message-ID: <Cqrr9F.86M@uniplex.co.uk>
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I know I'm biassed, but Uniplex sells a wordprocessor
which works on ascii terminals and is widely used
by industry.

The drawbacks are...
   It is not released for linux because there is no demand.
   It will cost.

PS uniplex software is not just a wordprocessor, but
a lotus-a-like spreadsheet and database all working
together too.

	Tim

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From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Linux for the masses? (WordProcessing again)
Message-ID: <1994Jun2.194314.19294@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
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<Cqrr9F.86M@uniplex.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 19:43:14 GMT
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In article <Cqrr9F....@uniplex.co.uk> t...@uniplex.co.uk (Timothy Towers) writes:
>I know I'm biassed, but Uniplex sells a wordprocessor
>which works on ascii terminals and is widely used
>by industry.
>
>The drawbacks are...
>   It is not released for linux because there is no demand.
>   It will cost.

If you are smart you'll grab the iBCS2 stuff as soon as its out of ALPHA
verify it works with Linux under that and post us all an announce.

Alan