Make it EASY for noobs


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by bazza14 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:52 am
I've spent many hours recently trawling through these forums dredging up info to get my wifi usb dongle working. I'm an experienced linux user and did what I usually do to find an answer, have a look in the forum. Had I referred to the wiki first I would have saved myself a lot of time but it was entertaining and educational and I finally got hold of a working driver and learnt how to compile my own should the need arise (it's a bit different from how you do it on a 'big' distro'). I don't think the average linux noob would have seen it the same way hence the reason for this post. I think we should make it as easy as possible for them to get hold of the information they need to get up and running. A lot of the questions posed on here are answered more than adequately on the wiki so I think there should be a sticky (first entry) in the Basic Usage and Setup along the lines of ' There is an excellent wiki for the Raspberry which will probably have an answer to your question. Please refer to it before asking here. The wiki can be found here (link to wiki). There is also a supporting magazine called MagPi that is available here (link to magpi) '
There is one bit of vital bit info that should be made immediately obvious that is not and that's 'startx'. Reference to this should be made on the debian download item on the downloads page and as sticky here.
Finally, wifi, this is likely to the next thing the noob wants once s/he's got it all up and running. There are several posts in the forums already with various solutions (thanks guys I enjoyed reading your input) but they are duplicating work that has already been done and if you already have a central resource it's better that that gets used and updated, so again a sticky pointing to the list of known devices http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals and to the how to http://elinux.org/RPi_Peripherals with a few words of explanation . There are also a few blogs around with relevant info I particularly liked http://www.t3node.com/blog/sempre-wirel ... pberry-pi/ for it's clarity and simplicity.
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by redplanet44 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:27 am
Hi,I have also been using Linux for many years.I quite agree with bazza14.
There are many links on any forum,and some are excellent.But my experience over the years has been that "some experts"! seem to like to "show off" their expertize!!!! by practically re-building the entire
operating system to solve a problem that others manage in about three lines copied into a terminal.
How confusing this must be to newcomers is obvious.
Raspberry Pi,like any other enterprise needs these new converts if it is to succeed.
I know that this means somebody has to do the work.But I am sure there are some enthusiasts out there who would like to get involved.
People who actually "know" what they're doing of course!.
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by Joe Schmoe » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:44 am
In a very real sense, the RPi has already succeeded.

The goal was to sell 10,000 of them. That goal has been met several times over as of right now.
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by RichardUK » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:20 am
I read a Microsoft book many moons ago that was talking about writing solid code. Very interesting and a must read. In the book he made some very good observations which I think hold true when working with Linux and not just programming.

1) If the answer to your question includes 'try' it means they don't know the answer.
2) The sign of a good coder is simple looking code does a lot. A poor coder makes complicated looking code do little. This also holds true for 'howto' articles, so if the suggested fix to your issue is complicated then a good chance it's not the correct solution.

So yes I agree, we need to make sure all Wiki's and howto's are easy to follow for someone who does not know Linux.
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by bazza14 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:03 am
Nice to see that there has been some response to this post but before it wanders off track I just want to state that what I'm trying to put across is that there is a Wiki and that is where we should be putting our solutions. By all means help each other out but put the final result in the wiki. That way there is a central resource and an indexed one at that. You may also find that what you were going to offer as a solution is already in there which saves you the bother of duplicating the effort and it opens solutions up for peer review so that they can be refined.
The other thing I'm trying to get across is that the noob may not know where to look hence my comments about making stickies to point them to existing resources.
This project is just starting out and we are all pioneers. In a year or so there will be many thousands of posts in this forum and trawling through them will be tedious and some gems may well get buried forever. Lets pool our knowledge where the people that follow us can find it.
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by zfh10 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:59 pm
there are lots of people who, like me, can't even get their Pi working due to the flaky SD card situation. I have tried 4 cards, spent 12 hours trawling fora, Arch works but Debian doesn't.

So yeah, more support for noobs is needed. Lots of us are massively disappointed and frustrated.
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by Arch1mede » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:15 am
zfh10 wrote:there are lots of people who, like me, can't even get their Pi working due to the flaky SD card situation. I have tried 4 cards, spent 12 hours trawling fora, Arch works but Debian doesn't.

So yeah, more support for noobs is needed. Lots of us are massively disappointed and frustrated.


I just purchased a Transcend SDHC Class 10 16G card and it "seems" to be working with Debian Squeeze. I say "seems" due to reading that these work then they stop for some reason however, I did read that there was a new kernel that you could install that seems to resolve instability issues.
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by Wendo » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:44 am
One of the things that occured to me, would be for someone semi official to run repositories for the supported distro's. It would mean people could just apt-get (or whatever is equivilent on Arch etc) new kernels, these kernels could also be compiled with more drivers as modules.

It would also provide a simple upgrade path for the firmware files as well as new kernel releases and any number of other things.

It's much easier to say "Just apt-get update && apt-get upgrade and it'll work" than to say "Go here and download this, then download this other thing, then get the kernel headers, then an entire toolchain, then compile this module and make these udev rules and you're good to go"
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by itimpi » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:08 am
That is already in place for most of the distributions!
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by asb » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:25 am
Wendo wrote:One of the things that occured to me, would be for someone semi official to run repositories for the supported distro's. It would mean people could just apt-get (or whatever is equivilent on Arch etc) new kernels, these kernels could also be compiled with more drivers as modules.

It would also provide a simple upgrade path for the firmware files as well as new kernel releases and any number of other things.


The next official Debian release will have this.
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by AndrewS » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:42 am
Wendo wrote:It would also provide a simple upgrade path for the firmware files as well as new kernel releases and any number of other things.

Um, that's exactly what https://github.com/Hexxeh/rpi-update does :D
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by AndrewS » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:47 am
zfh10 wrote:So yeah, more support for noobs is needed. Lots of us are massively disappointed and frustrated.

I hate to sound trite, but at this stage the Raspi is still in the "development stage", not the "noob-ready stage" which will (apparently) be coming later in the year. So there's bound to be frustrations.
Although IMHO these forums are very noob-friendly :)
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by Steep » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:57 pm
RichardUK wrote:So yes I agree, we need to make sure all Wiki's and howto's are easy to follow for someone who does not know Linux.

zfh10 wrote:So yeah, more support for noobs is needed. Lots of us are massively disappointed and frustrated.


AndrewS wrote:I hate to sound trite, but at this stage the Raspi is still in the "development stage", not the "noob-ready stage" which will (apparently) be coming later in the year. So there's bound to be frustrations.
Although IMHO these forums are very noob-friendly :)


Giving this a punt since we've been discussing it elsewhere on the forums. Imo RichardUK and zfh10 are right here and the sooner the better. Andrew says ^ the RPi is still in the development stage, which is true but part of the development now should be a solid easy to follow guide and clear information set up which will then be tried and tested in time for the masses when they get their finished product RPi.
We've talked (elsewhere) about including a simple leaflet with the RPi with explanations of basic Linux commands (like apt-get, how to start X...) or a text file with the same info as part of the SD card image(s) that can sit alongside the config.txt

If the aim of the foundation is to attract more youngsters into programming they need to be able to get stuck in right away, not have to follow endless links to links to incomplete bits of information, which is very much the situation with Linux in general, Linux is not a newbie friendly environment.
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by Vassius » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:58 am
One problem I've seen quite frequently on this forum is a flood of low-quality answers which obscure the high-quality answers. Sometimes when a newbie asks a question with a fairly simple answer, there tend to be several irrelevant answers or investigative counter questions from users who try to be helpful but just lack the skill for it. This just leads to confusion and frustration when trying to ask a question.

Some sort of answer promotion system such as the one at Stack Overflow would be a big help in these cases.
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by jamesh » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:56 am
The Foundation is busy getting all this sort of documentation ready. As to scoring of posts, I think that may be a stretch for the forum software, and perhaps not what we are trying to encourage.
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by annodomini2 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:11 am
Vassius wrote:One problem I've seen quite frequently on this forum is a flood of low-quality answers which obscure the high-quality answers. Sometimes when a newbie asks a question with a fairly simple answer, there tend to be several irrelevant answers or investigative counter questions from users who try to be helpful but just lack the skill for it. This just leads to confusion and frustration when trying to ask a question.

Some sort of answer promotion system such as the one at Stack Overflow would be a big help in these cases.


Agree, or even just a basic like/dislike voting system.
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by abishur » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:23 pm
annodomini2 wrote:
Vassius wrote:One problem I've seen quite frequently on this forum is a flood of low-quality answers which obscure the high-quality answers. Sometimes when a newbie asks a question with a fairly simple answer, there tend to be several irrelevant answers or investigative counter questions from users who try to be helpful but just lack the skill for it. This just leads to confusion and frustration when trying to ask a question.

Some sort of answer promotion system such as the one at Stack Overflow would be a big help in these cases.


Agree, or even just a basic like/dislike voting system.


I've never seen something like that implemented on a forum... I have seen a general "Kudos" type system, where if you like a person's response you click on a button and then globally people can see how many clicks they've received such that when you see them speak you go "Oh, this person knows what he's talking about". You don't get to see which post they got a vote for nor can you unvote or dislike a post, just a general "this person is this helpful". It would be fun to have on the forum, but I know there are several more important tweaks that need to come first ;-)
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by Jim JKla » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:55 pm
Noob and Geek are not derogetory just names for the two ends of the same scale. :lol:

I have one major thing to add to all posts WHITE SPACE

The Wiki appears to be stable as stuff reches consensus it filters into the wiki and if the stuff there is wrong or out of date it can be corrected.

The forum is a good place to sort out problems but if your a noob look in the wiki first.

If your a Noob and the geek says something you do not understand click on their name on the post and send them a PM it stops the thread choking up and helps the geek wind down the jargon.

When a computer is a bare board you can bet it's not noob ready but if we have noob's here we can use them as testers. :mrgreen: :-)

We should be sorted by the time the schools go back after the summer. Thats when will start getting the Uber Noobs and hidious new jargon.

Wireless dongles are probably high on the list of things to address and I am working on documentation for blind login (A RPi without a monitor booted using ssh).

I've got it working and I have a semi ferral noob in tow trying the documentation out using PM messageing. When it's sorted it will go into the Wiki.

Considering I only got my RPi Thursday last I'm quite pleased with the results.

The last time I had this much fun with new hardware was the day I put 32k of roaches in my 16k Spectrum and if you know what I mean by that, then you have to be part of my generation.

The first home computers were easier there were only TV's as monitors they only had arial sockets (pre-scart) there were only two languages Basic and Machine code (for the home computer). :mrgreen:

Did I mention the cassette tapes Ahhhhhhh! You have no idea how lucky you are ;)
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

If you find a solution please post it in the wiki the forum dies too quick
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by bazza14 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:34 am
I agree with what Jim ^ said.
I also remember cassette decks and how I thought my 5 - 1/4 floppy drive was the business. The joy of being able to access any file at will without rewinding tapes and then watching the counter as you fast forwarded to where you hoped your program started :)
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by AndrewS » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:43 am
...and having to use a biro or pencil to wind the tape all back in when the casette-deck decided to go crazy and eat your tape :(

And talking of "tapes"... ;) :geek: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=8941
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by annodomini2 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:05 am
abishur wrote:
annodomini2 wrote:
Vassius wrote:One problem I've seen quite frequently on this forum is a flood of low-quality answers which obscure the high-quality answers. Sometimes when a newbie asks a question with a fairly simple answer, there tend to be several irrelevant answers or investigative counter questions from users who try to be helpful but just lack the skill for it. This just leads to confusion and frustration when trying to ask a question.

Some sort of answer promotion system such as the one at Stack Overflow would be a big help in these cases.


Agree, or even just a basic like/dislike voting system.


I've never seen something like that implemented on a forum... I have seen a general "Kudos" type system, where if you like a person's response you click on a button and then globally people can see how many clicks they've received such that when you see them speak you go "Oh, this person knows what he's talking about". You don't get to see which post they got a vote for nor can you unvote or dislike a post, just a general "this person is this helpful". It would be fun to have on the forum, but I know there are several more important tweaks that need to come first ;-)


http://www.theregister.co.uk

Like and dislike is useful, as it's truly democratic in that all views get expressed, rather than a popularity index.

Dislike is not popular from a US point of view, hence why Facebook and the like tend not to use it.

Some don't like it as it can cause arguments, but I feel the opposite, it causes discussion.
Last edited by annodomini2 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by annodomini2 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:06 am
Oh an can we change the font colour for hyperlinks while you're at it?
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by AndrewS » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:20 am
annodomini2 wrote:Oh an can we change the font colour for hyperlinks while you're at it?

That has to be one of the most common forum requests... which we're still waiting for :(
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6925
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by Jim JKla » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:56 am
I've added some Beginner stuff to the Wiki I would be gratful if we could get some Uber Geek views to make sure I have not made an arse of things.

There's a section on the raspi-config menu.

and there's one on doing a blind ssh login.

I've also added the required links to the beginner section.

Both of these are aimed at the Noob members of our community hence the sucking egg language just correct typos I don't need telling about them ;)
Noob is not derogatory the noob is just the lower end of the noob--geek spectrum being a noob is just your first step towards being an uber-geek ;)

If you find a solution please post it in the wiki the forum dies too quick
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by chorlton » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:22 am
Jim JKla wrote:I've added some Beginner stuff to the Wiki I would be gratful if we could get some Uber Geek views to make sure I have not made an arse of things.

There's a section on the raspi-config menu.

and there's one on doing a blind ssh login.

I've also added the required links to the beginner section.

Both of these are aimed at the Noob members of our community hence the sucking egg language just correct typos I don't need telling about them ;)


I couldn't find your wiki entries. could you include links?
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