It's one of those things we all know but we really can't do anything about it. It's time we did.
In the realm of Open Source software development the adage "good enough" is often interpreted as this software is good enough for general use.
It should read "good enough for me", speaking only from the software author's perspective.
Here's what I mean.
I recently received a call for help from one of our Reglue kids. Mitch is a bright 11 year old that wants to be a fighter pilot like his dad. Needless to say, he's loving different flight sims.
But his problem wasn't with his software...he was needing to traceroute a server for his dad. I haven't run traceroute for a while but I know that it pulls in curl and some other libraries so I just decided to show him how to use Traceroute the GUI. I've used it in Windows before and it is an adequate tool.
He downloaded the app from Sourceforge and we could go from there. Since it was in tar.gz format, I did a quick search for the instructions without invoking the ./package_name at the terminal.
Oh, I found the instructions.
You gotta be kidding me...right?
Whether or not this author was the author of the software or just the author for the tutorial, the "good enough for me" rule applied here perfectly. At the risk of boring you, let me paste those instructions here for you to see:
Download and install Open Visual Traceroute
Open the Terminal window and enter :
Then for 32bit and 64bit systems download and install the latest version with :
sudo unzip download -d /opt/
Extract the application icon to be used for the launcher and set permissions with :
sudo unzip -j org.leo.traceroute.jar */internet.png
sudo chmod +x startLinux.sh
3. Create an Open Visual Traceroute launcher
To create a Ubuntu Unity Desktop Launcher, create a desktop launcher file with :
sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/open-visual-traceroute.desktop
Then add the following information and save :
Name=Open Visual Traceroute
GenericName=Open Visual Traceroute
X-GNOME-FullName=Open Visual Traceroute
Comment=Open Visual Traceroute
Exec=gksudo /bin/sh startLinux.sh
Then add the path to the latest version and icon in the launcher with:
echo "Path=$(eval pwd)" >> /usr/share/applications/open-visual-traceroute.desktop
echo "Icon=$(eval pwd)/internet.png" >> /usr/share/applications/open-visual-traceroute.desktop
And for the record, we did install traceroute at the command line and we ran traceroute domain.com. He now knows how to do that but to get this GUI up and running?
I realize that this person did his best and really put a lot of work into getting this done, but it's obviously not the answer for any new Linux User, regardless of age.
What did I do?
I had him download and extract the tar.gz into his home directory then open the folder and right click on startLinux.sh. From there I had him choose properties and then permissions. I told him to check the box that said "allow executing file as program."
While I did show him how to change permissions using the chmod tool, I just had him click on startLInux.sh in the file browser and we were off and running.
How friggin' easy was that? Why are people supplying instructions that are way too complex for the new user? I know the answer to that question. It's rhetorical in nature.
"Because it's good enough for me"
Folks, it doesn't always have to happen the hard way. When we're providing tutorials or help on the web, remember you don't know who's going to be reading it. I think making sure you provide an answer to suit all levels of users might be a good idea.
I'm no longer concerned with Linux "world domination". I want new Linux Users to feel comfortable in their environment.....
Not scare them away from it.