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Installing software

Some readers have been saying that they want us to provide more detailed information about software installation in every issue. We already have the Newbie Zone pages and tutorials on the DVD each issue, but it seems they want more. Problem is, we're a bit unsure what to do - if we expanded Newbie Zone to six pages each issue it would mean regular readers would get six pages of nearly identical content each month: "how to install software" and such.

So, please post a comment below on what you'd prefer us to do. Unless you have another idea, your options are:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Add two or four pages to Newbie Zone, always covering how to install software
  3. Add two or four pages to Newbie Zone, covering a different super-newbie topic each month (installing software, getting new hardware to work, etc; there would be a list of four or so ideas we'd cycle through.

And if we're going to add content, should we try to make it distro agnostic, or should we try to focus it on a particular distro so that we can be specific?

I consider LXF to be a fairly expensive magazine, which makes me naturally averse to the idea of just reprinting text each issue. But if you guys think it would help newbies stick with Linux, then we could give it a shot. Over to you!

Your comments

Perhaps it would be possible

Perhaps it would be possible just to include some links to the LXF site (maybe there already are and I have just missed it). This could be kept up to date with changes in package management and any distro specific issues.

Perhaps you could add two or

Perhaps you could add two or four pages, covering a different super-newbie topic each month, no cycle, and keep topics in past issues on the dvd (pdf-documents) ?

Then you wouldn't have to reprint each issue.

Great magazine, btw!

I think that LXF website

I think that LXF website should have an area for new users where all these questions could be addressed. This area should be easy to read, with a lot of imagees, screen captures and flow diagrams explaining how to do the most basic tasks.

For me, one really good piece advise I didn't get when I was starting was to create a separate partition for /home.I believe that this reduces a lot the risk of losing your precious data if something goes really wrong. Well, that and a backup copy.The article that explained how to do automatic backups using Simple Linux Backup (LXF 92) should be there too.

Once you have your /home in a different partition and your backup, enjoy! You can try whatever you want, don't be afraid to experiment.

Put a section in the Wiki,

Put a section in the Wiki, add one line to the newbie page saying "for detailed installation instructions, see the dedicated LXF Wiki page at..."

It would allow people to enhance it for particular problematic packages, if they wanted to, though I suppose you might want to make the core of the page non-editable.

I vote for a really clear

I vote for a really clear link printed in the mag to a prominent area on the website.

...or expanding on Mats'

...or expanding on Mats' idea.

How about a permant/repeating newbie section solely on the DVD each month, giving in depth tutorials on the important stuff/basics. Then those of us who need this help know where it is, those that don't can simply ignore it :) Anyone wanting a paper copy can simply print their own.

You could then expand on/update these 'as and when' and not worry about page counts. :)

...I meant "permanent". :D

...I meant "permanent". :D

From a purely personal

From a purely personal perspective I wouldn't want more pages in the Newbie Zone, although covering a different newbie topic each month might be good.
The problem with putting the info on the website/wiki, is that people who are going to appreciate this information may not have access to the internet or have any desire to do so, particularly if they're using software from the coverdisc.
Therefore, I think the idea of putting some PDFs or webpage content on the DVD itself, might be the best idea.
Have you considered bundling a small booklet with the magazine especially for newbies? I've seen other mags do a similar thing (a booklet with their hardware A-lists or on a feature such as WiFi, for example)

Please don't expand the

Please don't expand the newbie section any further, it would be too much reprinted text. You're right, LXF is on the expensive side. I would second the suggestion of putting such stuff on the coverdisc. If there's no access to the internet, virtually no software installation would be taking place except from the disc anyway.

As a newbie, I'd definitely

As a newbie, I'd definitely appreciate more help/tutorials. Whether that comes on the DVD or 4-6 pages in the magazine itself is the decision for the Editors to make (and trust me, boys... I don't envy you!). That said... given the above options, I cast my vote for Option 3.

Option 1 will not help to expand interest in Linux or subscribers/readers to this magazine. Neither Option 1 or 2 merit the price of subscription, especially for us overseas subscribers (nearly $190 US Dollars!). I know purists will turn in their graves, but face it - the world is changing, so shut up and change with it or get left behind.

We're all motivated and intrigued by Linux for different reasons, but if our goal as Linux enthusiasts is "All your Windows are belong to Linux," as a Community, we need to make the transition as seamless as possible.

I beg your pardon... that's

I beg your pardon... that's Option 3 on the DVD!

I don't think adding to the

I don't think adding to the Newbie Zone is necessary, but I like the idea of rotating through the basic topics, and I like the ideas presented above. Putting a link to an online wiki in the Newbie Zone and reminding readers about other information on the DVD sounds great. I also appreciate the special issues, like "Linux Made Easy," that have been released.

Help freshies to come to

Help freshies to come to grips with Linux by explaining basic concepts. Why is it the way it is, really.
Do not guide them through a sequence of steps that will only be useful if they have that special problem. I think people are not stupid, give them something they can use to become thinking like Linux users they want to be.

No more newbie stuff in the

No more newbie stuff in the magazine.
DVD is where it should go, few experienced users resort to the DVD for software, etc., unless they are on dialup.

Hmmm... (a) Software

(a) Software installation from tarballs may be difficult to newbies anyway - you know, dependencies and stuff.

(b) On the other hand, most mainstream distributions have their package managers.


1) Keep the two "New to Linux" pages.
2) Eliminate/reduce unnecessary photos, logos, etc. ("Cuteness" does not count as information, there...)
3) Write in smaller letters, use less blank space.
4) Present the instructions for (a) and (b) separately, and do include links/pointers to additional details on the site/cover disk.

Well, I think my basic point here is: make better use of the space already available.

And last but not least, congratulations on a great magazine! Thank you, and keep up the good work!

I vote yay for more content

I vote yay for more content to help newbies, but don't take away any more space in the mag, as a subscriber id rather not have to pay to re read the same thing every month. Put it on the DVD and website with clear information about it in the mag, so basically a "For detailed information see blah blah blah" on the Newbie section.

Hi all, Thanks for the

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback and ideas. What we're currently considering is this:

1) Keeping the 'New to Linux' section on the DVD, with its introductions to Linux terminology, command line basics and an overview of installing software.

2) Wikifying some magazine articles such as Compiling made easy and Error messages explained, so that we (and the community) can keep them up-to-date.

We want to make sure that there's not too much fragmented documentation floating around, so hopefully that system will work. I could take a snapshot of the wiki articles each month and put them on the DVD -- what do you think?

We're also going to make it clearer in the mag and on the disc interface how to get hold of this documentation. Thanks again for the feedback, and let us know what you think of the changes when they happen (hopefully from LXF113 onwards!).


Mike, "Wikification" (oh


"Wikification" (oh :-), what a word!) works well. It will help the "new newbies" and the "old newbies" (myself), can be improved with time and is accessible from/to everyone. And yeah, those without an Internet connection can look in the DVD.

Nice and simple!

Surely it is impossible to

Surely it is impossible to be anything but a Linux newbie?! However much knowledge you acquire it will likely become outdated quickly or new problems will arise!

A wiki is a good idea - we may want to have a means of moderating content though - we don't want to become like wikipedia (which is always right...!!! :D). Taking snapshots will help those guys without internet connections.

However, what about a page or two which answers questions involving common Linux fallacies. (i.e. that installation is difficult, linux is hard to use, you can't get many windows apps working, etc.)

And a distro-agnostic approach would be good. Though I'm a Ubuntu user and find your Ubuntu tips very handy, I'm sure it agitates people not using this debian-based distro. After all, if you include rpms then Ubuntu users could always use the repos or alien.

Hey Mike, Great idea about

Hey Mike,

Great idea about a constantly updating wiki, but will someone be monitoring 3rd party entries...?

I mean we don't want any input from the jokers you warned us about in the 'command line catastrophies' article....


Definitely -- Mediawiki

Definitely -- Mediawiki makes it easy to see who has changed what (and usually why), so I don't think that'll be a problem. (Touch wood...)


Instead of extending the

Instead of extending the newbie page of mag, just create .pdf files on cover disc with additional stuff instead.
OR just create a folder for newbies on the cover disc, with all the repetitive stuff there and new additions added as and when. The mags. expensive to publish so why not just make use of the cover disc instead and use the extra space on the mag. for new stuff?

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