A "HOW IT WORKS" sub-forum idea

Dear colleagues!

Oldcpu encouraged me to public this idea for discussion, so I just copy and paste my letter.

The aim of this idea is the following. We usually look into FAQ’s and “how to”-s for getting the right result in the operating system functionality. So, our society is divided in two groups - the ones, who know where the necessary .log files are and what each of the line of requested .log file does mean, and the other group of guys/gals wanting the system “just to work in this and this way”… (added just now - and the border between those two is floating) And there is a group that wants to know what exactly kernel or driver, or application does at the definite stage of its functioning. I’m the one of them.

Googling for the answer of “what exactly does mean the line 13 in thatsnoneofyourbusiness.log” very often gives an annoying absence of relevancy, and dominating value of manuals is also “how to”, so don’t you think that it would be useful for one who wants to understand what’s going on with computer to create a group of threads with headline ‘HOW IT WORKS’? It also can be an “How to”, but already “How to find the correct .log and understand what’s written there?”

I understand that’s not easy and it’s a really titanic job.

Do you mean, that for example the hplip, which is written in python and located /usr/share/hplip and and explaining how the coding works?

First. Thank you! I didn’t expect such quick answer to my post.


Why not? There can be a guy, who wants to know… Or even me - I feel I ought to study python: many even “non-Linux” applications use it, e. g. ESRI’s ArcGIS. According to the thread itself - first time I’ve thought hard at this point was setting of video driver. “If there is init3, then there’s also init2 and init1. What do they do?” And I’ve still a very approximate answer to this.

Startup and Run Levels Hope this helps.

See, I was reading a book called “Pro Bash Programming: Scripting the GNU/Linux Shell” and in the first chapter they have you do some hello world scripts. Not knowing alot about bash, when I saw things like %s /%n it confused me. When I got to the next chapter, yes, I am a little impatient, it was explained.

have a look here, there is also 0,S and 6 :wink:

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel
up 5 days 20:42, 2 users, load average: 0.11, 0.09, 0.02
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

hi 24DAC,

perhaps you just need to begin on page one of LINUX: Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition and work your way slowly and deliberately (moving to the next item when you have mastered the first) front to back…it is written especially to build up knowledge and understanding…

i believe when you have done that (a couple of times) you will have most of your answers if as you go though that GENERIC Linux “text book” you use other resources to fill in the gaps and answer your questions as they arise…

here is a short list of other readily available, online and FREE sources (since i believe it is important to learn both specific to openSUSE and generic to Linux i include both, specific first):


while looking at this answer in the forum, look up and hover your mouse over openSUSE, then click on “Wiki”

from there you can link to several sources:

on the left are links for:

-Documentation with links to User Documentation (installable on your system, Configuration, HOWTOS, etc

-Support Database

-Support, with links to Mailing lists (for several subjects and in many languages), IRC, Usenet, etc

-Official openSUSE Documentation: Novell Doc: OpenSUSE 11.2 - Table of Contents

and, there are multiple other net based openSUSE specific resources…a few of those are:

Category:Beginners Guides - openSUSE
SUSE & openSUSE tutorials,howtos,tips,tricks, troublehooting
Linux: Queensland I.T. Solutions. Brisbane Linux Microsoft Windows
Welcome to openSUSE-Community.org - openSUSE-Community
openSUSE 11.2 | SUSE Linux | Beginner’s guide to multimedia codecs MP3 DVD 3D nvidia ati wireless

GENERIC Linux resources–do NOT overlook these as they are both staggering, and indispensable as the BASICS which (with some
exceptions) apply to all distributions, a few of my favorites are:
Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition* LINUX: Rute User’s Tutorial and Exposition*

Linux Knowledge Base/Tutorial* Linux Knowledge Base and Tutorial

The Linux Command Line by William Shotts, Jr. The 500 page pdf download: Download LinuxCommand from SourceForge.net

Tille’s Site Tille’s Homepage

Linux Documentation Project The Linux Documentation Project

Linux Documentation Project/Guides The Linux Documentation Project: Guides with links to:

  • Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
  • Bash Guide for Beginners
  • Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
  • GNU/Linux Command-Line Tools Summary
  • The Linux System Administrators’ Guide
  • Pocket Linux Guide
  • Linux Dictionary
  • Linux From Scratch
  • Securing & Optimizing Linux: The Ultimate Solution
  • The Linux Network Administrator’s Guide, Second Edition
  • Linux Administrator’s Security Guide
  • Linux System Administration Made Easy
  • and others

FLOSS Manuals CommandLineIntro (en)

The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever Read http://www.letslearnlinux.com/susebl...guide_ever.pdf

and, do not forget <Linux> - Google Search](http://www.google.com/linux)

oh! and Novell (and many others, say community and technical colleges) have accredited and industry recognized courses available, maybe online…i have no idea how good they are, how much they cost or if you would be happy with the price…

plenty to do, huh?

But why does this need a special forum? You would have to create a parallel forum for every existing technical forum, one for those who just want a quick fix, and one for those people who want a longer explanation. Why not just say in your question that you would like an explanation with reasoning instead of just do this and that? I’m sure that those people who know would be happy to tailor their answer to your request.

To add to the confusion. We do have an SDB haven’t we. I think as an example SDB:Basics of partitions, filesystems, mount points - openSUSE is in the category you want. But there is much more there.

Isn’t the problem more: “how do we advertise what is where” allready (and add neew ones there), then that we generate a new bunch of the same/new documentation. in a new place?

Well, let it NOT be a special forum, thogh I think it’s more useful to get the truth in questions and answers… “Why not just say…” Because each question will be a new branch. By the way, did you notice that all the posts with advise to visit this or that are hyperlinks to HOW_TO’s (including NovellDoc, the one I’ve downloaded the first 10 pdf’s of 12 available half a year ago)
Let me try to explain my point of view again. It’s already 22 years as I know what exactly does the most conservative part of each computer - BIOS. Then it activates the master boot record (MBR). MBR loads kernel and addresses it to configuration files. And so on. Where is described the area of responsibilities of such files in documents?

Yes, Mr. van Velden, we have SDB. Believe me, I’m not aggressive, I just want to understand, why exactly the first partition MUST BE swap, then “/” (without quotes, of course), and only then - all the rest of them. And I’m very far of thoughts that it’s only me the one who could be interested in such aspects

Then maybe a sticky for HOW THIS PART IS FUNCTIONING with hyperlinks could be useful?

Thanks, DenverD, I had not find them at the moment I wrote the first post. I’ll look thru them. Hope I’ll find the things I need.

And thank you for your attention!


THANK YOU, Jonathan_R!!!

I think we are going off topic by discussing the contents of my example instead of the fact that I try to point to a place where wikis are with documentation (and that I thus try to further one place of having them, we can stop with the wiki and put everything there in forums threads in principle or the other way around).

But I will nevertheless then make a short comment on your comment on the contents.
. I do not think that document states that the first partition MUST BE for swap, etc.
. The document not going to much into details (being a “Basics …”) it could be that it is true that the first partition MUSTBE …, which is not so.
. A lot of sytems presenting here their partition table (because they have some problem) have NOT their first partition as Swap. They often have allready a Windows system on their first partition.
. You can even have no swap partition at all, but an not used first partition to compensate for this is not needed.
. You can have more then one swap partition on a system and thus only one could (but must not) be on the first partition.
. Thus you can stop trying to understand why the first partition MUST BE …

And of course when the source of the idea you have about this is some documentation you once read on the Internet, I am sorry but there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet and I am not quite sure how I can convince you that the document in the SDB is better then what you found, but I can also not guarantee that any thread in a forum here is flawless regardless if it is a problem thread or a documentation thread.

A-ha!!! One pretty news! Dear hcvv (sorry, my first ‘Mr. van Velden’ is too formal, and I don’t think I have already a right to call you "Dear Henk’). We really went off topic discussing partitioning, and yes, I agree that our SDB is the one of the best info sources. If the post of mine was sounding as an attack, then I’m begging your pardons. At last I know, that it’s normal to put swap as the last partition in order to have freedom to manipulate with the size of my /home the way I’d like to and there isn’t a definite standard that requests to start the Linux-oriented part of the HDD with swap. My sda15 - swap is not a mistake!!!

But do you know how many doubts there were when I was thinking “Did I place it right?”

That’s why I made such suggestion. It’s more useful, when the advices about initial stage (I mean one or two levels higher than harware functioning) are made by the ones who realy DO KNOW how it works, than to make oppinion by oftenly contradictive data from different sources. I’m absolutely sure that no one will create a manual of such kind: “If anything goes wrong look into the .log and think - there’s everything you need”

Too pessimistic?

IMHO this should be in a wiki. Maybe already is, don’t have much time for searching around now.

You may call me Henk, nothing against it.

As I see it, the big problem with all this documentation is that when you have a document describing one aspect to the last bit, nobody (at least no beginner) will read even more then two lines of it. Out of this idea I am the original writer of this SDB document because I saw a lot of threads here, were people used words they heard somewhere, but did not have the slightest idea what they were talking about and that lead to completely wrong, or for the OP ununderstable advices. The document being a Wiki, my idea of having only basics in it (to make noobs reading it to the end) was apparently well understood by those who made improvements in it. And It makes me realy happy when I refer people here to it and they come back saying something ike: Thank you, that makes a lot of things clear. After all it is not that difficult and there is no magic. There is only the false rumours (like you had one).

And that is where I come back to your request. There are some aproved Howto’s here on the Forums and they are very usefull. Why? Because they are not threads in fact at all. They are documentation put in the Forums to be found easily by Forums users. IMHO they belong to the SDB/Wiki, but it seems to be difficult for openSUSE users to go to the Download pages for downloads, to go for he SDB/Wiki for documentation and to go for the Forums for questions.

But take a look at the unrevised Howtos in the Forum. They are unusable because they are a discussion. You often have to read them to the very end to get al the changes, and “this can be done better” and even “that is sily, in fact it is like…” (but then put more politely). And on reaching the end you still have no idea about what is the Best Practice here.

I know that the perfect way of bringing knowledge to every openSUSE user on the level of her/his understanding and up to the level they want to go, is a very difficult one. And I think that a lot of the things you want to know can be found on the Internet. Do not only look specific for Linux, but also for Unix docs.
And when you still are stuck, start a thread in “Looking For Something Other Than Support?”. At least I (but a lot more are eager to share their knowledge) am very willing to help you there either with pointing to a usefull link or by a real time discussion.

As you do not know if you can trust a source on the Internet, these Forums are on the Internet and how do you know you can trust them? I found strange things here :wink:

Also, when I am not asked for something particular (either directly by a question on a thread, or by seeing that there is lack of knowledge in general and I am posting the same things again and again) am not going to pick one subject of the very very many there are. Do not forget Unix (and thus a lot of Linux knowledge) is more then 40 years of age (my first contact with it was around 1970) and where there are volumes and volumes of knowledge (either in print or on the net) you must make a start with some questions, search on the net, and eventualy ask here (when you think people here can help). I am not goiing to copy/rewrite all those volumes in a Howto/Thread here.