Feeds

The Netbook Newbie's Guide to Linux

'F/X'

High performance access to file storage

Help with Help

When things go wrong - with any operating system - we panic. A healthy response: operating systems are complex machines that take a lot more understanding than we typically have time for. Linux, together with its associated applications and utilities, has the advantage of having been put together by extremely clueful people, many of whom are available on the Web, on forums, newsgroups or directly approachable by email.

That 'About Xfce' dialogue box we mentioned last time, for example, lists Xfce creator Olivier Fourdan's email address, along with the email addresses of the leading members of the Xfce development team. So you can drop a line to the man himself about any Xfce problems you encounter. In fact, in the early days of Xfce I did just that, and you can too.

About XFCE

But don't. At least not until you've read How to Ask Questions the Smart Way, which will urge you to exhaust other channels of information first. To quote Smart Way, Linux cognoscenti "have a reputation for meeting simple questions with what looks like hostility or arrogance. It sometimes looks like we're reflexively rude to newbies and the ignorant. But this isn't really true".

Smart Way is written by a couple of dyed-in-the-wool old Open Source hackers, so they would say that, wouldn't they? But hear them out: "What we are, unapologetically, is hostile to people who seem to be unwilling to think or to do their own homework before asking questions. People like that are time sinks - they take without giving back, and they waste time we could have spent on another question more interesting and another person more worthy of an answer. We call people like this 'losers' (and for historical reasons we sometimes spell it 'lusers')."

Smart Way is a lengthy read - hackers tend to be very thorough - but definitely worth it if you're a newbie questing into hacker territory in search of answers. Where, by the way, you'll be more than welcome, as long as you observe the mores. A good rule of thumb is to spend at least as much time thinking about and putting together your question as you would reasonably expect your responding hacker(s) to spend putting together an answer.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.