Good idea, including whether it is necessary in the first place.
The first and second (1990 and 1991) editions of TFM were put
together in a few days. In subsequent editions, production
times have INcreased to months and years, without any significant
improvements. By "significant", I do not mean "typesetting improvements",
the addition of "lifestyle chapters", or "rewriting in wannabe-hip
schizo-babble style". Why is it so? I can't explain the irrationality
or masochistic tendencies of individuals.
TFM's original functions were:
- to raise money for equipment purchases. Since we now have equipment,
this is defunct;
- to provide information on UNIX esoterica for newbies who needed
UNIX to do their assignments. (NOT an "all round UNIX primer"
or anything like it.) This was how the money was actually
raised. But all this information is now freely available over
the net, via point-and-click interfaces. Generally, it is miles
better than anything written at UTS. Defunct;
- to provide information on SoCS' network and configuration. Why
SoCS never did this from day one is just one of the many mysteries
of life at UTS. The whole issue of progsoc writing documentation
for SoCS without proper reimbursement was never adequately dealt
with. If this is not defunct, it should be;
- as a means of distributing information about progsoc. The advent
of the Web makes this utterly defunct;
Can people seriously be proposing to write chapters on "home computing"?
Where is progsoc going? Are there valid reasons for progsoc being
anything other than a hackers' club? What might they be? Hackers
don't need information on "home computing", and UTS comsci punters
don't need information on Java, unless it is going to be adopted as
a first-year language (as has been considered by forward-thinking
UTS graduates now teaching at Sydney university) - in which case it
is entirely SoCS' responsibility to document it.
Considering the expertise at progsoc's disposal, if progsoc wants
to write proper documentation, they should be raking in tens of thousands
of dollars from SoCS - that is no less than its market value. Why
sell progsoc short? But then, how much money does progsoc need to
make? Assuming this is a non-zero amount, aren't there faster, more
intelligent, and more enjoyable ways of raising revenue?
> SO... for the case of Peter and Anand, since Linux is a pretty big topic
> to cover, I suggest dividing the work between the two of you, and for
Does anyone read this stuff? Who? Does it make money, or are people
writing it for fun?
> Perhaps we need to start a TFM mailing list for this (assuming one
> doesn't exist already?)
There is more than enough crap on the progsoc list. Don't people know
about Usenet? How can someone be a member of progsoc and not know
about Usenet? Or has its availability at SoCS worsened?
> > I'd like to see an intro to CGI scripts.
Why? Who needs to know? Ditto for perl. Documentation is everywhere;
who is unable to find it?
> I also remember the suggestion for writing a section on installing Unix
> programs (the basics of Configure scripts, makefiles, C compilers, and
> how to read the instructions :). Is anybody (else) interested in working
> on it?
Why not a section on astrology, while we're at it?
> > We probably ought to see how irrelevant TFM has become with regard to the
> > course structure at SoCS. Admittedly, TFM was never very relevant for
> > that. I'm also thinking of developing the News chapter a bit.
Into what? "Now, one is able to read Usenet with a point-and-click
interface called "Netscape News", for those who are too dumb to use
> Yeah, there are quite a number of "re-structurings" of the manuals we
> could do... and IMHO a RL meeting is the best place to sort this out.
Why don't you forget the whole dated, useless, embarassing idea?