Re: TFM, no-one.

Joshua Graham Pitcher ((no email))
Thu, 18 Jan 1996 09:08:38 +1100 (EST)

> TFM's original functions were:
> - to raise money for equipment purchases. Since we now have equipment,
> this is defunct;

So what you're saying is that progsoc will NEVER have to purchase ANY new
equipment EVER again? Gee whiz tell me where progsoc bought their
origional equipment from, as I would love to buy computing equipment that
never breaks down or becomes obsolete! How lucky progsoc is to receive
such equipment!

> - 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;

Is it? I would rather have a quick reference beside me to look up than have
to sit waiting for a web page holding the same information to download. Its
also easier to take TFM home with you to read further.

> - 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;

I think students appreciate have the socs help available in TFM. If this info
ceases to be included, only the students will suffer, no-one else.

> 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.


> > 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?

I would. If people are writing it for fun and progsoc makes money out of it,
is this wrong? "I'm sorry progsoccers, but TFM has been canned because its
just too much damned fun!"

> > > 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?

Yes! documentation is everywhere. I'm sure there's plenty of books in co-op
on the above for a measley $100 or so! I'd rather pay $10 or so to
experiment with it and then buy the texts if I got into it. And as far as the
web goes I would rather have introductory info at my fingertips than have to
surf around for a couple of hours sifting through the shit to find something

> > 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?

Astrology info if easily available on the web. I still class myself as an
inexperienced c programmer, and I find it very difficult to find easy-to-read
info on things such as makefiles.

> Why don't you forget the whole dated, useless, embarassing idea?

One thing you seem to have forgotten is that 95% of the "info" available on
the web is either poorly written or a rehash of something else that was good.
I've found that it takes hours of following links and waiting for slow
downloads before you find something useful. The web is a cool entity, but
in certain cases the paper alternative is better in terms of accessability to
commonly used information.

And as I said before, if people wish to write some technical documentation,
and other people are prepared to pay for it, whats the problem? Where is the
crime? The writers are not being paid (at least I hope not) and the people
who benefit are progsocs members. If they are doing it for fun, who cares?!?
God knows software engineers need practise on writing technical documents,
what better way to get it?

If TFM sucks, people will stop buying it. The trick is to keep TFM evolving
with the computing systems it supports. You critisise the inclusion of info
on pearl scripts and cgi, yet these are extensively used in the authoring of
web pages, something that most first-years (and graduates like me) want to
play with!

You critisize the inclusion of java info, then on the next breath speculate
on its inclusion into the syllabus. I think students would find java info
written by other students very useful in a subject of the same topic. Even
if its not taught, java is very interesing, and if someone has info to
disseminate, I'd like to see it in TFM, for reasons outlined above.

I don't understand your motives or your argument.