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in reply to Re: Re: Re: Debian removed perlreftut
in thread Debian removed perlreftut

Or give them the ten minute tutorial (with examples) that it usually takes to explain references adequately on IRC.

We do that only if they don't understand the documentation. And no, it does not take ten minutes. It would take ten minutes to teach it to intelligent people; but they don't need explanation because they understand the documentation. In practice, when someone doesn't understand the documentation, it takes up to one or two hours before they understand how references work.

What's the point of "helping" people if all you do is cite perldoc perl all the time.

Perldocs are a maze to most people. It is hard to find out that you need too look for "references" to get what you think is called "a two-dimensional array". It's hard to look up the flip-flop operator if you don't know that it is called an operator. Finding information about tr is hard if you think the answer can be in perlre. It's hard to read FAQs if you don't know they exist.

You know where and how to find documentation. I managed on my own too. But many people need a push in the right direction. Often, they don't mind reading documentation but they simply don't know which documents are good for them.

So this is how we help people on #perlhelp. We tell them to RTFM, and specify which manual. Depending on the situation, this can be a perldoc, Coping with Scoping, Suffering from Buffering, Beginning Perl, a module's POD, one of the many PM Tutorials, etcetera, etcetera.

Our strategy works. We don't just try to help, we actually help these people. And once in a while (3..5 times per day) someone needs more help than RTFM. Because we tell the others to RTFM, we have enough time to help the people who really need it.

The point of helping people if all we do is cite "perldoc $document" all the time is helping people.

In any case, it is far better for us to have to unlearn perldoc perlreftut than for Debian to violate the overly restrictive copyright on a single document in the Perl distribution. Better to remove the offending document than to remove perl itself. Afterall, perlreftut is useless when it comes to running scripts.

I agree that it is better to remove perlreftut than perl. I also agree that Debian did what it thought it had to do. I don't like what they had to do, though. It still is Debian's fault, though. Even though they cannot ship perlreftut, that's still because of *their* decisions.

I think the best solution would be to re-license perlreftut if that is possible. I think that'll happen eventually. In the meantime, people will be disappointed when they notice that this document is not installed on their computers.

Juerd # { site => 'juerd.nl', plp_site => 'plp.juerd.nl', do_not_use => 'spamtrap' }