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Re: Proposed Mailing List Page Reorg
- From: "Soren Andersen" <soren_andersen at speedymail dot org>
- To: cygwin at cygwin dot com
- Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 18:36:53 -0500
- Subject: Re: Proposed Mailing List Page Reorg
- Reply-to: soren_andersen at speedymail dot org
On 14 Jan 2002 at 7:59, Tim Prince wrote:
> And, without experience specific to Cygwin, no one knows exactly which
> variations on the standard behavior of free software will apply on Cygwin.
I was hoping and expecting that someone would make this observation. It's
one that I think is important to keep in mind -- there have had to be, I
think I can be confident in stating, *some* particular differences in the
way that some things "work" on cygwin vs. how they work on other platforms
that are considered Unixen (with GNU/Linux being the obvious major
reference point at this stage of the game).
I didn't really have in mind examples like this one however:
> For example, has anyone documented the ways in which cygwin
> differs from linux in application of code and data alignments? Does
> anyone think the newlib mailing list is a helpful place?
According to my understanding I see this as being eminently ON-topic for
the cygwin List (or even for cygwin-developers), whereas I was addressing
the area of topics of a more general user nature, where that user is not
someone trying to write code for/to Cygwin, but rather was at a much less
high-level engineering-oriented phase of "usership," and where there might
therefore be a question whether the question is Cygwin-OT or not.
In case it isn't at all clear what I might mean, say I might be thinking of
someone who is trying to build standard Open Source or Free Software
packages on Cygwin -- not trying to extend or doing a major porting job to
some app or write an entirely new application, but simply trying to "get
[foo] to build." I have spent countless hours trying to get pretty widely-
used packages to build using Cygwin tools and trying to understand whether
and how my Cygwin environment was "broken" as the expression goes.
So what I am addressing is a perceived (on my part) need for clarification
or contemplation about what comprises a user question that falls within the
intent of the main cygwin List. Somebody here will (or can or has) stated
"what is the List intent" very succinctly and will probably probably feel
that they've nailed it down and it doesn't deserve or need lots more
discussion, and may be so confident in their assertion that readers will be
drawn to agree; but a little time and observation may reveal that there are
many special cases where a gray area is entered and the brief and brusque
and cut-and-dried doesn't seem to have been enough to cover everything in
A minor but good case in point that occurs to me is the recent discussion
on List that dealt with enabling certain key-bindings in bash (msg # 42891,
"Copy and Paste into Console"). One of those bindings was to make the
'insert' key do something useful (paste from the Windows clipboard into the
cygwin bash console). IMO this kind of question and the knowledge that was
shared is very OT because, for one thing, it is Windows-specific (the
clipboard as such doesn't exist on other platforms, although surely
analogous entities must..). So this is an instance of a divergence between
"standard" behavior of a Gnu tool and a "special behavior or modification"
that this tool's Cygwin port has. For another thing, I think it can be seen
as reasonable to assert that having an efficient and "confortable" shell
environment to work in is a prerequisite for a lot of users to getting more
specific and interesting work done. It certainly is for me. I'd like to
think that the Cygwin project's folks would see this as an area that needs
support, very legitimately. It may not particularly *interest* some
individual who is of capability such that they are preoccupied with the
innards of Cygwin or some major piece of Cygwin, but the mere fact that it
isn't especially stimulating to such individuals to deal with such
questions doesn't make the asking of them invalid or the effort to provide
helpful and accessible support on them unimportant.
This is what FAQs are for, of course, and a lot of info exists in them.
FAQs are only any good if a user finds them and reads them, of course. And
they may need constant upkeep and re-writing to be really useful.
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