[nos-bbs] Re: Tweaks to build simplifed setup JNOS

Barry Siegfried k2mf at nnj.k2mf.ampr.org
Thu Sep 14 15:00:56 EDT 2006

["Maiko Langelaar (ve4klm)" <maiko at pcs.mb.ca> wrote]:

> > I'm building an easy to install JNOS ...
> > First step was to move all the config files into one place
> > Comments in general on the move of files and renaming ?
> I have no plans on doing so for the official version (not anytime
> soon).
> To me, the issue is not so much directory and file structure.
> Perhaps a more important issue from the WINDOWS point of view, is
> that most users don't even know where configs are stored, transparent
> to the general user, so does it really matter what the files are called,
> or where they are stored ?  That *is* the windows way, isn't it ?

And that *is* unfortunate.  Anyone whose sole experience in computing
is operating on a Windows platform is learning absolutely nothing
about computing and how it works.

> An alternate method of simplifying JNOS setup is perhaps an installer
> program (so that the user never needs to see the directory and file
> structure). I made a prototype installer some time ago just to do that.
> It OBVIOUSLY requires more work (understatement), but that was the
> idea.  To keep general users AWAY from the configuration files.

I take a slightly different point of view on this.  I feel that the
more we *insulate* people from how to configure their programs properly,
the more we are simply dumbing down the users of xNOS.  And the more
we dumb down the users of xNOS, then the more those of us who do have
some knowledge about how the program works with all of its config
options are required to provide assistance when these people get into
trouble.  The burden then falls to us.  Time and time again I have
seen thie happen and I know that Maiko and I both have gotten sucked
into situations where we are providing "help-desk" type services
for people who haven't a clue about where to start looking in order
to solve a problem or something that is mis-configured.  This can
get out of control VERY quickly.

> I mean, look at the darn REWRITE file.  You don't know how badly I want
> to *get rid* of it, in the sense that it would be nice if the USER never
> had to deal with it.  Heck, I have trouble with it.  You need a PHD or
> worse.

Yes.  We all have had trouble with rewrite at one time or another in
our NOS experience.  But how else can we learn?  It is also probably
not quite as bad as it is to configure sendmail on a linux machine.
Can we hardcode NOS to do some of the things that we always put into
rewrite?  Of course we can, but even if we do that there is still
*some* degree of personalization we have to do to make parts of NOS
do what we want them to do.  And in order to do that, we need to
know SOMETHING about where the config files live and how to edit

> On another note, the people that are going to use your installs need
> to know that the directory structure may not conform to the official
> structure, so that if they search for help topics, they may get
> frustrated.

Yes, this *could* be a problem, but it hasn't been a show stopper
for me or anyone else that uses the NOS that I use.  Like Bill,
15 years ago I was extremely frustrated that some config files
were dumped here and some were dumped there for apparently no
other reason than this is where the originators of them decided
to place them without any regard for how they functionally
integrated with the already existing other config files in NOS.

I dunno, for me it has been a help to "organize" the directory
and file structure of NOS into something coherent that made
sense from both a functional standpoint and from a standpoint
of making it more organized where new config files could be
placed without having to guess where the best places for them
to live would be.

73, de Barry, K2MF >>
          <|>      Barry Siegfried
| Internet | bgs at mfnos.net              |
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