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Re: learning curve

From: Arne Babenhauserheide
Subject: Re: learning curve
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 18:16:07 +0100
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Hi Michal, 

Did you read till the "PS"? 

I spent some time thinking whether to send this reply to the list or only to 
Olaf, but I decided to send it to the list, because the learning curve also 
applies to documentation of the Hurd - the Hurd also offers concepts which are 
new to many people. 

For example it is relevant to the question how translator usage can easily be 
described. To recap what the equivalent of the examples would be for a 
translator (as well as I can currently do that): 

- basic principle: A translator creates or modifies a node in the filesystem. 

$ settrans -ac hello /hurd/hello
$ cat hello
"Hello Hurd!"
$ settrans -g hello
# -a: active -> start it at once
# -c: create the node, in this case the pseudo-file "hello". 
# -g: remove a translator: "go away"

- second part: On parts of the filesystem which you can modify, you can make 
the translators permanent. We call that a passive translator, because they 
only get activated when the filesystem node gets touched. 

$ settrans -c hello /hurd/hello
$ cat hello
"Hello Hurd!"
$ reboot
$ cat hello
"Hello Hurd!"
# not specifying "-a" creates a passive translator 
# which stays in the filesystem over reboots. 
# It can only be removed with "settrans -g"
$ settrans -g hello


That way we can archieve a smooth learning curve, when we search for the basic 
principles which people need to know about translators. 

I don't know, if the two I named are the most basic principles people need to 
know (the ones which help them best to udnerstand later parts), but I hope 
they are close. 

One important question I see is "how and when to show people easily what it 
means, that translators can use capabilites  - and what options that gives a 
developer or user." 
-> how to show people in a motivated and simple way what it means to go beyond 
POSIX access control? What basics should they already know when they learn 
about that? How can we teach them these basics while at the same time keeping 
the learning interesting? 

Best wishes, 

PS: I didn't use translators in the example, because I wasn't certain if I 
could find the best way to provide a smooth learning curve with these. So I 
used two things where I felt surer that what I say is mostly correct. 

Am Donnerstag, 19. November 2009 10:40:57 schrieb Michael Banck:
> This is ridiculous. I am going to unsubscribe from bug-hurd the next
> time I see such an off-topic thread again.
> Michael
> On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 08:24:21AM +0100, Arne Babenhauserheide wrote:
> > PS: I think that this can be relevant to the Hurd, because the learning
> > curve is something which also affects every program, translator usage,
> > etc. - and so it affects how easy it is for people to switch to the Hurd.

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