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Johannes Wiedersich 02-04-2009 01:13 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
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Steve Kemp wrote:
> In the future you might save yourself some time by
> using your favourite search engine "vpn server debian"
> has many results.

Searching 'debian vpn' (the subject of OP's mail) is just about as good.
Maybe it'd save some time, if the mailing software sent a google search
link for the subject matter of all primary posts ;-)

... or at least for those that generate more than say 1,000,000 hits [1].

Cheers,

Johannes

[1]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=iceweasel-a&rls=org.debian%3Aen-US%3Aunofficial&q=%2BDebian+%2BVPN&btnG=Search
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Magnus Therning 02-04-2009 01:26 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 2:13 PM, Johannes Wiedersich
<johannes@physik.blm.tu-muenchen.de> wrote:
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>
> Steve Kemp wrote:
>> In the future you might save yourself some time by
>> using your favourite search engine "vpn server debian"
>> has many results.
>
> Searching 'debian vpn' (the subject of OP's mail) is just about as good.
> Maybe it'd save some time, if the mailing software sent a google search
> link for the subject matter of all primary posts ;-)
>
> ... or at least for those that generate more than say 1,000,000 hits [1].

Sometimes a link says more than a thousand words: http://tinyurl.com/dnyg5a

/M

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Nuno Magalhães 02-04-2009 01:33 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
>> Searching 'debian vpn' (the subject of OP's mail) is just about as good.
>> Maybe it'd save some time, if the mailing software sent a google search
>> link for the subject matter of all primary posts ;-)
>>
>> ... or at least for those that generate more than say 1,000,000 hits [1].

Or maybe people oughta search the web before posting to the list...
Using a mailling-list as your first approach seems rather lazy and
selfish.

Nuno Magalhães


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"Stackpole, Chris" 02-04-2009 02:30 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
First responding to the OP:
I know a few people who pretty much swear by the VPN software in Smoothwall (I know it isn't Debian, but there is free version). There are also several in my Linux User Group who would swear by Untangle. Many of the open source firewall solutions I have seen recently have VPN software included. I am probably willing to bet that they all use OpenVPN in the background but they should all have fairly easy-to-use guides to get you started. If you already have a firewall solution, look into it. Most of the corporate ones I have seen have add-ons for VPN if they don't already have it included. Depending on your needs, you may want to look at the various options (a good firewall is always a plus for a business anyway if you don't have one).

For future reference, whenever I make a request asking for advice on packages I include blurbs like 'I did a Google search and found these. Am I looking in the right place?' It will help move things along from the annoying RTFM!'s and onto a useful conversation. If you didn't do a Google search, do so next time.


> From: Nuno Magalhães [mailto:nunomagalhaes@eu.ipp.pt]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 8:34 AM
> Subject: Re: [OT] improving the mailing lists WAS: Re: Debian VPN
>
> >> Searching 'debian vpn' (the subject of OP's mail) is just about as
> good.
> >> Maybe it'd save some time, if the mailing software sent a google search
> >> link for the subject matter of all primary posts ;-)
> >>
> >> ... or at least for those that generate more than say 1,000,000 hits
> [1].
>
> Or maybe people oughta search the web before posting to the list...
> Using a mailling-list as your first approach seems rather lazy and
> selfish.
>
> Nuno Magalhães

Or maybe he saw the +1,000,000 hits and not yet knowing a lot about the subject at hand OP was looking for guidance on a package to get started on. Surely no one on this list ever does that, right?

Maybe I just read the Ops post differently. Maybe I am reading the posts here wrong. I understand that sarcasm/jokes/tone-of-conversation doesn't always translate over text/email but I don't see the point in a snarky response to OP. The first thing I do when looking for software is use apt-cache. Just a habit I have.

I am currently using Lenny and OpenVPN isn't even in the list (though it does exist if searched for by name).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
apt-cache search vpn server
ike - Shrew Soft VPN client - Daemon and libraries
ike-qtgui - Shrew Soft VPN client - Connection manager
ike-scan - discover and fingerprint IKE hosts (IPsec VPN Servers)
network-manager-openvpn - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin core)
network-manager-openvpn-gnome - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin GNOME GUI)
network-manager-pptp - network management framework (PPTP plugin)
network-manager-vpnc - network management framework (VPNC plugin core)
network-manager-vpnc-gnome - network management framework (VPNC plugin GNOME GUI)
pptpd - PoPToP Point to Point Tunneling Server
proxychains - proxy chains - redirect connections through proxy servers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Again it IS there!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
apt-cache search openvpn
kvpnc - vpn clients frontend for KDE
network-manager-openvpn - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin core)
network-manager-openvpn-gnome - network management framework (OpenVPN plugin GNOME GUI)
openvpn - virtual private network daemon
openvpn-blacklist - list of blacklisted OpenVPN RSA shared keys
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


So what about just searching for vpn?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
apt-cache search vpn | wc -l
27
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Twenty-seven packages listed of which most are clients or software not related to a VPN server.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of times when "RTFM!" and "Google MotherF! Do you use it?" are appropriate responses (like the question on the Ubuntu forums asking how to use the 'ls' command...that post was pretty much asking for it). I just don't see the point in the less-then-helpful comments in this case.

~Stack~


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Steve Kemp 02-04-2009 03:15 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
On Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:30:00 -0600, Stackpole, Chris wrote:

> I just don't see the point in the less-then-helpful comments in this case.

I believe I:

a. Suggested openvpn as the most likely candidate.

b. Offered the suggestion of using a search engine, and apt-cache,
which might be useful in the future.

Neither of those were unhelpful comments. Either one alone might
prevent people posting questions like "Is there software to do X?"
with the implied "I've done no research myself".

Steve
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"Stackpole, Chris" 02-04-2009 03:34 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
> From: Steve Kemp [mailto:skx@debian.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 10:16 AM
> Subject: Re: [OT] improving the mailing lists WAS: Re: Debian VPN
>
> On Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:30:00 -0600, Stackpole, Chris wrote:
>
> > I just don't see the point in the less-then-helpful comments in this
> case.
>
> I believe I:
>
> a. Suggested openvpn as the most likely candidate.
>
> b. Offered the suggestion of using a search engine, and apt-cache,
> which might be useful in the future.
>
> Neither of those were unhelpful comments. Either one alone might
> prevent people posting questions like "Is there software to do X?"
> with the implied "I've done no research myself".
>
> Steve

This is true. I was not trying to criticize your specific post. I
apologize if mine seemed to implicate that I was. My statement to the OP
was even trying to re-enforce the openvpn package by suggesting
alternate methods of dealing with it. I was simply trying to point out
to the list that even when you use the correct tools, if you are trying
to learn about a subject, have little knowledge on the subject, and you
receive an overwhelming amount of possible answers, the task looks
daunting and asking for help shouldn't be frowned upon. I was trying to
re-enforce that idea.

~Stack~


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Johannes Wiedersich 02-04-2009 04:37 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
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Stackpole, Chris wrote:
> Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of times when "RTFM!" and
> "Google MotherF! Do you use it?" are appropriate responses (like the
> question on the Ubuntu forums asking how to use the 'ls'
> command...that post was pretty much asking for it).

Sorry, I didn't intend to be offensive in any way.

= I did not use your language.

= I changed the subject line in order to make it clear that I wasn't
replying to OP

= I put a smiley to make it clear that my post was to be taken with a
grain of salt.

> I just don't see the point in the less-then-helpful comments in this
> case.

I did not mean to be less-than-helpful.

> Or maybe he saw the +1,000,000 hits and not yet knowing a lot about
> the subject at hand OP was looking for guidance on a package to get
> started on. Surely no one on this list ever does that, right?

While we are at it, on topic again:

Wikipedia is often a good starting point to get an overview of different
software and openvpn is the one I can see at first glance that is
featured on the wikipedia site AND is present in debian [1].

FWIW, OP just asked, if there is any vpn server software in debian. OP
did not ask about opinions on different options available.

Cheers,

Johannes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VPN
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"Stackpole, Chris" 02-04-2009 06:06 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
The reaction I was going for is not the one I was wanting. That tells me that I wrote my response improperly. I apologize; my fault.

More to the subject, let me try to explain my view. Please feel free to comment.

I subscribe and watch a number of mailing lists/forums. While there has been a number of RTFM's since long before I was even involved in Linux, I have seen an unusual rise of these responses recently. Maybe it is just me and the number hasn't changed at all. Either way, personally, I don't care for them. We are at another unique point in time with a sudden rise in popularity of various outlets of Linux. This is _not_ another 'year of Linux' rant. It is just that people I know who looked at Linux a few years ago and wanted nothing to do with it are suddenly finding themselves loving their Ubuntu netbook and their G1 with Android. They want to learn more and they want to use Linux more but they don't know where to start. The rise in numbers on the forums/mailing lists seems to back my theory up. I, and many many others, are finding that more and more people are asking basic questions, mostly because they don't know where to start. Telling someone to read a manpage doesn't always help. Case in point, I recently had to explain what a man page was and how to use it.

Thanks partially to Google we are at a point where you can find anything on the internet, /if/ you know where and how to look. However, finding someone to help you sort through the mass information is almost priceless. The best way for me to explain is through my own experience. If you Google 'Linux cluster' you are going to find a ton of information out there. If you know nothing about Linux clusters, just jumping in is quite the shock. There are many types of clusters on many types of hardware on many types of Distros. I am far from an Guru as there are many others that know _much_ more then I, but I love experimenting and working with clusters and probably have more experience with clusters then most people ever want to have. On the flip side, if you had asked me a few months ago to explain in detail everything I know about LDAP authentication I would have just looked at you and shook my head. Google offered TONS of data on the subject but by asking around I found someone who did have experience and he gave me a bunch of docs that were much more helpful to me then what I had found on Google.

The other issue about asking Google is when I did a search for "Debian how to ask for help" the first page[1] tells me to RTFM! The second link[2], and I quote the first line, says: "Unfortunately documentation on Unix-like systems is a little disorganized." [heavy sarcasm]That's great start for newbies...[/heavy sarcasm]

I guess my issue is this, we have mailing lists and forums setup so that people can ask questions to users with more knowledge then they have on a subject and get information related to their questions. So why is it when someone posts "I need help with some-package" there are posts of "Google has 3 billion answers!" rather then "Google brought up this link. Does it help? Explain why not." ? Am I the only one confused by this attitude? It would be different if this was a dev list and they were asking these questions, but on a user forum, why shouldn't they?

Yes I know it helps a LOT when you are trying to answer a question to have more detail about the question. Hence why there are pages and pages of "how to ask a question to user group X" which they may or may not see. Even when they search they may not find helpful information (see my Google search above). I know when I did a Google search for Debian help the subscribe page for Debian[3] came up but I don't see a link to pages asking how newbies should phrase their questions. It has been a while, so maybe the pages are sent in the registration/confirmation page? If not, maybe it should be. Maybe instead of responding RTFM (or anything of the kind) to a badly posted cry for help we as a group reply "That question is too broad. Please fill out as much detail using the following link as you can and repost." Where the link posted goes to a page that describes how to ask for help.

Wouldn't that be more helpful to all involved? It saves the group from being frustrated with simple questions but doesn't annoy/frustrate the one asking the question. Bonus if the page is written well enough that it can be used on other forums/mailing lists. Again, maybe there is one and I just am not seeing it. If so, post! I'd love the opportunity to educate myself and will start using it.

Comments? Helpful criticisms? Am I way off? Or am I just entering into another vi-vs-emacs like battle? :-D

~Stack~

[1] http://www.debian.org/doc/maint-guide/ch-helpme.en.html
[2] http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/debian-tutorial/ch-docs.html
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/


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Alan Ianson 02-04-2009 06:22 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
On February 4, 2009 11:06:31 am Stackpole, Chris wrote:
> The reaction I was going for is not the one I was wanting. That tells me
> that I wrote my response improperly. I apologize; my fault.
>
> More to the subject, let me try to explain my view. Please feel free to
> comment.

RTFM has been going on since before I arrived here. I never liked or
understood it.

My Comment: This is a mailing list. The whole purpose is for folks to ask
questions and communicate. If someone doesn't like the fact someone is asking
questions (of whatever type/quality) maybe they shouldn't be subscribed to
the list!


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Nuno Magalhães 02-04-2009 06:59 PM

improving the mailing lists WAS: Debian VPN
 
Personally, when i'm searching for something, i follow these steps:
1 - do i know what is it that i'm searching?
no: wikipedia + search engine (aah.. so that's what a vpn is - just an example)
yes: search engine (vpn debian, vpn linux... whatever)
Actually even if i know what i'm doing i'll use wikipedia anyway (even
though i don't find it reliable) 'cos it usually points to other
similar software.
2 - sort out a bunch of results from the search, not just skim through
the 1st page of a google search result.
3 - look into those, checkout those websites for documentation:
features, FAQs, searchable webforums, etc. Eventually i'll come up
with a few candidates.
4 - look those candidates up on apt-cache, packages.debian.org and
wherever else i can remember. Use apt-cache show.
Then i'll try and fiddle with it. If i get stuck with configuring the
software, i'll check all i can about it, including the man-page.
5 - then i might use the mailing list.

Of course, this is just me.


I think it's two issues. One, the GUIs and Desktop Enviroments are
growing friendlier and Ubuntu is doing a goob job and 'advertising'
linux. It's good, but the average newbie knows less and less about
computers in general and linux in particular, so the questions tend to
me more and more basic.

The second issue is that bash, manpages, root and all that can indeed
be scary for anyone fresh out of Redmond prairies.

*However*, i think most people will instinctively react with a RTFM
when someone asks something that could've been easily answered by
using a search engine and actually working on the results. Everybody
knows Google, everybody knows Wikipedia. Most people are just lazy and
if the "i'm feeling lucky button" won't help, heck, just mail someone.
Thus the Ubuntu forums having questions about ls. How about searching
for linux tutorials, howtos and alike before?

And i guess it wastes everybody's time asking something without
providing any kind of details whatsoever. This, for me, is also an
example of lazyness. Any mailing-list how-to-post guide will tell you
to provide as much info as you can and not complying will inevitably
make someone from the list reply with "can you be more specific?".

Obviously, this is only my opinion and humans are a diverse species.

> The other issue about asking Google is when I did a search for "Debian how to ask for help" the first page[1] tells me to RTFM!
It does so by giving you a few places on your system where to start,
including a FAQ. It's probably not a good example though since it
seems to be a maintainers' list, most of them wouldn't be newbies... i
guess.

Nuno Magalhães


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