Cygwin Book?

Warren Young
Mon Oct 15 18:04:00 GMT 2007

Christopher Faylor wrote:
> It seems like more and more people are using Cygwin because they want a
> package that is part of the distribution.  We get too many ignorant
> questions for me to think that many of these people are at all familiar
> with *IX systems.

Yeah, so Chapter 2 (or Appendix B) can be something on the overall 
philosophy of *ix and how to use the most common tools.

My main point is that there's no need for The Unix System Administration 
Handbook, Cygwin Edition.  If someone wants to learn *ix in general, 
there are plenty of very good books for that, including the purple book. 
  Cygwin is close enough to a "real" *ix that the difference generally 
doesn't matter to a newbie.  This wheel doesn't need to be reinvented.

> Whenever I think about doing that, I always think about how many
> problems people have with the concept of setup.exe and then I start
> thinking that we should redesign the GUI and provide a command-line
> utility.

That'd be my vote.  I don't start threads about it because I know the 
correct reply is SHTDI, and I'm capable of Doing It, so I can't get out 
of it on an incompetence plea.  :)

> Then I get discouraged and just fire up Unreal Tournament 2004
> to forget about things.

Back in the day, there was a DOOM mod for Linux system administration. 
Killing processes was quite natural, for instance.

Maybe we can mod one of the Quake engines to install Cygwin.  As the 
packages download and install, new rooms are added.  The doors open and 
each README is represented by a monster that comes out, which can't be 
killed until you pop into console mode and page through it.  When the 
install process completes, the boss monster, Bill Gates, is imprisoned 
at the center of the complex to do slave labor on an exercise wheel that 
turns the wheels that keep the complex running.

> I guess my point is that I'd hate to document the warts in Cygwin when
> the most profitable use of time would be to fix the warts.

I think it's pretty clear by now which ones aren't going away, at least 
any time soon.  The point of the book isn't to deflate egos, it's to be 
guru guidance in getting up to speed on the raisins de eater of the 
whole shish-kebab.

As I envision it, the book will be maintained publically in DocBook 
form, available as a PDF in a cygwin-manual package, and almost 
incidentally published in paper form by any of the several publishers 
who would be cool with that.  That lets us improve the book continuously 
over time, as long as we have a willing maintainer.  FAQ++.

And yes, I'm aware that the correct reply to all this is also SHTDI, and 
I'm halfway to volunteering.  The only thing holding me back is that I'm 
not really a Cygwin power user.  There's a lot about it that I really 
don't understand, even after using it since B16 or so.  Generally it 
Just Works for my limited purposes, so I don't have much call to dig 
deep into it.

What I do know is technical writing, DocBook, and the Unix Way.

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