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Re: default skel files (Re: PAGER=less)

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 03:00:45PM +0100, Iain Hibbert wrote:
 > > As I wrote my first post, I'm suggesting to remove all aliases
 > > in skel/dot.cshrc.  What's the problem?
 > I think it can be valuable to have aliases that are not too outlandish in
 > skeleton files that are installed for new users, simply because new users
 > are not always experienced users and having a skeleton rc file that they
 > can examine is a useful primer in customising their own environment.


 > I don't suggest something like
 >   alias ls 'echo you should edit your .cshrc file, luser'
 > but there should be examples for them, and I'm not sure if
 > /usr/share/examples existed in 4.2BSD but a real example that is already
 > working for them might have been considered better anyway. Learning by
 > modifying what is already present is always easier than starting with a
 > blank page.


Expert or longtime users will generally ignore default dotfiles that
come with a new account because they have their own, possibly highly
idiosyncratic setup that they've been carrying around for years.
Sometimes they might look at the default dotfiles briefly to check for
OS- or site-specific stuff they need to know about, but sometimes not.

It's beginners and intermediate users that are the audience for the
default dotfiles, and because of this the default dotfiles ought to be
helpful. Many of them wouldn't know to look in /usr/share/examples
even if all the cool toys in the world were already documented there;
some of them won't be clear on the difference between typing 'setenv
FOO foo' and putting 'setenv FOO foo' in their .cshrc file; and some
of them won't be clear enough on pathname syntax yet to even be able
to look in /usr/share/examples.

I just went and added some comments, and put in a commented-out
setting for $PRINTER, but I think more is needed, and I think the
aliases that all just got summarily removed, or at least many of them,
should be brought back commented out and documented.

David A. Holland

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