Subject: Another Manual ???
To: None <>
From: Andrew Crossley <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 01/19/2000 22:50:15
Posted on this list due to Herb Peyerl's advice.

Hello NetBSD people,

Andrew Crossley from Perth, Western Australia here.

During the Christmas Holidays, I roughly put together an outline for an
extensive, but easy to read manual for NetBSD.  We all know what
documnetation is available from, and although very helpful and
much needed, I felt the desire to write a highly organized manual coming
from a few different perspectives.  Here are some things I thought about
over Christmas.

- from what I can see so far, there is no full definitive NetBSD manual.

- My OS History: Microsoft -> Linux (many different distributions) -> NetBSD
1.4.1 (i386).

- NetBSD is an OS that you virtually have to bring from the "ground up",
meaning there is no one GUI system installation utility like YaST (SuSE),
Mandrakes new one for 7.0 (can't remember it's name), etc.  I feel that
bringing a system from the ground up is a rewarding experience for any new,
up & coming Unix hackers.

- Maybe even more people may be lured to the wonderful world of NetBSD if
there is a comprehensive, step-by-step set of docs to take them from sysinst
to StarOffice on KDE for example.

- Many others as we know have gone Microsoft -> Linux, and soon get addicted
to this Unix hacking stuff.  There is more than ample documentation on this
step.  It's the Linux -> NetBSD part, or even Microsoft -> NetBSD that needs
topping up.

- I am very competitive.  I would like to see NetBSD have the best manual
out of the 4 BSDs.  I have read the FreeBSD Handbook, and used FreeBSD 3.2 &
3.3.  Shoot me down, but I think NetBSD is an easier OS to deal with than
FreeBSD (I have heard all the FreeBSD = Easy; NetBSD = Portability;OpenBSD =
secutity; BSDI = commercial stuff), but that's only my opinion.  Let's give
it the best manual as well!

- Many different Linux distubutions come pre-packaged with a manual.  Some
are good, and some not so good.  But out of nearly all of them I learnt a
cool new thing I needed that no one else seemed to tell me.  Basically, each
one had it's own little pot of gold, but not one had the whole gold factory!
I think more people would use NetBSD if they knew it had the gold factory
manual, as it is definitely a gold factory OS.

- The efforts of the documentation project cannot be dismmised, and I wish
to make sure that everybody realises that I am enormously gratefull to those
who have provided what is available allready (especially the mailing lists -
by far the most organized, polite, and down right helpful set of lists on
the net).  You have to "put your money where your mouth is" in this world,
and I wouldn't post this message if I didn't fully intend to carry out this
project.  I cannot code or program, but I do write excellent technical
documentation.  You guys gave me the best OS.  In return I want to give you
a book.

I have been using NetBSD for 6 months.  I certainly don't know everything
needed to write a master manual at this stage.  But you know the old adage
"learn on the job", that works extremely well for me.  Having taught music
(many forms) in my own business for many years, saw me at times take
students that were using my knowledge of an individual music topic to the
extreme.  I would just practice like buggery and keep a couple of steps
ahead, and before you know it, you've got that area learned fully yourself.
So that amounts to me asking for all your help and input with this project.
Things like:

- Should I really do it ?
- Things you think should be documentated
- Proof-reading my text and suggesting fixes
- Gotchas that HAVE to be included
- Can you put up with the odd silly question now and then (as occasinally
whist "in-depth" one can't see the wood for the trees)
- Should I post stuff as attatchments to the list, or would that bog down
the server (See * below)

Quickly about myself:

- Musician & Recording Engineer
- Has a Dance Band "Toast" (main priority) on the verge of a record contract
- Still has to use Microsoft due to the availability of divers & software
for our Pro Gear (hence still up to date with that crap - helpfull for the
Microsoft -> NetBSD transition).  In fact ... shhhh just quietly... this
message came from MS Outlook, as I am Noise Reducing one of our Masters in
the background using "Sound Forge" (Best Win Sound Editor).  It's
embarrasing, I know !! :-)
- Loves reading manuals !!

I have downloaded all of the packages and distfiles as well as 1.4.2 ALPHA
(in fact the whole shebang really!), so it should be easy to keep pkgsrc up
to date LOCALLY.  I feel this helps with the larger packages and general
hacking.  This means I should be able to compile any tips given to me quite

* As stated above, I do know Microsoft.  To help facilitate the project, I
intend to start a Web Site at  Bear with me, as I put FrontPage
2000 to one side and learn the Unix tools to make the site.  It just seems
incredibly hypercritical to make a site with major devotion to Unixlikes
using Microsoft.

You'll probabely see me go in & out regarding the time spent on the book as
Toast matters come & go (eg. Mastering at the moment to give Virgin a new
track - Big Bait !!).  I do intend to have it finished for end of this year,
and it will be released under the BSD licencing structure.

Because I intend to keep a copy of NetBSD locally, I am quite prepared to
ship (in Australia) custom based CDs (in regards to the packages & distfiles
included etc) for a nominal work & shipping fee (I reckon about $8 to $10 a
CD total cost - custom built remember!).  i386 arch only (unless you want
just the distfiles)

So there you go.  That was a rave!!  I'll post this message to netbsd-help
as well (hope that's OK!), as many of the Gurus tend to hang out there, and
let's face it, I'm gonna need you guys!! :-)

Cheers and take care good people,

Andrew Crossley (aka: XiT - note the capital "T")

Next Message will be: A breif section outline - stay tuned.

PS I have already been in contact with Kevin McCarthy.