The UNIX Guru Maintenance Manual
From: email@example.com (C J Silverio)
Subject: unix without words
Organization: SGI TechPubs
During one particularly vitriolic flame war about
the uselessness of documentation, I wrote the following
proposal. I never posted it, because I am a coward.
I finally post it here, for your edification.
Subject: UNIX ohne Worter
Well! I've been completely convinced by the arguments
presented here on the uselessness of documentation. In
fact, I've become convinced that documentation is a drug,
and that my dependence on it is artificial. I can overcome
my addiction, with professional help.
And what's more, I feel morally obliged to cease peddling
this useless drug for a living. I've decided to go back to
math grad school to reeducate myself, and get out of this
Perhaps it just reveals the depth of my addiction to documentation,
but I do see the need for SGI to ship *one* document with [our
next release]. I see this book as transitional only. We can
eliminate it for [the following release].
Here's my proposal:
TITLE: "UNIX without Words"
AUDIENCE: The UNIX novice.
OVERVIEW: Gives a general strategy for approaching UNIX
without documentation. Presents generalizable
principles useful for deciphering any operating
system without the crutch of documentation.
INTRO: overview of the 'no doc' philosophy
why manuals are evil
why man pages are evil
why you should read this book despite the above
"this is the last manual you'll EVER read!"
CHAP 1: guessing which commands are likely to exist
CHAP 2: guessing what they're likely to be called
unpredictable acronyms the UNIX way
usage scenario: "grep"
CHAP 3: guessing what options they might take
deciphering cryptic usage messages
usage scenario: "tar"
guessing when order is important
usage scenario: SYSV "find"
CHAP 4: figuring out when it worked: silence on success
recovering from errors
CHAP 5: the oral tradition: your friend
CHAP 6: obtaining & maintaining a personal UNIX guru
feeding your guru
keeping your guru happy
the importance of full news feeds
why your guru needs the fastest/whizziest machine available
free Coke: the elixir of your guru's life
maintaining your guru's health
when DO they sleep?
CHAP 7: troubleshooting: when your guru won't speak to you
identifying stupid questions
safely asking stupid questions
CHAP 8: accepting your stress
coping with failure
Now that I think about it, maybe only chapters 6 & 7 are
really necessary. Yeah, that's the ticket: we'll call it
"The UNIX Guru Maintenance Manual."
firstname.lastname@example.org C J Silverio/Brahms Gang/Berkeley CA 94720