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The idea of starting a community blog related to this site has been bounced around before with limited enthusiasm. It recently came up in chat again here. Since the first step listed on the getting started guide is to raise the idea on meta, here we are.

If you feel this is a good idea and have input, please vote on the ideas below and consider suggesting your own. One idea per answer please.

Update: There is now a second thread on this idea.

  • I'm actually more curious how many people are interested in doing this. Is it just you? Caleb? The gaming blog has had 19 authors, and probably a dozen are regulars; I'm not sure what the minimum number of authors is to keep it going, but we should make sure we have at least that many – Michael Mrozek Jun 28 '11 at 22:46
  • @Michael: I'm not sure we have that many people that even check in on Meta yet :-) But I agree that some sort of critical mass of people that commit to writing at least occationally is needed before it's worth actualy doing. I figured it's ok to have the idea brewing here on Meta until that momentum gets going, however long or short a time that is. – Caleb Jun 28 '11 at 23:03
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    @MichaelMrozek On Science Fiction & Fantasy we're probably going to start with one or two regular contributors plus half a dozen occasional. Here we can easily have a question of the week like Super User does, which is a decent minimum. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jun 28 '11 at 23:24
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    It sounds like the guys at Security.SE are about to kick off a blog. We'll have to keep an eye on how they get on. – Caleb Jun 29 '11 at 21:34
  • I think the suggestions of topics here are excellent, and I would be a regular reader. As a linux newbie, I would not be able to contribute at this time. – Eric Wilson Jul 1 '11 at 12:57
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    Perhaps it would be a good idea for authors to comment on the proposal they'd write for, along with the frequency? This would at least provide us with an estimate. – VPeric Jul 4 '11 at 12:14
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    Has there been any progress on this? I think we could get at least 4-5 good weekly posters and rotate posting duties, similar to what SU does. – n0pe Aug 23 '11 at 1:54
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But why is it like that?

History and "why" questions are actually on topic questions, but sometimes they border on "too broad" because the rich and diverse history behind *nix doesn't fit very well in a QnA format.

There are some real gems already in answers explaining the *nix way and how things got to be the way they are, but these often get buried in answers to otherwise not-very-useful looking questions. A collaborative blog might be a good place to consolidate and collect some of these perspectives under more topical headings rather than focusing on answering a specific question.

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Tutorials on how to 'RTFM'

Let's face it. It's not just that people are too lazy to read the documentation, quite often they don't know how. We are constantly quoting man pages and specifications, but not everybody understands how to find their own answers.

Navigating documentation in the *nix world is kind of like living in the wild west: quite survivable and even inspiring, but you have to have some survival skills -- when to expect the anser in a man page and how to find that page, how to navigate in a pager or doc viewer, when to look online instead, how to search on google and actually get relevant results as opposed to cruft, when to ask on forums or U&L, when an issue goes in a bug-tracker and when you ask for community help, how to find the appropriate issue tracker, etc. This could be a whole series covering several angles, distro and project philosophies, etc.

9

Which distro should I use for X?

These sorts of questions come up pretty often and are filed away under , but answering them is always somewhat subjective. There is always more than one factor to consider, and the question never has enough information to evaluate and give a "right answer". Rather than starting with a distro and reviewing it generally, we could take some specific tasks and review how well different distros would be suitable to that task.

9

Interviews with knowledgeable folks, or "The people behind the magic"

Who wouldn't be interested to learn what takes up why 2999 lines in Gilles's sawfish config file or how much he has to eat for breakfast to keep the nogin plump?

Everybody likes to read about someone else's favorite command line trick and most epic mistake, but those don't usually fit very well in a QnA format. Some good old-fashioned story telling from names that the community recognizes would be well received.

5

Reviews of distributions and major software releases

It would be extra nice to have these blog entries review newly released sotftware that is likely to be a popular current topic, e.g. First impressions of Debian 6 or What to expect from Linux 3.0.

5

The state of games *nix

Review the state of gaming, new releases, or other things in the *nix/open-source gaming world. Also there are always the occasional indie with a Linux release which deserve all the publicity they can get.

This could be done in collaboration with the Gaming blog.

  • I'd be willing to write this, I'm sure I could manage at least one article per month (not that there's a lot of material anyway). – VPeric Jul 4 '11 at 12:19
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Shesh, I just want a shell

sh. bash. ksh. pdksh. mksh. dtksh. ash. cash. dash. sash. scsh. zsh. csh. tcsh. psh. pash. pish. posh. pysh. mush. lush. rush. gosh. fish ... Ok, I exaggerate (ONE of these is actually not a shell). But seriously how is a fellow to know when to use one over the other?*

A series of articles targeted at relative newcomers to the shell scene reviewing what shell to use when and general portability issues would be great to point people to when shell differences come up in questions.

  • * Confession: I used to name my scripts name.sh even when I used #!/bin/zsh. There, I said it. – Caleb Aug 3 '11 at 11:16
  • if I can get zsh, then I use zsh, else if I can get bash, then I use bash, else I use sh :D – phunehehe Aug 9 '11 at 16:39

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