[mythtv-users] "get the sources and fix it yourself"

Mike Perkins mikep at randomtraveller.org.uk
Fri Sep 28 10:18:58 UTC 2007

David Brodbeck wrote:
> People sometimes ask me how I got so good with computers.
> I tell them, "I read the manuals."
> They never really believe me, I suspect.  But it's true.  I've been  
> reading the documentation for every piece of hardware or software I  
> could get my hands on since about 1987, when I read the MS-DOS 2.11  
> manual cover to cover and worked through all the examples.
> Reading the documentation may not be a surefire path to computer  
> guruhood, but it's a good start.
Agree 100 percent. Whenever I used to start a new contract, one of the first 
things I'd look for would be the cupboard where the manuals were kept. The 
number of manuals, and their state, can tell you a lot about an organisation.

These days it's not so easy when most manuals are on a CD or online. CDs are 
often good but the information is usually bland, and often only tells you things 
you already know. Not to mention most of them being written by Taiwanese with a 
rudimentary grasp of English.

The quality of online documentation is so variable it's unreal sometimes. Mythtv 
is reasonably good. I say reasonably, there are still recesses I haven't found, 
and only discover their existence when someone posts a link on this list about a 
particular topic.

Some other software, especially "open source" software, is less friendly. I 
recently decided to upgrade my firewall software and for various reasons settled 
on http://pfsense.net/. It's worth a poke around, especially "Hardware 
requirements" and "FAQ". The Wiki is just as useful. Fortunately the product is 
much better than the documentation, and is a doddle to use.

What on-line documentation producers have to realise is that their site must be 
able to "sell" a product as well as to support it. People may read through the 
various corners of the documentation in an effort to determine if the product 
can be used by *them*. This is particularly so with something like Myth where 
hardware and OS selection play such an important part. It's got to be good. 
Myth's documentation is one of the better examples out there on the net.

Mike Perkins

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