[Pkg-exim4-users] Re: [exim] Re: Debian exim

Jeremiah Foster jeremiah.foster at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 13:07:46 UTC 2005

On Sep 21, 2005, at 2:21 PM, Marc Haber wrote:

> On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 13:58:08 +0200, Jeremiah Foster
>>>> config mechanisms quite aggressively, in an effort to handhold those
>>>> same clueless newbies.
>> So heartwarming to read in black-and-white the deep respect developers
>> have for users.
> As far as I know, Marc Sherman is neither affiliated with exim nor
> with Debian development.

Unfortunately calling users "clueless newbies" is not an aberration.
>>>> This has the effect of steepening the learning curve quite  
>>>> drastically
>>>> for people who are just beginning to leave clueless newbie  
>>>> territory.
>>> All people need is to read the docs. They don't.
>> This is partly true. The debian documentation is not centrally  
>> located,
>> obtuse, and has tangential relevance to the documentation on the main
>> exim web site.
> The central location for documentation on Debian (and on every
> FHS-compliant Unix System) is /usr/share/doc, and thus
> /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/README.Debian should be impossible to miss.
> The README file references a lot of other documentation which is
> either in the doc directory, or in a manpage, or in the configuration
> itself.
>> A smaller spec file is a more realistic option
> Exim's specification is, like, a specification. It exactly describes
> how exim behaves and is an excellent piece of work - as exim itself
> is.
> What Exim is indeed lacking is freely available user-level
> documentation in tutorial style, with Philip's Book probably being
> closest approximation.
>> as is
>> greater participation by the community to maintain wikis etc. I have
>> followed Marc's suggestion to create a document informing people of
>> where documentation lives. My preliminary document is here -
>> http://devmodul.com/documentation/exim/ 
>> exim4_debian_documentation.shtml
>> Please note this is a work in progress.
> Basically looks like a standards-compliant 404.

Sorry, it was a misspelling, should be available here;
>> Clue is an unfortunate term. It is condescending and perjorative. The
>> issue really is how easy is it to install and run and how clear is the
>> documentation. To state that all failures running exim4 are due to the
>> "clueless newbies" is specious and indicative of the willful disregard
>> free software porgrammers in general have for users.
> It is like the willful disregards that most users have for prominently
> visible documentation.

I disagree. Many users feel daunted by a spec file which runs 27,000+  
lines when all they want to do is move from Sendmail to Exim. They are  
not intentionally refusing to read the documentation, just failing to  
find what you call the user-level documentation in tutorial style.
>> No wonder tools
>> like Ubuntu are so popular, the world wants to use secure, good
>> software but installing debian is nearly impossible for many people.
>> This is not a fault of the users, this is a fault of the developers.
> Which MTA does Ubuntu use by default, and from where was the packaging
> pulled?

I was using Ubuntu as a metaphor. It has been designed from the  
beginning as an easier to install and use debian. This demonstrate the  
fact that users have been left out of the equation with debian  

I have no reason to impugn the work done by Mr. Hazel et. al. The Exim  
software and documentation is amazingly good. But for debian package  
maintainers to claim that all fault lies purely with the users when  
problems configuring exim pop up on exim-users is not taking  
responsiblity. Users have an obligation as well of course, there is no  
excuse for not clearly understanding the software when it is well  
documented. Still, usable documentation should be a priority not an  

Jeremiah Foster

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