Re: Why from there?

Riley Williams (
Thu, 14 May 1998 19:09:02 +0100 (BST)

Hi Michael.

>>>> PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start including the kernel version in the
>>>> the base directory in the tarballs !!! I'd much sooner see a
>>>> tarball create the directory "linux-2.1.102" than the directory
>>>> "linux"!!!

>>> Why is that a big deal worth shouting about? If a person can't
>>> untar a source tree without screwing it up, they need to practice
>>> taring anyway - very soon they'll need this skill to rebuild their
>>> system :)

>> In other words, you don't mind dealing with phantom bug reports caused
>> by somebody untarring a new distribution on top of an old one, then
>> compiling the result and ending up with a mixture of units from the
>> old and new kernels which just don't work together?

>> Personally, I'm of the opinion that Linus and the alpha team probably
>> have enough problems dealing with genuine bugs without having to wade
>> through these phantom ones as well...I know that I'm most certainly in
>> that position...

> In other words I think that this is a non-argument to a non-problem.

Which is clearly your version of "it doesn't affect me so I can't be
bothered to solve it" !!!!!!!

> Actually, I don't mind dealing with such problems. People sometimes
> post things to this list because they _think_ they need guru level
> help. If I know that they don't, and suspect they are likely to
> receive silence (gurus being BUSY folks), I step forward - offline.

Same here, which is why less than 10% of my posts appear on mailing

> Phantom problems? They're certainly not phantom to the person
> who is experiencing them.

True, but it gets a bit monotonous just saying the same each time...

Joe: I downloaded kernel 2.0.33 and untarred it like you said,
configured it, then did the usual make stuff to compile it,
but it still doesn't work.

Me: Mind if I have a look through your configuration?

Joe: Sure, here's the .config file like last time.

Me: (Looks through it) Nothing obvious there! Mind if I ask you
to show me the process you used to install it?

Joe: (Looking puzzled) Sure. After downloading it, I went to
/usr/src and typed "tar xzvf /tmp/lin*" as usual.

Me: OK. Where was your previous kernel sources installed?

Joe: Same place as usual, I presume. Why?

Me: (thinks) Ah, Joe doesn't know as much as I thought about Linux.
(says) Mind if I just check something out?

Joe: Sure.

At this point, I type "cd /usr/src ; mv linux linux.old ; !tar" then
compare the directory listings of the two trees, and discovers that
the new tarball had been extracted on top of the old one, and his
problems were due to some old files that were still lying around and
got included in his kernel as a result

> Help someone with one of these problems, and they become able to
> help themselves - and may help others.

I have so far carried out variants of the above conversation at least
four times with three of my friends, all of whom assume that I will
report the problem back to some Responsible Person who will instantly
deal with it. Unfortunately, the said "Responsible Persons" all claim
that no such problem exists and refuse to deal with it as a result!!!

> I can't recall a single instance of a GURU bitching a newbie out
> for posting to this list. I suspect that they _remember_, and accept
> that they have to dig through some rubble to get to the gold.

I can't remember having claimed otherwise...

> BTW, your mailer is buggy.. it added a public cc to a private mail.

Nope, YOUR mailserver is buggy - when I sent that as a private mail to
you, it was bounced with the report "Sorry, Your domain does not
exist", and I was FORCED to send it to the mailing list just to let
you get a copy thereof. If you don't want suchlike emails to appear on
the mailing list, sort YOUR mailserver out first, THEN complain to the

Best wishes from Riley.

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