Restructuring of the hardware section (i.e. removing duplicate/obsolete stuff)
michael.tremer at ipfire.org
Sun Feb 8 14:05:48 CET 2015
I am writing this to you just because things need to be said. It might
be that not everyone who reaches this email is the right person who
should read this, but nevertheless I am annoyed.
I am deeply annoyed with the state the wiki is in and I have been
annoyed for a long long time. There is so much documentation in there
that is either in a bad state, is completely outdated or is now just
I often stated that I am willing to tolerate if there is information
missing in one or the other of all the languages, but when it comes to a
point where people are more confused by the documentation than it helps
them... we need to do something.
Last night, I restructured the entire hardware section. It was really
bad. Especially information about the various ARM hardware that is
supported was all over the place. Some pages have been there twice with
completely different things on them. Some had their own section.
The result of that is that the landing page of the hardware section
(http://wiki.ipfire.org/en/hardware/start) was stripped to the bare
essentials in my opinion. What are the requirements? What hardware
should I use? Examples? Done.
Some things that have been on the very long page before were just moved
to a sub-page. I find it very important to explain why certain decisions
where made and what reasons are behind something. But having all that on
the first page is not helping. People don't read long texts if they are
searching for a particular thing. If someone is interested in more
detail he or she will search for that any way. So the landing page shows
the recommended hardware specification. All other information about that
can be found over here: http://wiki.ipfire.org/en/hardware/requirements
Then I created a section which just handles the ARM hardware:
As mentioned before, there is no new information. This is just all the
information collected from the rest of the wiki and restructured. The
key element here is a table with all the hardware we support (or
explicitly do not support). I figured that this is the most important
information that the users are searching for. If you click on one of the
boards, you will find additional information. Those pages are not the
best and explain how to install an ARM board over and over again. That
is good for now, but needs to be cleaned up as well in the near future.
I am telling you this because I want you (who ever is interested) to
understand what I have in mind when I write these things. It may not the
best thing, but I have some points why I am doing it like I do it and
may be you can adopt some of them, too.
Clean design and clear structure is hugely important. This wiki holds so
much information about IPFire that almost every questions can be
answered. The problem with that is that it is very hard to find at
times. If you know what you are searching for you will find the right
page very quickly. If you are searching for something for the first time
with no background information, you are practically screwed.
So to bring this all to a point: I am very much inclined to delete huge
parts of the documentation.
I find it much better to have no information at all instead of providing
the users with wrong information. Wrong could also mean just outdated or
A few examples: We don't need pages which say "English version coming
soon". This has been there since 2013.
We also do not need installation guides for outdated software (here
Debian). If anybody is going to install a virtualization host, they
should certainly start with the current stable version. So either this
needs to be updated or removed.
Why did someone even start writing a separate page for Wheezy (only in
German) when there was already a page about the same topic with Squeeze?
I imagine this has happened because the author was unaware of the
existence of the one page.
This is just one of the many examples I can bring here and I should
point out that I am not at all disappointed with the work many people
have done here. There is only something massively wrong with how it is
maintained. Outdated information isn't worth a penny.
There is a third page about the same topic handling Debian Lenny.
Someone added a notes that this page is outdated. At this point I cannot
imagine something else but deleting all of this.
The other topic that is the missing translation is the firewall section.
Since almost a year now there is a completely rewritten firewall GUI.
Nothing looks the same any more and some parts have become more
difficult to use. Hence we wrote a very decent firewall documentation
which no one ever translated into any other language.
It has been pointed out several times on the forums and many people made
promises to actually do something about it. No one ever did. It was not
I cannot help it thinking that there is just no interest in having a
German translation. Many people argue often that it is important to keep
documentation accessible in various languages and I completely agree
with that. But if nobody cares doing the work I can not take you and
your point serious.
I am especially picking on the German translation as we have a huge
community of people who are speaking German. The translations of the
other languages are not very much advanced so that people don't read
these at all and even if they do, there is not so much outdated
information in there (the installation works the same since years for
So in the end there must be consequences. I am not sure about what is
the right way - quite possibly is there no right way of doing this. But
seriously guys, we cannot keep doing this in this way we are doing it
right now. That is dangerous.
I wonder if someone has something to say about this matter. I would be
happy to hear from you all. There are over 50 people subscribed to this
list. So I will take silence as an answer.
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