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dunbar
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 4:29 pm    Post subject: Have any searching techniques to share? Reply with quote

In another forum, klieber promoted a searching tip:
Quote:

Learn how to join words together using boolean operators. Instead of searching for "linux kernel problem" search for, "linux AND kernel AND problem". You will get a much smaller result set. Another example; "linux AND (debian OR redhat)".

I've met some search sites that used that syntax; but very few web search engines I've met still use it. Years ago, yes, everything used that syntax.

FWIW, the syntax seems to work here in the forum search, so that's good to know. :)

Quoting Google:
The "AND" operator is unnecessary -- we include all search terms by default.

Quoting WiseNut:
The following word was ignored in your query because it is too common: "AND"

Using 'AND' becomes a passive failure (passive refers only to Google and WiseNut in this message).
In fact, if you enter the "linux AND kernel AND problem" string in Google (exactly as given, with double quotes), the Google search result is forced to match that string within the double quotes.... reducing the search results to run-on sentences (' Just yesterday, I had linux and kernel and problems on my home PC...') 8O instead of producing pages where linux, kernel, and problem all appear on the page (per the intentions of the proposed syntax).

HotBot uses AND, but... when was the last time I used HotBot since Google arrived? HotBots results seem iffy compared to newer search engines such as Google and Wisenut.

Google is the engine of choice for me, but I'm not well informed.

That all raises a good idea for a thread:
What are your favorite methods for understanding a problem on your Linux PC?
Do you search websites?
Which search Engines?
Do you bookmark specific pages which are hidden from easy websearches?
Do newbies frequently overlook certain local documents?
Don't say 'man tar' is good for a newbie (go look for yourself)!
And tell us newbies some techniques for getting help under typical newbie conditions.... You know, XFree86 just crashed, or we just 'rm -Rf * /' ed ourself.
(I loved it when Xfree86 crashed and the necessary help files were HTML..... and without a GUI, I had no browser. Lynx was not installed: Mandrake never installs it, but it is on their install CD!!))

Remember, the forum I chose was Newbies.

Here is one obvious tip:

Try http://www.google.com/linux this places Google in the 'Linux' frame of mind... Google will trim the search results you get so that you only get results from the Linux realms, great for eliminating Macintosh and Windows responses to similar questions.

Do tell - what made information made your day?
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klieber
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Have any searching techniques to share? Reply with quote

dunbar wrote:
What are your favorite methods for understanding a problem on your Linux PC?
Do you search websites?
Which search Engines?


To address these three points:

  1. I use Google for 99% of my searching. I use Yahoo for the other 1% when I'm looking for a company home page and Google doesn't have it, for whatever reason. (rare)
  2. Absolutely. Several times per day.
  3. Google, Google, Google and Yahoo. :) I rarely have a reason to use other search engines. On occasion, I'll use groups.google.com to search usenet postings as well. (but that's still Google, in my book :))

Quote:
Do newbies frequently overlook certain local documents?

yes, the man pages. (see below) Also, the log files in /var/log/

Quote:
Don't say 'man tar' is good for a newbie (go look for yourself)!

It may not be easy to understand for a newbie, but man pages are one of the best linux references available. The more you use them, the easier they become to understand. (just like linux) Another good resource are the 'info' pages (info <command>) I don't use this all that much since I'm stubborn and set in my ways, but a lot of other people swear by it.

Quote:
And tell us newbies some techniques for getting help under typical newbie conditions.... You know, XFree86 just crashed, or we just 'rm -Rf * /' ed ourself.


Well, if you just rm -rf /'ed yourself, you're pretty much fscked. Restore from backup. (you do keep a backup, right? :)) Of course, you should never use root unless you absolutely have to. If you're not logged in as root, rm -rf / won't take your system down.

However, for other errors, such as XFree86 problems, /var/log/* usually has some information in there that's pertinent (if not easy to understand) to the problem at hand. Copy that error message (or a part of it), paste it into google and you can usually get a general sense for what's causing your problem. Refine from there.

Another method -- we get a lot of, "Application X won't start correctly" in these forums. Try starting it from a command line and you'll (usually) get verbose output that indicates what the problem is. (again, it may not be easy to decipher, but google is your friend)


Quote:
(I loved it when Xfree86 crashed and the necessary help files were HTML..... and without a GUI, I had no browser. Lynx was not installed: Mandrake never installs it, but it is on their install CD!!))


Always install command line tools -- never rely solely upon GUI tools for exactly this reason. Command line tools are usually very, very small and don't take up a lot of space. XFree86, OTOH, is very, very large and generally has lots of problems (through bugs, poor user configs or whatever) so you never want to depend on XFree86 working correctly.

I encourage others to post to this thread as well. I'm going to make it sticky for a few days to ensure it gets maximum attention.

--kurt
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Beavis
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2002 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find almost all my answers on google groups... sometimes it takes a few times rewording your search to find exactly what you're looking for.

If you are using google, take a look at Google Help. It shows examples on different ways to refine your search.

Beavis
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huw
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pasting the error messages you've got into google can often pull up lots of useful advice as it tends to retrieve mail-list archives where people with the same problem as you have had help fixing it.
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jay
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2002 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent swiss knife tool is IMHO midnight commander. I has a small editor that is capable to read HTML and gzipped helpfiles without any special command.

Things that are a must on the command line:
mc
lynx
nmap
wget
ftp
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klieber
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jay wrote:
Things that are a must on the command line:


Don't forget 'man' :)

--kurt
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jay
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a localized version of a browser can make a HUGE difference in displaying the search results. The best idea is IMHO to use a english version and add as much language settings you are able to understand.

Another good technique is, searching special domains. For example, when I look for anything Xfree related I force google to search with my string in the xfree.org domain exclusively. This will often give you more clearer an precise results.
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slik
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2002 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Have any searching techniques to share? Reply with quote

dunbar wrote:

Don't say 'man tar' is good for a newbie (go look for yourself)!

Info pages for GNU tools (like tar) are generally more complete than their man page counterparts, indexed and everything! If you want an easy to navigate (with arrow keys) info browser (command line)
Code:

# emerge pinfo


dunbar wrote:

or we just 'rm -Rf * /' ed ourself.

Just to note that reiserfs does NOT have undelete capabilities.. ext2 does (maybe ext3 too?)
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huw
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Just to note that reiserfs does NOT have undelete capabilities.. ext2 does (maybe ext3 too?)


Eh? depends how desparate you are to get the data back.... to *really* erase something you need to overwrite the sectors on the HD where that data used to exist.

Code:
man shred


Quote:
Overwrite the specified FILE(s) repeatedly, in order to
make it harder for even very expensive hardware probing to
recover the data
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dunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jay wrote:
An excellent swiss knife tool is IMHO midnight commander. I has a small editor that is capable to read HTML and gzipped helpfiles without any special command.

Things that are a must on the command line:
mc
lynx
nmap
wget
ftp


Thanks for the tip regarding mc being able to read html - I did not know that, and I've been using Mandrake for over a year now!
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dunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

huw wrote:
Pasting the error messages you've got into google can often pull up lots of useful advice as it tends to retrieve mail-list archives where people with the same problem as you have had help fixing it.


This works great if
you are already a Linux user who know how to cut and paste CLI text,
can still run X,
have a nonfatal, nonfreezing error,
and can surf from the box which generated the error.

Many 'newbies with problems' can't:
copy Linux CLI text,
launch a text based browser (if such browser is even installed),
surf to google or a forum to generate a new message pasting the CLI text, post it and then wait for an answer.....?

(Me, I always get stopped by one of the following:
Box froze,
Xfree86 was the error and does not run,
Can't copy CLI text,
Can't launch Lynx because distro of the day did not install it by default (newbies use defaults, believe me),
Can't surf because the ISP is netzero, requiring Windows,
So I have to post the next day from work, on the sly, which means I forget the text...)

Not to be insensitive; Yes, posting the actual text of the error message is a great help in diagnosing a problem.
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delta407
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you can't cut and paste because it's a fatal freezing error, you could always get a piece of paper and write it down... most Linux newbies understand the "handwriting interface". :D

As far as getting help with a dead box, you will have to find another computer to send a message with or use one of your lifelines (phone a friend is most helpful in this case).

Posting the error message is not a great help, it is often the only way to figure out what to fix. "X broke" doesn't help anyone, now does it?
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dunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats it, then - the best 'search tips and techniques' are 'search the web' and 'rtfm'??

Gentooers are supposed to be better than that. 8O

How about posting about sites that explain how to diagnose a Linux problem to 'recently ex-Windows' users? That would be a neat site to present troubleshooting techniques, if such a site existed..... Does anyone know of one or two such sites? Surely would make readers happy if you'd post one. I think searching for a solution implies finding a solution. Newbies like to be self sufficient once is a while! :roll:
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delta407
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunbar wrote:
How about posting about sites that explain how to diagnose a Linux problem to 'recently ex-Windows' users?


Yeah, right here. :)

Seriously, though, there is quite a learning curve for the "uninitiated", so to speak. From what I've found, the only way to get good at troubleshooting computers is to work with the thing that may break; hence, an audience of Gentoo-ers are infinitely more helpful than leaving a newbie with an inconclusive troubleshooting guide or man pages.


Last edited by delta407 on Tue Jun 18, 2002 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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orkid
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2002 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believe me, the curve is steep, and you might get discouraged along the way (I have many times). But you come back to it :)
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klieber
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dunbar wrote:
Thats it, then - the best 'search tips and techniques' are 'search the web' and 'rtfm'??

Gentooers are supposed to be better than that. 8O


IMO, those are the best search tips and techniques. I'm able to answer 90% - 95% of my problems either by 'man <command>' or searching google.

Yes, it's more difficult for newbies, but so is riding a bicycle. The only way to learn how to do it is to do it. Then, once you get more experienced with it, it becomes second nature.

--kurt
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huw
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2002 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Posting the error message is not a great help, it is often the only way to figure out what to fix.


Exactly. After all that *is* the point of error messages. :wink:
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maystorm
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2002 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delta407 wrote:
Well, if you can't cut and paste because it's a fatal freezing error, you could always get a piece of paper and write it down... most Linux newbies understand the "handwriting interface". :D


[irony]

No, I've to disagree here; since most Linux newbies have a Windoze background they only know how to cut'n'paste... They even wouldn't remember that there is something as powerful as paper... :wink:

[/irony]
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 6:09 am    Post subject: Re: Have any searching techniques to share? Reply with quote

For some good linux resources (programming to administration to pretty much everything else) check out www.linuxwala.com. Nice central repository of all things linux (documentation related) well laid out.. some of the info is a bit outdated, but definately a great place to start.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

unsticking. moving over to tips & tricks.

--kurt
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dunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maystorm wrote:
delta407 wrote:
Well, if you can't cut and paste because it's a fatal freezing error, you could always get a piece of paper and write it down... most Linux newbies understand the "handwriting interface". :D


[irony]

No, I've to disagree here; since most Linux newbies have a Windoze background they only know how to cut'n'paste... They even wouldn't remember that there is something as powerful as paper... :wink:

[/irony]


Ouch. With my penmanship... double ouch.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2002 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have recently found http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/HOWTO-INDEX/categories.html very usefull in learning how to do something (setup firewall, software RAID install, fdisk information, etc). It is not all that useful for fixing a problem like XFree86 crashing, but if you want to learn it is great.

- Chris
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A "real world" example... :wink:

https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic.php?t=6970#35454
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des
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2002 8:18 pm    Post subject: try --help | less Reply with quote

Two tips:
I have a devil of a time remembering the thousands of switches and options on the command line, man works, but often faster for me is the --help option, standard on about 95% of the common utilities.

Code:
tar --help | more


Also, grep is wonderfull, love it !

Code:
tar --help | grep "bunzip"



Another usefull thing I started a long time ago was my own little cheatsheet, it contains hints and tricks that I've stumbled across, and know I'll never remeber, and lots of things I've looked up twice.

Code:
grep -A5 -i "drives" ~/cheatsheet


Code:

cat >> ~/cheatsheet
DRIVES
=====
testing:
hdparam -Tt



^c
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dunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2002 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jay wrote:
An excellent swiss knife tool is IMHO midnight commander. I has a small editor that is capable to read HTML and gzipped helpfiles without any special command.

Things that are a must on the command line:
mc
lynx
nmap
wget
ftp


Wow, I missed this post! Thanks a lot!
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