Hobby-hacking Eric


ssh does indeed invoke a shell

And so continues our saga of Eric Doesn't Actually Know How Computers Work...

New discovery of the day? SSH does indeed invoke a shell when you do something like ssh myserver mycommand I always somehow figured that when you did that, magically mycommand would be invoked, like really first thing when you log in, no shell or nuthing. Nope, that's not how it works, and come to think of it, that kinda makes sense, right, because the computer gets to enforce what the user runs when (s)he logs in (duh). If it didn't go through a shell, then what would be the point of having that bit in /etc/passwd that tells the computer what shell to run? The user could totally bypass that by saying ssh myserver /launch/ze/missles. Oh wait... then again, maybe it's not for security reasons, because the user wouldn't have +x on /launch/ze/missles (but I am le tired!)... ugh, it's late, and the later it gets the more easily I confuse myself. Ok, so point being, ssh invokes a shell when you try to launch a command through it. Check.

Makes my issue223 kinda redundant, then, don't it?

the wikibook

Oh, and a minor note, I have slightly fleshed out the Understanding Darcs wikibook. Now, you might think that having a wikibook is redundant with either the Darcs manual, or the Darcs wiki, or both, but I would tend to disagree. I'd like you first of all to think of the wikibook not as a Wiki, but a Book. See, we got three things here, a Manual, a Wiki and a Book.

The way I figure, a Manual's job is to be terse and complete. It needs to be a good reference guide, the kind of thing that mechanics can thumb through without wading through a bunch of useful "helpful" stuff. The K+R book is what comes to mind when I think of this. No nonsense, here's everything you need to know. Of course, a Manual can be friendly if it wants, but only as long as said friendliness does not get in the way of its core mission, thumb-through-ability.

Now what's a software Wiki's job? Not to be friendly either! I'm not sure what I'd put down as its core mission, because you know, if anything wikis are meant to be chaotic and messy. No more than neccesary, of course; it's always nice to have someone come in and try to sweep things around and put things in their place. I guess if anything, a Wiki's core mission is to cover the fokelore. In fact, let's not call it Wiki anymore. Abstract over the fact that it's a wiki. A Folklore Repository is meant to know everything that the community knows. It can be friendly if the community is feeling friendly, but really, its main role is sprawl out into all the little niches of Our knowledge (and that's why wikis are ideal for this, because every one of Us can go plug something in).

And now we get to a Book. What's a Book supposed to do (I should call it something else, like a Guide). So scratch that. What's a Guide supposed to do? Be friendly. And that's we don't have yet in the darcs community. We've got the Manual covered (and we rock because our comments are our manual, go David!). We've got the Folklore down, but not alot of Folk and thus, not a lot of lore. But what we're sorely, sorely missing is an actual Guide. And this is where wikibooks comes in. Hyper-text is nice and all, but one thing which makes a document friendly, I think, is it doesn't force you to choose anything. Not even the order that you read stuff. No a Guide should really be telling you, look, ok, of course you can approach this any way you want, but if you listen to the way I tell it, if you follow me, I will tell you a coherent story. I might be full of crap about this, but in order to make a Guide work, you have to make it sequential. Point being, a Guide needs to be a book, not a wiki. You can put hypertext in it to make it richer, but there must be a canonical order for users to fall back on. Of course, then why use wikibooks? Because I want to author this with the community. I don't think I can pull it off myself. What we're producing is not a real Guide, but sort of a compromise between Folklore and a Guide. But then... why Wikibooks? Why not just put the Guide on the darcs wiki? Oh technical reasons. MoinMoin isn't the easiest thing to work with for fancy stuff. I wish there was a latex-based wiki out there. Like good. Well, actually, there's another part to that, in that I want it on wikibooks, because I want editors to look at that thing and think Book (not Wiki). Book as in, let me try to be pedagogical. Not Wiki as in, let me slap down what I know any old way.

There ya go. Three paragraphs of rambling nonsense with Capital Letters liberally sprinkled throughout. I'd better go home and try to do something useful with my time instead.

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