[CentOS-docs] Installing CentOS - user feedback

Mon Aug 17 23:34:59 UTC 2020
Manuel Wolfshant <wolfy at nobugconsulting.ro>

On 8/17/20 11:04 PM, Rich Bowen wrote:
> A few days ago I got email from a user who was attempting to install 
> CentOS. I've included their full message below, but, to summarize, 
> when one clicks on the "CentOS Linux" link on the front page of 
> centos.org one is given a matrix of choices, and no guidance. On 
> choosing one option - say, x84_64 ISO, one is then given another list 
> of options and no guidance. Pick one of *those* options and you are 
> yet again given a list of options and no guidance.
> Now, it could be argued that someone who doesn't know what to choose 
> is not our target audience, and I suppose that would be an ok position 
> to hold. But wouldn't it be great to lower the bar just a little, and 
> offer some guidance as to which links one should click?
> I'd like to see several things:
> 1) On the front page, where it says "We offer two Linux distros:", 
> there would be at least some hint of what this choice entails
> 2) On the download page - https://www.centos.org/centos-linux/ - a 
> little explanation of what the various options there are.
> So far, this is all just edits to centos.org. The next two steps 
> involve pushing changes to the mirror network, and I honestly have no 
> idea what is involved there.
> 3) Adding phrasing to 
> http://isoredirect.centos.org/centos/8/isos/x86_64/ that indicates 
> what that inscrutable list of links means.
> and finally, possibly not even possible:
> 4) Add words to http://centos4.zswap.net/8.2.2004/isos/x86_64/ (as a 
> random example) that say what the various options mean. This is 
> probably not possible, since these are just autoindex generated pages. 
> We could, however, offer Apache httpd and nginx configuration 
> recommendations which will provide that additional information for 
> sites that chose to follow the instructions.
> And, really, #1 and #2 are the most important here.
Rich, I fully agree with that user and frankly, I command him for 
reaching out and telling you ( and us ) his concerns. I for one would 
have quit and not looked back. Been there, done that.

Leaving that aside, AFAIK the main web site is not under community 
control. It was taken over by RedHat eons ago ( not that it was 
accessible for us, the members of the CentOS teams, before that anyway ) 
and I bet that there are most 5 people who can modify it. If memory 
serves I am part of the wiki translation team for 12 years or so and 
AFAIK none of those who can edit the wiki had ever had any sort of 
influence on the pages published on www.c.o. We actually had to _beg_ to 
have links in the main website point to the wiki ( which _was_ under our 
control ) so that we could publish information we thought that 
could/would be useful for the users.

In an ideal world, we would have some sort of AJAX that would 
dynamically describe each and every iso link on the main pages of the 
web site. But that's a job for web designers and content publishers. I 
fully recommend to whoever will be tasked with this project to look at 
the wiki maintained by the arch community. THAT is how things should be 
done, from my point of view. And, with all due respect, I mean that as 
opposed to access.r.c and www.r.c which are awful to navigate unless you 
know exactly what you want.. and sometimes not even then.


PS: I created the very very first 0_README.txt file that is now included 
in the isos/$ARCH folder. A file which usually is ignored for the simple 
reason that end users almost never reach it but whose content should be 
published BEFORE the users attempt to download an iso.

> The full message follows:
> >>
> I stumbled on your address on a Centos Faq page. I hope you can give me
> some sort of answer.
> I have been searching for a way to ask a question, but have not located
> a forum. As I am fairly new to Linux generally, I am exploring
> varieties, and Centos surfaced as an interesting option. But, again, I
> have a problem no one else considers worthy of asking or answering: how
> do I choose? Apparently the user in the download directory is supposed
> to know what they are looking for.
> When I followed the link to "download CentOs", I chose a link with
> ".iso" on it. This opened another page, so I picked another likely
> candidate. I went four or five branches deep before I gave up. I have no
> idea why I would want one branch or the other. Should I just leave
> CentOs to the experts?
> I really wish that on the home page there was a specification for "user
> level". Do developers assume that the user is expert, and that someone
> who is not qualified will get exhausted and go away? It seems very
> unkind to make that assumption and not say so. If I am not the intended
> user, please tell me! Otherwise, could someone please explain how to
> choose which version of CentOs to use?
> If you could forward this letter to someone who can take the time to
> answer my question, I will be grateful.
> <<
> _______________________________________________
> CentOS-docs mailing list
> CentOS-docs at centos.org
> https://lists.centos.org/mailman/listinfo/centos-docs