[CentOS-docs] Installing CentOS - user feedback

Mon Aug 17 23:41:09 UTC 2020
Manuel Wolfshant <wolfy at nobugconsulting.ro>

On 8/18/20 2:34 AM, Manuel Wolfshant wrote:
> 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.

Oh, sweet. I just noticed that below the /8/isos tree there is no 
description similar to 
http://centos4.zswap.net/7/isos/x86_64/0_README.txt. Wonderful choice, 
dropping each and every hint that [barely] existed.

>> 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.
> wolfy
> 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.
>> <<