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Revision as of 20:44, 10 November 2009 by Manolo (talk | contribs) (Regular user or root?: mistake)
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Because the vast majority of the ArchWiki contains indications that may need clarification for users new to GNU/Linux, this rundown of basic procedures was written both to avoid confusion in the assimilation of the articles, and to deter repetition in the content itself.


Besides covering basic differentiations, this article could serve to improve the quality of the Wiki by avoiding repetition. How many articles say: "edit in ~/.bashrc, or zhrc (if you're using zsh) -- Alternatively, edit /etc/profile.bash for system-wide changes" or something to that effect? And even though it sounds counterintuitive, expanding this article makes the Wiki better for advanced users as well, since they won't be presented with the same old information they're accustomed to skip.

We could have a basic run down of common file locations and what they mean, instead of explaining them in every article. As a result, editors can just say "add the following to the shell's configuration" and readers would then decide whether they want it system-wide or not, etc.

Just like article:ABS is referred to in every page that involves compiling, this page could serve the same kind of utility.

Regular user or root?

Some lines are written like so:

# pacman -S

Others have a different prefix:

$ pacman -S

The numeral sign (#) indicates that the line is to be entered as root, whereas the dollar sign ($) shows that the line is to be entered as a regular user.

A notable exception to watch out for:

# This alias makes ls colorize the listing
alias ls='ls --color=auto

In this example, the context surrounding the numeral sign tells the reader that this is not to be ran as a command; it should be edited into a file instead. So in this case, the numeral sign denotes a comment. Bash scripts denotation for comments happens to coincide with the root PS1.

After furtherly examining the lines, "give away" signs include: the first character after the # sign is uppercase. Usually, Unix are not written this way, and most of the time they are short abbreviations instead of full-blown English words (e.g. Copy=cp), etc.

Regardless, most articles make this easy to discern by notifying the reader: Append in to Template:Filename:

# This alias makes ls assign to the listing
alias ls='ls --color=auto

Personal settings or system-wide?