/ BLOG / I'm all for documentation and howtos, but...

Does the world really need multiple tutorials and howtos, where the only difference is that the title says it affects different distros? Especially when those distros are closely related?

Specifically the one that set me off was seeing yet another PowerDNS item appear in the HowToForge feed. Thinking that bloglines was having trouble I went off to have a look, but sure enough there are at least 3 guides. One for Debian Etch, one for Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) and one for CentOS 5.2. Now I can sort of understand the one for CentOS to a point. HowToForge is potentially for a market that doesn’t know that their package manager is yum, or apt (although if you’re trying to setup a DNS server, I might dispute that you’re not ready if you don’t know this), or where that specific distro puts various config files. On that front its very useful not to clutter one big howto with lots of “and”, “or”’s.

However, Debian and Ubuntu are pretty closely related, and from a quick scan I honestly can’t see the difference between the instructions other than the title. Granted I don’t know the back end behind HowToForge, or it’s policies, but surely it’s possible to assign something to multiple distros?

I’m not specifically having a go at the person writing these documents, and this is why I’ve not linked to the articles. These people do an exceptionally important job, one of which is largely thankless.

So I’d like to say thank you to all the documentation writers. But may you could make your lives a little easier?