source: introduction/welcome/askhelp.xml@ 0990cf7a

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1<sect1 id="intro-welcome-askhelp">
2<?dbhtml filename="askhelp.html"?>
3<title>Asking for help and the <acronym>FAQ</acronym></title>
4
5<para>If you encounter a problem while using this book, and your problem
6is not listed in the <acronym>FAQ</acronym> (<ulink
7url="http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/faq"/>), you will find that most of the
8people on Internet Relay Chat (<acronym>IRC</acronym>) and on the mailing lists
9are willing to help you. An overview of the <acronym>LFS</acronym> mailing
10lists can be found in <xref linkend="intro-welcome-maillists"/>. To assist us
11in diagnosing and solving your problem, include as much relevant information as
12possible in your request for help.</para>
13
14<sect2>
15<title>Things to check prior to asking</title>
16
17<para>Before asking for help, you should review the following
18items:</para>
19
20<itemizedlist>
21<listitem><para>Is the hardware support compiled into the kernel or
22available as a module to the kernel? If it is a module, is it configured
23properly in <filename>modules.conf</filename> and has it been loaded? You
24should use <command>lsmod</command> as root to see if it's loaded. Check the
25<filename>sys.log</filename> or run <command>modprobe &lt;driver&gt;
26</command> to review any error message. If it loads properly, you may need
27to add the <command>modprobe</command> to your boot scripts.</para></listitem>
28
29<listitem><para>Are your permissions properly set, especially for
30devices? <acronym>LFS</acronym> uses groups to make these settings easier, but
31it also adds the step of adding users to groups to allow access. A simple
32<command>moduser -G audio &lt;user&gt;</command> may be all that's necessary
33for that user to have access to the sound system. Any question that starts
34out with "It works as root, but not as ..." requires a thorough review
35of permissions prior to asking.</para></listitem>
36
37<listitem><para><acronym>BLFS</acronym> liberally uses <filename>
38/opt/&lt;package&gt;</filename>. The main objection to this centers around the
39need to expand your environment variables for each package placed there (e.g.,
40PATH=$PATH:/opt/kde/bin). In some cases, the package will walk you
41through the changes, but some will not. The section called "<ulink
42url="beyond.html">Going Beyond BLFS</ulink>" is available to help you check.</para></listitem>
43</itemizedlist></sect2>
44
45<sect2>
46<title>Things to mention</title>
47
48<para>Apart from a brief explanation of the problem you're having, the
49essential things to include in your request are:</para>
50
51<itemizedlist>
52<listitem><para>the version of the book you are using (being
53&version;),</para></listitem>
54<listitem><para>the package or section giving you
55problems,</para></listitem>
56<listitem><para>the exact error message or symptom you are
57receiving,</para></listitem>
58<listitem><para>whether you have deviated from the book or
59<acronym>LFS</acronym> at all.</para></listitem>
60</itemizedlist>
61
62<para>(Note that saying that you've deviated from the book doesn't mean
63that we won't help you. It'll just help us to see other possible causes of your problem.)</para>
64
65<para>Expect guidance instead of specific instructions. If you are
66instructed to read something, please do so, it generally implies that
67the answer was way too obvious and that the question would not have been asked
68if a little research was done prior to asking. The volunteers in the mailing
69list prefer not to be used as an alternative to doing reasonable research on
70your end. In addition, the quality of your experience with <acronym>BLFS
71</acronym> is also greatly enhanced by this research, and the quality of
72volunteers is enhanced because they don't feel that their time has been abused,
73so they are far more likely to participate.</para>
74
75<para>An excellent article on asking for help on the Internet in general
76has been written by Eric S. Raymond. It is available online at <ulink
77url="http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html"/>.
78Read and follow the hints in that document and you are much more likely
79to get a response to start with and also to get the help you actually
80need.</para>
81</sect2>
82
83</sect1>
84
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