Dec 052000

Helping others

Do you remember my CD-ROM saga?  When I completed messed up my system?  You can read the original article here.  In that article, I changed the nick of the person to xyz, to protect the guilty.  In that article, which includes my logs of what went on in on IRC in #freebsd on EFnet IRC Network, you can see how I made some silly errors.  More importantly, you can see how people helped me fix the problem.  A short 15 minutes of help made all the difference.

Each of us can contribute in different ways.  I write websites (the Diary, FreshPorts, unix @ home, NZFUG, to name a few).  I help out via IRC on Undernet #FreeBSD.  Sometimes I answer questions on -questions.  I submit PRs when I know how to fix something (which isn’t very often).

I’ve already written about the various methods by which people can show their support for FreeBSD.  There is always something which *anyone* can do.  You don’t have to be a coder to contribute to the FreeBSD Project.


When that article was first printed, I changed the nickname from jkh to xyz.  That was and still is my standard procedure.  Some time later, when jkh turned up on Undernet #FreeBSD one day, I recognized the nick from EFNET.  It wasn’t until some time later that someone told me jkh was Jordan Hubbard.  I always thought it was Jordan who had given me that early help. But I didn’t have any proof.

Until today.   I was talking in an unnamed Undernet channel, and I happened to mention that CD-ROM article.  Will Andrews pointed me off to the archives for the EFNET #FreeBSD channel.  He had found the original discussion.   Here is an extract from the that log: cdrom.txt (15 KB).   The original log is at this URL (530 KB).

Why do I bother to mention this?

I don’t know.  I guess it’s a combination of bragging that jkh helped me out in my early days and a sense of wanting to encourage people to help others.

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: The FreeBSD Diary would not exist if someone had not helped me out.  I would have gotten stuck and given up.  I would have said something like:

  • Neah, I tried FreeBSD, but it was too hard.
  • I couldn’t figure it out.
  • It wouldn’t install.
  • It wouldn’t boot.

Remember how easy it is to help and then remember how hard it was when you were first starting out.