simplifying rebaseall

Charles Wilson
Fri Sep 17 17:38:00 GMT 2010

On 9/17/2010 12:18 PM, Al wrote:
>> And it invites casual use without understanding the what and why.  This
>> means
>> more people using it for no reason and more problems using it when it is
>> needed because people don't understand the requirements to make it work
>> (i.e. *nobody* will read the readme... wait, there's a readme? ;-) ).
> Hmm, how does information work currently?

Almost EVERYTHING in cygwin has a README. Take a look in
/usr/share/doc/Cygwin sometime. Furthermore many packages (but not
rebase) have additional documentation in /usr/share/doc/$PKG/ -- just
like on linux.

> I found the hint to run
> rebase somewhere in a blog, when I was hunting down a bug. Others will
> be told on this list to run rebase all without the hint of a readme.

Because most people, when told to 'run rebaseall' will say to themselves
"I don't know how to run rebaseall. I wonder if it has a help option..."

$ rebaseall --help
rebaseall: only ash or dash processes are allowed during rebasing
    Exit all Cygwin processes and stop all Cygwin services.
    Execute ash (or dash) from Start/Run... or a cmd or command window.
    Execute '/bin/rebaseall' from ash (or dash).

No...but that's a pretty descriptive error message.  However, I still
want more information.  Maybe there's a man page:

$ man rebaseall
No manual entry for rebaseall

$ man rebase
No manual entry for rebase

Info page?
$ info rebaseall
$ info rebase


Well, there must be SOME documentation somewhere.  I know: I'll look in
the /usr/share/doc

$ ls /usr/share/doc/*rebase*
ls: cannot access /usr/share/doc/*rebase*: No such file or directory


Well, Cygwin puts some documentation in /usr/share/doc/Cygwin, so I
better look there:

$ ls /usr/share/doc/Cygwin/*rebase*


Now, surely that is a lot of hunting around -- but I can only assume
that many people did so, since you are apparently the first person to
fail to locate the documentation when faced with the question "How do I
run rebaseall"?

> You can verify this be reading the lists archive. The only hint you
> find in the FAQ is below the topic "Terminal Server machine". Who is
> finding that?

Should we put "If you have a question about package foo, be sure and
look in /usr/share/doc/foo*/ and at /usr/share/doc/Cygwin/foo* for more
information" in the signature line of every message?

> I wouldn't even have an idea how to find and read this readme while
> using ash.

See above.  Most of that should be very familiar to a person with "10
years of Linux experience" -- except for the bit about "Cygwin packages
often put a cygwin-specific README file in /usr/share/doc/Cygwin/"

Maybe THAT tidbit should go in the FAQ...but I doubt the Questioned is
Frequently Asked in this form: "Where can I find additional information
about specific Cygwin packages".

No, the question would be asked "Where can I get more information about
foo" or "...rebase" or "..gcc" or "...wget"

So, even if the FAQ *did* have the following:

Q: Where can I find additional information about specific Cygwin packages?
A: Look in /usr/share/doc/Cygwin/.  Most cygwin packages put some
cygwin-specific information in a README file located in that directory. still wouldn't have found it -- unless you are in the habit of
reading FAQs from top-to-bottom (I'm not...).

> If there is a danger that people run rebase all without reading the
> readme, there is a similar danger that people give up Cygwin, before
> they ever discover that they could solve their issues by running
> rebaseall.

Look, we recognize that this rebase issue has cause *you* heartburn.  It
annoys us too, but thanks to Bill G, we can't really do anything about
it.  But, what you have to realize is -- it *does not* always occur.
Not *every* user is impacted by it.  Many users might use cygwin for
years and NEVER see the dreaded "unable to remap" error.

Those people would be in danger of accidentally (or curiously) clicking
a shortcut called 'rebase'.  The pain of THAT far outweighs the tiny
convenience, for a small population of unfortunate newbies, that might
need to run rebase but are not yet experienced enough to know all about
it.  (Worse, we simply CAN'T create a shortcut if the rebase problem
hits 'bash' -- all such postinstall scripts themselves will fail with
the remap error!)


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