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Chapter 14. Command-Line Software Instal... > Using Common Sense and Configuration...

Using Common Sense and Configuration Options

A reasonable number of problems can be solved by a suitable application of common sense. The biggest problem with this is that users appear to have a difficult time figuring out what sense is common, and what is not. I repeatedly have seen users who were convinced their problems were the fault of a program or machine, and were hopping mad at the system for treating them poorly. Most frequently, however, it turns out that they've mistyped some command or entered an incorrect parameter and fixing this also fixes the problem. Conversely, I've seen users who have spent hours fighting with a problem, firmly convinced that they were making some trivial error and were simply incapable of seeing it. Almost to the user, these cases turn out to be actual machine or software errors rather than user errors. If you're new to the Unix environment, watch for this tendency—if you think something is the system's fault, stop to consider whether you really have done everything properly. If you think you're doing something wrong but can't figure out what it is after suitable inspection, don't forget that the people who wrote the software are users too and could have made an error.

That being said, we'll provide a general list of things that might help you figure out what's going wrong with a piece of compiled software. There is no such thing as a complete list, but these are relatively good places to start.


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