[techtalk] POP mail security

Laurel Fan lf25+ at andrew.cmu.edu
Fri Jan 7 20:31:02 EST 2000

Excerpts from linuxchix: 7-Jan-100 RE: [techtalk] POP mail sec.. by
"Linda Walsh"@sgi.com 
>         I typed man on pop, pop3, imap and imap4 and they all came up
> null.

Would it help you if I pasted the relevant part of the fetchmail
manpage?  Would it help you if I said the manpage for fetchmail is
helpful?  Would it help you if I said man generally contains information
about programs, functions, and config files, and not on general topics
or protocols?

> Maybe I'm out in left field, but it seems your answer was designed
> to preach that the user should go and search many useless (in regards to
> this question) sources of information before asking here.  

My answer was in part designed to give some information about how to
find this information.  It looked like the asker of the question did not
do so, which I assume meant that she did not know how to do so.. 
Finding documentation is a very useful skill in dealing with Linux,
since there is a lot of free documentation out there, but a newbie might
not know where to look.  (as a note for the future, it can make it
easier for those who would help you if you say where you've looked, so
others won't duplicate your work)

I don't know where you get that I was telling her to search "useless
sources of information".  I merely explained how I would go about
looking for that answer, and I think it was useful, since I found the
answer about 3 times, in one form or another.

Often, I have found reading documentation is a faster and more
convenient way of doing things than sending to the mailing lists.  It
took me about 20 minutes to look through the documentation and write the
email.  Even if it is a simple question, it can take hours to days for
someone to respond on a mailing list.

Yes, I do think people should read documentation first, because I find
it more convenient than asking people.  Of course, finding and reading
documentation is somewhat of an acquired skill.  
>         Maybe just a pointer to the correct information w/o the 
> condescension would be more helpful -- or is this list only for 
> 'know-it-all' experts.  

If I merely gave her a link to the information, this would be, to quote
an old but still instructive aphorism, giving her a fish.  I feel it is
more useful to teach people how to fish.  You'll notice that I did give
a direct link to the answer to the question.  Anyone is free to ignore
the fishing lesson and just take the fish.

I believe this list is for people who want to learn how to use Linux. 
One of the best things about the hacker and Linux communities are the
people who are willing to share their knowledge.  Most of my knowledge
of Unix has been acquired from people taking the time to explain
something in depth to me.  I am very grateful to them, and I believe one
way to thank them is to in turn share this knowledge with others.  If
sharing of information is no longer welcome on this list, please update
the charter and I will stop.

There are some who think that more information, whether about a computer
system, or system of government, or anything else, is inherently
harmful, and that people are not intelligent enough to use information
on their own.  Call me idealistic, but I don't agree with this.  At one
point, most Linux users also didn't agree with this;  the guts of our OS
and programs were laid out as source code for the world to see, and
every aspect of its operation was available to the user, and that was
good.  I've noticed that this is no longer the case; some seem to think
that to succeed, linux needs proprietary software, has to hide the guts
of the machine, and has to cater to those who have no desire to learn. 
If that's the philosophy of the list, again, please update the charter
and I will unsubscribe. 

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