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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Monday June 23, 2008
04:09 PM

YAPC::NA uncovers some problems in Strawberry

[ #36757 ]

The great thing about mixing with more people face to face is that you discover things that most people won't necesarily be bothered about enough to send you email or a bug report.

During YAPC::NA, a couple of interesting problems were described to me that might help explain some of the discrepancies I've been seeing in Strawberry download numbers, compared to download numbers.

Firstly, a few people mentioned that there's no way to get more information about Strawberry for people that care about these things. What is it made from, what things does it include, what comes bundled, etc etc. The website is just too lacking in information.

While I don't have time to fix this right away in a heavy way, I've started by adding a link to on the front page. I'll give this a few weeks and see how things turn out, then after OSCON (and after the Strawberry Portable release) I'll see if there's anything more that can be done.

Secondly, after helping a friend of Schwern's to install Strawberry, I realised I've made something of a silly assumption.

The friend in question was in the typical position of being a Unix Sysadmin/DBA but had a Windows laptop due to corporate policy. But after installing Strawberry Perl, she hadn't even considered that she should launch the command line, in fact she didn't even know how, because she'd never had to before.

This exposes something of a problem, because although Strawberry Perl is intended for experienced Unix people, the assumption that such people will connect "runs like on Unix" to "use the Windows command line" is wrong.

Further, this also exposes the problem that people that SHOULD be using Chocolate rather than Strawberry currently don't actually have Chocolate at all. But word of mouth continues to push them towards Strawberry.

So I think I need to take a look at providing a bit more information to help people after the installation is complete.

I'm wondering if a simple screencast would be enough, your thoughts?

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  • I'm wondering if a simple screencast would be enough, your thoughts? and O'Reilly News would be very interested in hosting or promoting such a thing.

  • If we can assume for the time being that someone installing Strawberry is able to help with getting things set up, then maybe hosting some real-world sample setups would be useful, even if it means some work on their part.

    For example, I have a shortcut that opens a command window in my projects directory. That's where I "start" work.

    The I have a bunch of helper programs that provide my coding toolbox. For example, vim/gvim. And the great unxutils project at (but with any tar, zip, etc. since I've

  • I think a screencast showing how one might use the now-installed perl sounds like a good idea to start with. A screencast is worth a million words.

  • How about a nice, juicy strawberry icon that will launch the Windows command line. Have the terminal start out by echoing out some usage tips.

    Now people will have an icon they can click on.