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6. Conclusion

Finding information fast and efficiently is more of an art than a science and we still have not touched on the really difficult part: how do you determine the actual quality of the information? It is outside the scope of this HOWTO to tell you that but it is still something you should keep in mind. You should at least check the information is recent enough to be current to your problem.

As a bare minimum you should ensure a minimum of validity of the documentation to avoid misleading or malicious advice. A surprising number of people suggests things like rm -rf / as a solution for a given problem. Some see it as an obvious prank, the unaware can end up destroying his or her setup. Just to avoid such things you should check out a few things before rushing ahead:

  • Is there a name attached to the document? If people are serious about what they write it should not be anonymous.
  • Is it dated? Documents tend to evolve as the technology advances. Be sure you are reading the latest version. Internet search engines can help you here.
  • Are there any followups? Be sure to check any followups or comments to what you read, otherwise you might miss a warning or a correction.

If you keep this in mind you should not fall for too many of the scams that circulate on the net, from get well-cards for Craig Shergold, chain letters to the more recent problems of Trojans for Linux that tries to trick you into mailing off your password.

There is a number of FAQs available that deals with more serious research method topics and you can also see a comprehensive on-line version.

Finally, do not forget the Linux Documentation Project site that coordinates documentation for Linux. Updates and new documents are issued regularly, reflecting the development in the field.

Quoted from someone's signature:

Be alert! The world needs more lerts.

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