Openwall GNU/*/Linux - a small security-enhanced Linux distro for servers
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Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2019 04:19:47 +0200
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: john-users@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Help with the program

On Tue, Jun 04, 2019 at 12:20:41PM -0700, kanashimi wrote:
> I looked through everything in the instructions and I still don't
> understand how to install it or use it

This is a typical complaint that JtR isn't easy enough to use and/or the
documentation isn't clear enough for some people.  Additionally, as it
often turns out from further discussion, some of these people are also
confused about what JtR can vs. cannot be used for.  Thus, making JtR
easier to use and writing simplified documentation wouldn't enable all
of these people to actually use it.  But it'd probably help some.

What's not so typical this time is we're seeing this here on john-users.
I'm more used to seeing these submitted via the Quick Comment field on
the website (usually without a way to contact the person, and that's
fine - it's just feedback) or elsewhere (e.g., misuse of GitHub issues).

Obviously, all of these things are well-intentioned, but having them in
those places leads nowhere.  john-users is a more appropriate place, so
let's see whether we can arrive at any actionable items this time
(unlikely, but who knows).  I welcome any suggestions on making things
simpler for new users or/and making it more obvious that JtR isn't the
right tool for some people (when this is the case).

Perhaps we're missing some FAQ entries for questions that are not
actually asked, but would have matched what people commonly imply?

Perhaps some of the confusion comes from the core vs. jumbo separation,
where even the build instructions differ.  To me, that's one of several
reasons to abolish this separation and make jumbo _the_ JtR for 2.0.

Perhaps jumbo's doc/INSTALL* files (especially the main doc/INSTALL)
should focus on the simplest generally sufficient instructions without
mentioning extra detail and advanced alternatives until later.

Perhaps once we integrate Johnny the GUI with jumbo and have pre-built
packages of that (I think we should), things would improve.

At this time, the reality is that JtR is selective about who its users
are.  This used to be good when it was purely a Unix password cracker,
but became not so good now that JtR jumbo also supports some end-user
password recovery use cases.

kanashimi -

We can't reasonably write simpler instructions in a reply to here based
on a generic complaint like yours.  However, if you answer the questions
below we might be able to help:

1. What is your intended use for JtR?  Please be specific.

2. What operating system would you like to install JtR on?

3. Is part of your difficulty with using the command-line in general?
Do you use other command-line based programs?

Alexander

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