Couldn't we instead have a "Install Raspbian" (or whatever) tutorial and then try to push the idea that at the end of that you have basically a low-powered Debian machine and can follow any "Do X on Debian" tutorial? It seems that one of the wonderful benefits of Debian as a "universal OS" is that it doesn't matter whether it's on a Pi or a ten-year-old 386 laptop, it's another computer and almost everything is just an apt-get away.
It's not just my content, in fact I hardly submit much there but I see it with a lot of good links in /new. I just think if your whole mission on Reddit is to find new posts and insult the OP and downvote everything that isn't posted by someone in the clique, you need to get outside more.
If you have hung out in the RPi forums for any length of time you'll quickly see that there are a LOT of customers who who nothing about this device, or Linux for that matter. It was cool, so they bought it. There's nothing wrong with that, because they're willing to learn and that is the intended use of the product.
So yes, you and I both know that there are just a couple differences here and there but mostly it's just installing a webserver on a Debian machine. The ARM processor vs x86 is the biggest difference between this and the most common install and it doesn't factor in to the process anyway. You know this, and I know this but how about someone who knows little to nothing but wanted to get a pi to learn it?
My intention for this article was to help those people who are very new to this device and Linux, and it's been received well in that regard. They're very likely going to be looking for "how to _____ on a Raspberry Pi" and so that's what I'm going to give them. It's simply building a bridge to help get more people into this geeky little cult we live in and I don't see any harm in it.
For a newbie, those subtle adjustments are often the difference between wifi working and not working. An experienced user will figure it out, but it can take forever.
The RPi isn't the cheapest or the fastest or the smallest or the most featurific board in its niche. But it's got great value as a standard platform, which means if you've got a problem, chances are someone else had it before and maybe wrote up a solution.
Of course it all breaks down once you start using external hardware, which I found out when I tried to get my USB wifi stick running (unsuccessfully). But at least you can google "raspberry pi <manufacturer> <model>" and get advice specific to you.
And, when it's as low-level as simply making something work, rather than particularly optimising it (when the fact that it's a Pi or a 2003 T61 or a whatever do matter), I think that treating it as a slow Debian machine and finding a generic howto (or, better, a few generic howtos) is much more appropriate than insisting that you find a "How to install postfix and courier on as raspberry pi".
Obviously for troubleshooting problems the hardware's much more important, too, but so far I've just treated my Pi as just another Debian box and everything's just working.
If I just want to mess around with a platform, I might not care about that, and I might prefer to read a dozen more abstract how-tos and guides to get in-depth knowledge about a topic. But usually, I don't want to be troubleshooting (or optimising) Wifi USB hardware, and it absolutely does matter whether you're using a RPi or an old laptop, in fact it matters whether you're using a Rev. A or a Rev B RPi. A generic guide to installing node.js on the RPi would have been much less straightforward than the specific one I had available.
And the difference is way more pronounced when you're trying to get intrepid newbies interested in your platform.
Personally I am also perturbed in that it contributes to the growing culture of seeing devices as something other than general-purpose computing machines, and I really fear the political implications of a growing misconception about the nature of these computers. What bothers me even more than these RPi tutorials are "Pedestrian Computer Application X Run On A Mobile Phone! Wowzers!" stories, some of which even make it onto HN (though not so much lately). Yes, you got your general purpose computer to run a program. This shouldn't be surprising, this should be the expected outcome, the news should be that you find yourself unable to run whatever program you like on these general-purpose computing devices.
RPis are computers. Cell phones are computers. The cheapest, crappiest feature phone currently being sold has specs that blow every computer I owned before 1990 out of the water. This is important for as many people as possible to understand, lest we blunder into walled gardens for no good reason.
The thing with the newbies I get - they want to google "web server raspberry pi" and get a really quick and easy step-by-step, but I'd really like them to at some point get the idea that this is a general purpose programmable computer like their laptop, PC, phone, whatever, and that they should expect it to be able to do basically anything.
I get the benefit of the specific howto, but I've not yet found enough pi-specific problems to make me think that's more important than getting the idea that it's a proper computer and not just some cut-down thing that can only do a good enough impression of one to run a web server and python or whatever.
Here's a list of other alternatives (caveat emptor): http://www.redferret.net/?p=33596
This is not about setting up a big old large laptop a server or using a big old desktop as a server.
This is about using something that costs a few dollars to be and is the size of a cigarette packet to do it all.
By the time I got mine, my interest had significantly waned.
I'll have to try it out myself.
there are still some kinks, random crashes, and menu lag that haven't been fully ironed out.