Subject: Re: man pages & style guide
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG>
From: der Mouse <mouse@Collatz.McRCIM.McGill.EDU>
Date: 03/07/1996 06:58:34
> It has always seemed to me than maybe man should save the
> preformatted version everytime it is invoked on an unformatted page..
All the non-NetBSD mans I have used do this. (I say "non-NetBSD"
because I don't recall man ever having to format a manpage under
NetBSD, because it installs preformatted manpages.) The presence of
both man* and cat* directories in /usr/share/man makes me think
NetBSD's man is capable of doing this too. I take it you don't see it
happening? Are you sure the user you're running man as can write to
the cat* directory?
> But why do we dislike ANSI function definitions, with parameter types
> in the arglist??
This is a bit of a religious issue. The theory seems to be that we
want NetBSD to be buildable with compilers that don't support
Personally, I think this is pointless. It's hard to imagine wanting to
port to a machine that doesn't support gcc; it's even harder to imagine
such a machine that doesn't already have a prototype-capable compiler.
> Also, although I feel much less strongly about this, why do we not
> named parameters in prototypes?
It pollutes the user's namespace. If the header file says, for
example (after __P expansion)
ssize_t read(int d, void *buf, size_t nbytes);
then if the user happens to have said
#define nbytes 10240
before including the file, it will break. But "nbytes" is in the
user's namespace; there is no excuse for gratuitously hijacking a whole
bunch of perfectly useful names.
> I always feel this makes header files nicely self-documenting...
True. But so would
ssize_t read(int /*d*/, void * /*buf*/, size_t /*nbytes*/);
and it wouldn't step on d, buf, and nbytes.