Subject: Re: bin/7249
To: Mike Pelley <>
From: David Brownlee <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 07/18/2000 20:09:49
	This contains both signal and noise, noise prefixed by '( '

	( I'd like to second this, and I'm only sorry I wasn't
	( online to comment earlier.

	( I am very disappointed by the inappropriately agressive
	( replies that seemed to be based on the most cursory glance
	( at the original post.

	I like manpages, but I agree there are a couple of obvious
	features missing compared to some other formats:

	    -  Follow references to other documents
	    -  Jump to, or even see an index of sections
	    -  Sanely search for implemented commands or similar
	       (eg: Just try to lookup the 'complete' syntax in tcsh(1))

	Switching the man page source format to html would address some of
	those issues, at a tradeoff many people are not willing to make.

	( It is unfortunate that some of them seem unable to express
	( their feelings in a rational manner, and interesting to note
	( that some of the same set may have in the past expressed
	( amusement at similar behaviour on linux lists..

	Alternative options include:

	a) Having an easy way, possibly even a package, to convert all the
	   manpages on an existing system to html. I personally would set
	   this up on some of my servers for others here. Documenting the
	   .Xr macro would be a good addition to this.

	b) Provide all manpages in 'text' and 'html' output by default.

	c) Allowing new manpages to be written in DocBook or some other
	   'real' document language.

	d) Produce a slightly modified nroff output which could be
	   processed by a slightly modified more to allow following
	   of references to other docs, and jumping to index sections.

	I would love to see a) - it helps those who want to read in html,
	without annoying those who prefer to write in mdoc.

			       -- A pmap for every occasion --

On Tue, 18 Jul 2000, Mike Pelley wrote:

> You guys sure showed him.  He'll think twice before his next post.
> People who suggest that Mike implied X in his original post appear not to have read the original message, part of which is quoted below.
> > I propose junking man pages as we know them, keeping all documentation
> > in html, and making the man command essentially a stripped-down lynx (or
> > other specialized text-based browser).
> It seems quite clear to me.
> I prefer man pages to html myself, but I think exploring the options is worthwhile.  The abuse, however, seems unnecessary and counterproductive.
> Mike.