Subject: Re: Adding 'See Also' information to pkgs
To: Anthony Mallet <>
From: Frederick Bruckman <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 11/27/2001 14:51:07
On Tue, 27 Nov 2001, Anthony Mallet wrote:

> But removing a package is easy: you just have to grep other packages
> and see if a SEE_ALSO references the package being removed. That can be
> automatised without problem I think.
> And adding a package to the repository... well... once all existing
> packages have the information, the person who adds the package should
> take a little more time to scan other packages, at least in the same
> category... Life is hard :)

> | Buuut, I'd like the idea to easily have a pointer to an alternative.
> Maybe I'll wait for a bit more feedback. Then, if people are happy with
> this, I could start to update a few packages.

Are you talking about patching man pages? If that's so, I have to say, I
don't like the idea myself. Patches in pkgsrc should be things that
might reasonably make their way into the main distribution. It's a bit
much to expect the authors to maintain references in their software to
all possible competitors -- how many "see also's" will you have for the
window managers? -- and from the user's point of view, he's going to see
"see also's" for man pages he doesn't even have!

Besides, I find "See Also's" most useful when they point to related man
pages. Like, I would find a reference to exports(5) in nfsd(8) to be
useful, because it gives me more information about running "nfsd";
references to afsd(8), afpd(8), codaserv(8), sambafs() &c,... not so
useful. Suppose for a moment, that you did see a reference to "afpd" in
the "coda-{client,server}" packages. How would you even know that
afpd(8) belongs to "netatalk"? So how is that useful?

A more productive endeavor might be to fix the README.html generation to
make one web page per category, containing a link to every package that
has that category in it's "${CATEGORIES}". This would allow making
ad-hoc categories that satisfy particular interests. What masquerades as
a category page now, is really only a "${SUBDIR}" page. The only
application of "${CATEGORIES}" presently is in the "package"
subdirectories, but looking in there only gives a listing of binary
packages, nothing that can be browsed.