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Re: Adding the "links" text mode web browser to the base system

On Mon, Nov 02, 2009 at 04:52:18PM -0500, der Mouse wrote:
> > That's more a reason to provide a smarter frontend than catpages.  I
> > should say that I would like the latter to go once the remaining main
> > issues with mdocml are fixed.  Supporting e.g. cross-references in a
> > curses frontend would be much easier to do then.
> Perhaps, but I for one would really really resist anything that means I
> can't use my $PAGER of choice to read manpages.  I actually would
> resist it to the point of rolling a historical man command forward, or
> using $PAGER on the nroff source if the roll-forward turns out to be
> difficult, rather than use the curses thing you're envisioning.

Don't worry too much. Dropping cat pages doesn't affect whether or not
you can use a custom $PAGER. In my opinion they are a waste of disk
space as soon as the tools to format the manual pages are fast enough to
make the pre-processing irrelevant. As snj@ commented on
source-changes-d, even on a shark mandoc needs only a few second to
process the full gcc man page and that is by far the largest case.
Even on slow systems it would therefore be a reasonable approach to just
format them on demand and cache then as worst case.

There are a few advantages of avoiding cat pages that go beyond disk
space. As soon as your terminal is not strictly 80 characters wide, the
cat pages are suboptiomally formatted. For example my laptop doesn't
allow me to place two xterms next to each other without overlap with
80x24 and a readable font size. The missing column creates some nasty
formatting issues.

I have not yet thought too much about how to present hyperlinks. One
simple idea would be to append them with positional information. That
wouldn't destroy the normal text, but a smart PAGER could process them.


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