Re: skaware manpages?

From: Buck Evan <>
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:57:03 -0700

Sounds good.
I'll probably put some stub manpages with the link to the web as you
If Debian won't stomach it, I'll then try to reformat your html in a script.

The mapping from markdown to html is quite simple.
I may redo one of your pages as markdown to give you something more
concrete to hate.

On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 2:34 PM, Laurent Bercot <>

> On 21/08/2015 22:10, Buck Evan wrote:
>> _at_Laurent: What's your take on man pages?
> Short version: I like them, as long as I don't have to write them
> or move a finger to generate them.
> Long version:
> I honestly believe man pages are obsolete. They were cool in the
> 90's when they were all we had; but today, *everyone* has a web
> browser, and can look at HTML documentation. Even if they don't have
> an Internet access.
> I still find myself typing "man" sometimes. It's a reflex because
> I'm a dinosaur. But if it doesn't work, I don't mind: the documentation
> *is* somewhere, I just have to grab my browser.
> GNU people never write man pages. They write info pages. That blows,
> and I'd rather look at the source code to understand what it does
> than install and run an info client. Fortunately, the documentation is
> also available in HTML, so I go read the doc on the web. When I was
> writing my build system, I was very, very glad that the make manual
> was available in HTML; I spent hours on that document, with several
> tabs open at various places - browsers are user-friendly. Much more
> so than xterms running a rich text visualizer.
> So, info2html, man2html, or SGML/DocBook source, and so on?
> Well, as much as I love Unix, one aspect of it that I really dislike
> is the proliferation of markup languages. nroff is one, info is
> another one, pod is one, and so on; I've stopped counting the number
> of initiatives aiming to produce rich text. I've always managed to
> avoid learning those languages. I've only learned LaTeX and HTML;
> I quickly forgot the former as soon as I was out of academia and
> didn't need it anymore, and I only memorized the latter because it's
> ubiquitously useful. Markup, or markdown, languages, are really
> not my cup of tea; and if I didn't learn nroff in 1995, when there
> actually was a serious use case for it, I'm definitely not going
> to learn it today.
> I'll keep providing HTML docs, and only HTML docs. If you want to
> provide man pages, you're very welcome to it, as long as I don't
> have to do anything. :P
> Since I don't believe in the future of man pages, I even think
> that only providing stub man pages would be perfectly acceptable:
> in the man page, only have a link to the relevant HTML document,
> on the local machine as well as on the Web.
> If you don't like stubs, heinous scripts should produce more
> acceptable results than you think. I try to keep a reasonably
> regular format for the doc pages of executables; I don't mind
> enforcing the regularity a bit more seriously if it makes your
> scripts easier or more accurate.
> --
> Laurent
Received on Fri Aug 21 2015 - 22:57:03 UTC

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