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Re: missing help2man

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: missing help2man
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2008 18:04:22 -0600

    wl> My opinion: Provide a switch to `missing' (say, `-k' or
    `--keep-going', similar to the same option in `make') .  

But who's going to use it?  missing is invoked in the bowels of the
generated Makefiles when help2man is not available.  I'm not sure
there's a simple way to override it.  Maybe make HELP2MAN="missing -k".

But all this is for the case when (a) help2man is needed (ie, a
developer working from the source tree, not a release), and (b) help2man
is not available.

    Wl> If help2man is found, and --enable-maintainer-mode is active, simply
    delete *all* man pages before rebuilding them.

It's not clear to me how to do that.  The man page targets are normal
targets.  Adding the equivalent of rm -f $(man_MANS) before each one
doesn't seem like a good idea.  There's no way to know if help2man is
available before running missing, the way things are now.

Anyway, maintainer-mode isn't very interesting; few packages use it.
The more important question is what to do in non-maintainer mode, where
(it seems to me) exactly the same problem will occur.  For instance, in
GNU Hello (well, except that has only one man page) or coreutils.

    rw> Let 'missing' not create the output file and exit 1?  Let 'missing'
    create the output file and exit 0, so that all man pages will
    contain the `.ab' error message?

Yes, those are the two choices I can think of too.  Neither one is very
appealing.  Definitely not the first.

    rw> Maybe another way to go is to exit 0, let all man pages be created,
    but at least add a `dist' hook to ensure that the packaged man pages
    are not the dummy ones?

What would the dist hook do?  Remove all the man pages?


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