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Re: [Groff] Draft paper: "Writing Effective Manual Pages"

From: Matthias Czapla
Subject: Re: [Groff] Draft paper: "Writing Effective Manual Pages"
Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 13:41:15 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Thu, May 06, 2004 at 04:01:17PM +0200, Werner LEMBERG wrote:
> > To put it bluntly, there is no other format out there that is both
> > widespread and allows both console viewing and printing from the
> > same file.
> This is the final word IMHO.  As long as there are TTY-like terminals,
> groff won't die.

Mmmh, I have read several times that troff is somewhat obsolete or "dying"
(Im using it only for a few weeks now). The reason why I _love_ it is
the availability of excellent and complete documentation. I have tried
LaTeX before and it is still a closed book for me. While there are good
introductory tutorials its very hard to find the details if you want to
go further. Until recently I didnt even know that LaTeX is just a
collection of TeX macros, because that is supposed to be hidden from the
user. It seems you _have_ to buy a book to get to know everything about

In contrast to this I started with the troff tutorial by Kernighan and
then the User's Manual by Ossana and Kernighan and have now a quite
confident feeling that I know the basics enough and can quickly locate
more specific requests. And most importantly I know that I can find out
about _everything_ (without having to buy something).

As a side note, maybe I would not be here now if there would not have
been the old AT&T documents which are usually very good and much more
concise than the GNU manuals. While I understand that the tools have
acquired a lot more features over time, that makes them usually simply
overwhelming for a newbie. Lots of similar ways to do one thing and
its not easily obvious which is the standard and important one.

And to go even further off topic, I dont like the info system very much.
I think the reason (for me) is the lack of an indented TOC and that I
always get lost in the levels and cross references. I dont know where
I am on a regular basis :)


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