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Re: [Groff] Re: Info versus man

From: Robert Goulding
Subject: Re: [Groff] Re: Info versus man
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 10:22:09 -0500

On Oct 24, 2005, at 9:46 AM, Larry McVoy wrote:

On Mon, Oct 24, 2005 at 08:36:43AM -0600, D. E. Evans wrote:
Perhaps only rms, and a couple of others actually use 'GNU OS,'
but those who do, use info.  I wouldn't say they it is right to
call all GNU OS users, developers.

   This sounds like you are basing your arguments on people who use a
   100% pure GNU system.  If that's the case, that's not going to get
any traction because there are very, very, very few of those people.

I think you are absolutely correct.

OK, so catering to the whims of a few to the detriment of many seems

So how about this? Why not let the users/developers decide? What's wrong
with the roff people working on roff based docs and the info people
working on info based docs and let the users use whatever they want?

Just to make a couple of observations, as an ordinary groff user:

First, we should all acknowledge that groff's info files are among the best of any open-source project (again, there's some irony here); in fact, 'info groff' is just about the only info file I use regularly, often keeping it open in an xterm or vim buffer constantly as I work. This is largely due to the hard work of Werner and others - any alternative documentation project undertaken by members of this list should strive to incorporate all of the exhaustive documentation in the existing info file, while not making Werner's job in maintaining a central document any more difficult. I share the doubts some have expressed about the texinfo format, but I would hate to see a fork in the documentation of one of the best-documented packages ever!

Second, quite apart from the ideological objections to texinfo and criticisms of the format itself, my real problem is that texinfo is a prerequisite for building the CVS groff, and that a TeX installation is required for building a pdf of the main documentation. Some of us are attracted to groff in part because it is manages to fit incredible typographical power into a very small space. For all my admiration of TeX and immoderate adulation of DEK, modern TeX distributions are incredibly bloated; it seems absurd that a ~60 MB installation of TeX is required in order to compile the documentation of the ~2 MB groff package. (And yes, I know that a much smaller installation would suffice for compiling groff.texi - but that just isn't an option in most modern TeX distributions (and try asking on comp.text.tex how to install a minimal TeX and you'll be accused of being a dinosaur who doesn't realize that disk-space is there to be used!)).


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