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Re: FW: [gnu.org #371319] missing in documentation?

From: Jim Meyering
Subject: Re: FW: [gnu.org #371319] missing in documentation?
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 21:12:42 +0200

"Meller, Thomas" <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hello Jim,

[please use the mailing list (Cc'd) in the future]

> I think this whish ist best sent to you.
> IMHO this could help a lot of system admins do their jobs better.
> Meanwhile, I found that the OS release I got does not support this
> functionality. Mentioning the change-list or the implementation date
> somewhere would be helpful, too.

Run this command to see many examples:

    info coreutils 'date invocation' examples

Both "man date" and "date --help" already suggest that you run this
(same as above, but without "examples"):

    info coreutils 'date invocation'

And when you do that, you see an 8-item menu where the last one
is "* Examples of date::".   Type "m" (for menu) and then "E",
(the first letter in the item you want), and TAB, and ENTER.

So maybe all you really need is a more up to date man page?

There is so much high-quality documentation that is available most
conveniently in Texinfo/info format, that it really is worth spending
a few minutes to become familiar with the basics of using "info"
(Run "info info").

> Regards,
> Thomas
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeanne Rasata via RT [mailto:address@hidden
> Sent: Dienstag, 12. August 2008 12:47
> To: Meller, Thomas
> Subject: [gnu.org #371319] missing in documentation?
> Hello, Thomas,
>> address@hidden - Mo. 11. Aug. 2008, 10:31:53]:
>> Hello colleagues!
>> first of all I think it is best to thank you for your great work.
>> I am now working with LinuX since '94 and earning my life with it for
> 8
>> years.
>> Up to now I did not find a better system.
>> But....
>> ...there are times when I think things could be better.
>> I am systems administrator doing maintenance on Swiss Railways systems
>> since
>> 10/2000. Often I need to generate logfiles due to commercial
> software's
>> incapabilities or simply because nothing fulfils my needs.
>> Since half a year I try to generate a platform to monitor the
>> responsiveness of an LDAP server. (peu a peu - 24 is too less an hour
>> for a day)
>> To do this, I was in need of a timestamp converter.
>> I found it, it's name: convdate (part of INN package)
>> I then found, that awk could do (part of) the job better.
>> Then I needed to create future timestamps, calculated by shell script.
>> OK, then I needed to convert it to generate a html meta-tag.
>> (back and forth, forth and back :-(
>> Well, I found a way. But I did not find that 'date' could do the job
> as
>> well.
>> The reason: time representations are not mentioned in the man page.
>> The '-d' switch is described extremely brief.
>> Since 8 years I did not learn how to use it.
>> OK, you could say I should have read the info pages.
>> But it is simply said not obvious, that I could find more infos there.
>> Calculation of future timestamps or the representations of a numeric
>> timestamp to do calculations with is not mentioned in the man page. It
>> is hidden behind the (awkward) techinfo system.
>> I could have had a profit to learn this fact some years ago, but there
>> was no hint in sight.
>> So it took 15 years and the help of a newbie to make me learn
> something
>> really valuable.
>> (just to mention: there are 11 colleagues doing Unix since >20 years,
>> no-one could help me)
>> I think it is a good idea to at least add a hint on the format
>> descriptions in the manpage, if not to add 2-3 non-trivial examples.
>> Even if you search the internet, you will never find something
>> substantial on such an advanced topic.
>> I'd really appreciate a change in the man docs.
>> Not a big one. A link, a hint, or an example.
>> Thanks!
>> Thomas
>> --- keep it up! ---
> Thank you very much for the positive feedback and for having taken the
> time to write us with this suggestion.
> Unfortunately, this is only the general e-mail contact for the FSF and
> the GNU project and I am unable to answer technical questions. My best
> suggestion would be to contact the project mailing lists and recommend
> that they update the man pages. You can find their contact information
> in their entry in our Free Software Directory at
> http://directory.fsf.org. Also, you might find it helpful to go to
> http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/ where you will find a complete
> list of all the public mailing lists.
> Thanks again for your time and support of free software.
> Sincerely,

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