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Re: [Groff] man pages (tangential to Future Redux)

From: Ralph Corderoy
Subject: Re: [Groff] man pages (tangential to Future Redux)
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2014 11:46:49 +0000

Hi Eric,

> Where we're probably going is that (a) info will die, to be replaced
> by HTML browsed from within Emacs, and (b) Texinfo will be replaced by
> a modern lightweight format that can render to both print and HTML;
> most likely asciidoc.

Important though a lightweight input format is, a lightweight set of
tools for rendering it in the comman output formats is also needed.
>From others' comments it appears asciidoc doesn't give that at the

This still leaves the irony that groff's documentation is written in
non-groff, lessening contributions from the audience.

> While this won't directly solve the stub problem, it will at least
> break the full documentation for GNU projects out of the ghetto they
> have been living in onto the Web.

Hasn't the info documentation been on the web for a long time?

> The functional win here is not so much HTML's display capabilities as
> the fact that everything will be living in the same URLspace.

Do you mean the same schema, i.e. http, or that info and man don't have
well-defined schemas of their own?

> Because the man-page stubs were a kludge to get around the
> complications of browsing info outside of Emacs

I don't think that's why they existed?  One could always avoid Emacs
with info(1), or pinfo(1), etc.  And avoid them with

    info groff | less +Gg

They were a Debian policy because they rightly thought everything should
have a man page, and a proper one at that.  "Do not close the bug report
until a proper man page is available" --  The "stubs" are
because writing documentation is boring for volunteers that didn't write
the code.

Cheers, Ralph.

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