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Re: discrepant groff configurations

From: Ralph Corderoy
Subject: Re: discrepant groff configurations
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:28:43 +0000

Hi Doug,

> I run groff in windows (cygwin) and linux (redhat).
> Groff's appearance in /usr/share is surprisingly
> different in the two environments.
> cygwin:
>     groff
>       1.22.4 current site-tmac
>     doc
>       groff-1.22.4
> linux:
>     groff
>         1.22.3 current site-tmac
>     doc
>         groff-base
>             BUG-REPORT
>             MORE.STUFF
>             NEWS
>             PROBLEMS
> Is this a difference between 1.22.3 and 1.22.4 or
> between Cygwin and Redhat?

I don't know Cygwin, but when that kind of thing varies for groff
between different Linux distributions then it's the choices made by the
distribution in packaging groff into one or more packages.

> In the cygwin variant, the pathname of Eric Raymond's
> excellent changes with every release of groff.
> while there's an unchanging "current" path to groff proper.
> Is this the fault of or

I think /usr/share/groff/current is provided by groff so the lack of a
/usr/share/doc/groff-current symlink to access is also groff.

(Actually, the existence of /usr/share/groff/current seems a bit odd.
Most packages don't have a symbolic link to support multiple installed
versions and users that want multiple versions of a program installed
can use GNU Stow or similar to maintain the symlinks if their package
manager doesn't provide it.)

> It is too bad that Raymond's piece is not in Redhat,
> and not mentioned in MORE-STUFF, which lists groff-
> related resources.

>From squinting at
which is upstream of Red Hat, I think the package groff-doc will add; see the ‘%files doc’ on line 468 and following globs.

> If the difference is between Cygwin and Redhat, I suppose
> they are exploiting configuration options offered by
> the groff project. What is the point of these particular
> options? We're not talking significant disk space.
> But we are talking cognitive dissonance for users of
> multiple systems.

The Linux distros have different policies over what gets put into what
package and where it appears in the filesystem.  Sometimes this is an
attempt for their whole system be coherent despite software from many
authors.  Other distros just pass on exactly from each author ships,
preferring a lighter touch, and less maintenance.  Debian and Fedora
derivatives, which covers the majority, are heavy handed in a well
meaning way.

Cheers, Ralph.

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