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Re: Re: Manual Pages

From: Nadav Har'El <nyh_at_math.technion.ac.il>
Date: 2007-01-24 16:00:35 CET

On Wed, Jan 24, 2007, Kenneth Wood wrote about "RE: Re: Manual Pages":
> Consider that "man" pages existed before the internet. So, if you didn't
> have
> the info locally, you didn't have it.
> Now, everything you need is in the book on line. Why bother with man
> pages?

Well, obviously in some places, there is no Internet connection.
But that's not really the issue, because people without an Internet connection
can also get a copy of the svnbook, and use a local copy.

The real issue is that man pages are simply convenient, at least of die-hard
Unix fans like myself. You're ready to type a command, and suddenly don't
remember exactly how to use it, so you type "man svn-info" (or whatever) and
get all the information about how to use this command. Not philosophy of
version-control, not server installation instructions - just (and all) the
information about the command you wanted to use.

Compare this to going to Google, typing "svn info" and hoping that it turns
up in the top result. If it doesn't, or points to the wrong version of the
book, you need to go into the svnbook homepage and start digging until you
get to the appropriate section. Some users - like myself - actually find
this much less convenient than man-pages.

Like I said, I wouldn't have even suggested this idea if someone had to
write these manual pages from scratch, because I know that this takes time
that nobody has. But the point is, the "svn subcommands" subsections in the
book are already look like man pages and don't need any text change! Someone
familiar with "docbook" (and unfortunately I'm not) could probably convert
them automatically to manpages. I wouldn't even be surprised if such a tool
already exists (but I don't know).

Nadav Har'El                        |    Wednesday, Jan 24 2007, 5 Shevat 5767
nyh@math.technion.ac.il             |-----------------------------------------
Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |I put a dollar in one of those change
http://nadav.harel.org.il           |machines. Nothing changed.
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Received on Wed Jan 24 16:01:13 2007

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