Re: Bad Documentation and Linux

Subject: Re: Bad Documentation and Linux
From: Sandy Harris <sandyinchina -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 2009 01:04:03 +0800

On 12/5/09, neilson -at- windstream -dot- net <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> wrote:

> For Linux (or any Unix) if you want to do command-line stuff, you have
> to wade through hairy documentation that tells you about hairy options
> you'd rather ignore.

Saw a T-shirt once: "Real cats don't have options."
A quick check shows Gnu cat has eight.

> Personally, I like Unix command lines and am willing to read
> man pages.

Me too.

I complain rather vehemently whenever someone tries to foist some
product on me without documentation that meets what I consider
the minimum standard, set by Unix in the 70s -- complete, readable
online, printable, and with extensive cross-references.

That said, there are problems.

First off, while a good set of man pages may be a complete
reference, they are not complete documentation; even 70s
versions of Unix had Volume II of the manual, tutorial
materials. Linux has HowTo documents, FAQs, wikis, ...

Secondly, there are format difficulties. Gnu docs are not primarily
in man page format, but Texinfo. This has advantages, but when
you mix programs from multiple sources, you get a doc problem.
It is by no means insoluble -- the solution I like is converting both
man and info files to HTML for delivery, but there are several
other possibilities -- but it is a poblem.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Bad Documentation and Linux: From: Robert Lauriston
Re: Bad Documentation and Linux: From: neilson

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