Re: Are UNIX manpages obsolete?

Subject: Re: Are UNIX manpages obsolete?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- FS -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 1996 15:03:16 +0800

Sandi -

> We already use a single source (SGML), which we then convert to both
> HTML and manpage format. Generating the manpages is not the problem;
> what is causing me to reconsider our use of manpages is the addition
> of C++ and Java (and possibly other languages) interfaces to the
> existing C interfaces.

Aha. Somehow I got the impression you were a small outfit testing the
waters -- sorry for my egg-sucking advice.

I'd still do some research among your existing users. They should be able
to suggest how the pages can be structured so they are useful and not too

> Typically. . . a reference page for a class includes all the
> documentation for the member functions, constructor, operators,
> etc., which could result in extremely long manpages.

Can you map any of these topics to the standard volumes -- perhaps
(2) System Calls; (3) Subroutines; (5) File Formats; and good old
(7) Miscellaneous? That way someone can do "man -s 3 foo" to get just
function info for foo, or "man foo" for the lot.

> If there is a C++ class named "Foo" and a Java class named
> "Foo", which one should the user see when they enter "man Foo"?

Hmmm. . . make the default language a user preference, either by setting
an environment variable or by using MANPATH to specify the search order?

Stuart (a UNIX man, not yet obsolete) Burnfield
(slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au)
Functional Software Pty Ltd

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