Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1461 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Re: new 'man' behavior: "ask questions *WHY* REVERT?"
  • From: Dan Goodman <Dan.Goodman@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 12:28:03 -0400
  • Message-id: <4A1D6A13.40804@xxxxxxxx>
Dave Howorth wrote:

I'm with Linda. Keep man pages as they were! Follow the agreed, public
standards. Don't break backwards compatibility. The reason we use linux
and it is successful is because it is based on open standards. If you
want non-conforming behaviour, then add switches to allow it - though
I'd suggest it just complicates the code. Making an application or web
interface that encapsulates them and provides the functionality is a
better direction, IMHO.

I am one of those Unix dinosaurs, and as such, based on others'
comments, I should hate the change in default behavior. But I do not...I
find the new behavior to be better, in that it shows me, and allows me
to conveniently access, any and all sections.

The only (or at least primary) reason for maintaining backwards
compatible behavior, is to avoid breaking scripts, etc. But who uses man
commands in scripts? They are designed to run interactively, with a user
on the other end.

If you are a noob, you will still get the old result if you just let it
time out. Or if two seconds +/- annoys you, you can alias man to a man
command with a switch (-S list-of-sections-to-return). Or if you are too
noob to know how to do that, you probably don't even know what the old
behavior was.

info was an attempt at enhancing documentation. And it has at best been
a mixed success. I only use it when I don't find what I want in the man
pages, or when the man pages tell me that the good stuff is in info. I
go first to man, because that is where I am most likely to find at least
a definition of my options, and a brief explanation of issues and

Let's not dumb down Linux just for backward compatibility, when in
reality, such compatibility affects nothing except a (removable) brief
pause to display your other section options.

Now I'll sit back and see who tries to come up with a convoluted example
of a meaningful script that gets broken by the default behavior being


PS vi rules, if you take the time to learn how to use it. (Taking a bit
of time to learn an editor beats taking a lot of time to use an editor,
anytime.) And the time to do so is a lot less than the time to learn the
Wordstar-like multi-key sequences of Emacs.

Plus, if you have to get on many different machines, many of which you
don't control, depending on Emacs leaves you on the dock when the ship
sails, at least part of the time. I have yet to find a Unix, POSIX-like,
Linux distro, or other non-M$ system that didn't have a fully
functioning vi on it, (unless you count the times the machine is down
hard. )

And if you are trying to recover a machine that is down hard with Emacs,
good luck...hope you have a bootable USB key with you and the box has a
bootable USB port. ;-)

"Real hackers know how to use vi, even if they prefer Emacs. But if you
really know vi, what do you need Emacs for?" ;-)

Using Emacs is like carrying around a top of the line Swiss Army knife
AND a fully-loaded multi-took knife in your pocket at all times, just
so you can cut something open if you need to.
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