man pages

John Abreau jabr at
Fri Dec 13 22:01:16 EST 2002

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Derek Martin <gnhlug at> writes:

> On the whole, at least back then, you'd have been much better off just
> writing the man pages from scratch.  Which actually was what I was
> going to do.  But I generally found that much of the information that
> ordinarily would go into a man page was missing from the existing
> documentation (like command-line switches, etc.), or that a given
> command had no documentation at all, and I didn't feel like pouring
> over the source code to figure out how every binary worked, in order
> to document it.  So, no man pages for gnome... ;-)

Writing them all by hand would be a significant undertaking. What's 
needed is a project to split the work up so a lot of people can each 
write a few. 

The way I see it, there'd be a central repository somewhere that would 
maintain a list of commands and man pages, e.g.:

    command name: ls
    package: fileutils
    manpage_exist? Y
    needs_work? N
    status: completed
    last_verified: June 2002
    assigned_to: Richard Stallman, David MacKenzie

Volunteers could then see what needs to be written (or updated) and 
assign to themselves whichever ones they want to work on. They could 
also examine existing pages and report whether they're out of date and
need work, and report additional man pages that don't exist.

- --
John Abreau / Executive Director, Boston Linux & Unix
Email jabr at / WWW / PGP-Key-ID 0xD5C7B5D9
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Comment: Exmh version 2.5 07/13/2001


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