||[May. 10th, 2006|12:38 am]
Goddamn man pages! Bloody terse affairs they are! (for those non-techies who are reading this, man is short for manuals, so when you want to look up how "touch" works you type "man touch".
But what really gets me was I was looking up some commands, nroff/groff/troff. The man pages for nroff amounted to
The nroff script emulates the nroff command using groff.
So I look up groff:
groff is a front-end to the groff document formatting system. Normally it runs the troff program and a postprocessor appropriate for the selected device.
So I look up troff:
This manual page describes the GNU version of troff, which is part of the groff document formatting system.
Thinking that the man page writers had a sense of humour I decided to see if "man recursion" would bring up a man document that read as:
Terse I tell you, terse. Ok, those explanations were only roughly the first line or two, one would think that the man pages would follow what the media people call the "inverted pyramid" scheme of writing things. I mean, you put the most important stuff at the top, so that if you're editted for space, you get the main points early on. For me, early points would be "what does this thing do exactly?" which don't exactly seem to be forthcoming in those pages.
Gah, maybe I'm just tired.
 Every time I heard the word terse I start to think of a conversation with some people in class. I think it was about man pages, and I just said, "Yeah, they can be a bit terse at times" and Graham or Dave replies "I take it that by terse you mean 'shit'." And then spent the rest of the day describing things he didn't like as terse.