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Re: Poor State of the Man Pages

November 27, 2003 07:44
Re: Poor State of the Man Pages
Message ID:
>>>>> "Shlomi" == Shlomi Fish <> writes:

Shlomi> A good idea to revitalize them and adapt them to our needs, would be to
Shlomi> start a Phalanx like project for documentation.

I think the problem you'll find in finding recruits is that the
people who need to either write or sign off on such documentation
are already doing everything they can on a volunteer basis, and
that the current docs are perceived to hit that "80/20" mark already.
You know, the first 80% of the work takes 80% of the time to do,
and the last 20% takes the other 80% of the time to do. :)

Yes, the docs are written by Unix-centric programmers for others like
themselves, and yes, that's 80% of Perl's audience.  When that wasn't
satisfactory for a large enough chunk of the audience, the marketplace
stepped in and provided (like my "Learning Perl" and our courses,
and free support areas like perlmonks and

But you've haven't completely explained (at least to me) why there's
both a large enough market that should get additional info for free
that isn't being satisified by the existing mechanisms, and enough
motivation to divert resources away from other projects where either
the key developers or relatively smart intermediaries are already
highly in demand.  (Good tech writers are hard to find.)

If there's a large enough market that a commercial solution can exist,
please talk to any of many highly motivated local techwriters.  I'm
sure they would love to get published, and could take the market size
to the local publishers for a proposal.

Man pages are meant to be a bit rough around the edges anyway.  We're
all familiar and comfortable with that.  Thank goodness the source is
available for everything with an opaque manpage. :)

Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777 0095
<> <URL:>
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