Re: man-pages-2.08 is released

From: Jesse Barnes
Date: Thu Oct 13 2005 - 12:47:25 EST

On Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:52 am, Michael Kerrisk wrote:
> Recently, I was just wondering the same thing. However, there
> are complexities to consider. C libraries (okay, glibc is the
> main one I concern myself with) sometimes add some functionality
> in the wrapper function for a particular system call. This also
> needs to be documented in the Secion 2 page.

True. But there are other libcs available (e.g. klibc, dietlibc) too.
I'd think that if the pages were bundled with the kernel, they should
describe exactly what the kernel does, while pages bundled with a libc
would describe any enhancements (or breakages) that the particular libc
includes. But then what to do about duplicates? Or should the raw
kernel interfaces have their own section, while libc interfaces remain
in section 2? Or should the libc versions typically replace the kernel
versions on running systems? Or 'patch' the existing kernel pages
somehow? So many questions... ;)

> Nevertheless, I think the idea of binding the kernel sources and
> Sections 2 and 4 of the manual pages a bit more tightly bears
> some consideration. In the ideal world, when a change is made to
> the kernel, the patch could include adjustments to the man
> pages (if relevant) -- then the changes could follow the patch
> through the -mm tree and then into Linus's tree.

That was my though too; it's certainly easier to ask people to update
manual pages in Documentation/ or man/ when they do a kernel patch than
to ask them to download a separate package and make the changes (since
they'll probably never get around to doing the latter :).

> > OTOH, they comprise a fairly large package, so adding them to the
> > kernel tarball would increase its size a lot.
> I'd guess that the uncompressed source of the relevant pages
> would be around 3 MB.

Ok, that's not too bad. Having full, up-to-date man pages would be worth
the extra few megs to me at least.

> > The man pages are great;
> Thanks. But the greatest part of credit must go to Andries,
> the maintainer for nearly 10 years. I'm shortly coming up to my
> first anniversary...

Many thanks to both of you then!

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