[TUHS] man-page style

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Nov 16 23:42:24 AEST 2018

On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 1:39 AM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> Marc had some insight, he said that roff -ms mostly said what you wanted
> to do, not how to do it.
Which of course is the basic foundation of Rob's and Brian's "UNIX
philosophy" from their >>still<< ever so relevent book UPE.

These are the core ideas that to me are the basis for a true 'thinking
persons view of computer world'  vs. the 'I can do anything view' or vs. 'I
don't care, you can do it for me.'  MS Word  (Windows philidophy) fron
Redmond tries to tell me what I should want something 'should' look like/do
- *i.e.* hey you user --  just need to 'fill in the blanks' and we will do
everything for you.  Which if what you want to do is what they thought of
and what they think is proper can be easy no doubt, but you are screwed if
what you value / desire is just a little different.    LaTex and friends
(VMS from the OS standpoint) strive to solve that by make everything
possible so it can be as 'pretty' as possible.

We were recently discussing Oster's new book and his term about 'deep
interfaces.'   To me the message of UPE (and the roff family) is simple:
I've thought about what I want: i.e.  Computer do what want you to do for me,
not what you think I should do or make me work so hard to get what I want
done, that is not worth the trouble.   Then make *that simple* for me to
describe to the computer and the complex part, be *handled by the system
doing the work*,  but the work should not be so 'hidden' that I as the user
of the system, can not describe something different than what you (the
system programmer) think I need to do or may be so complex for you as the
system implementor to do for me.

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