[TUHS] man-page style

Andy Kosela akosela at andykosela.com
Sat Nov 17 13:29:24 AEST 2018

On Friday, November 16, 2018, Jim Capp <jcapp at anteil.com> wrote:

> It was man pages that first caught my eye, placing me on a life-long path
> of working
> with Unix and its derivatives.
> I was working on a project for a telephone company, converting IBM 2780
> Bisync to
> async, and was given a manual and root access to a Xenix machine.  I had
> cut my
> teeth on a Radio Shack TRS-80 and knew BASIC and Z80 machine code.
> The machine had BASIC, so that is where I started.  I had spent an
> afternoon
> writing a hex dump program before I discovered "od".  I spent the next day
> reading
> all the man pages.  I was amazed with their simplicity and clarity.
> Having finished the man pages, I read the Unix Programmer's Manual cover to
> cover.
> I re-wrote the hex dump in C just for fun.  I was sold.
> The remarkable simplicity of Unix, the kernel, the commands, the
> documentation,
> is a beautiful thing.  And I was fortunate to have found it early in my
> career.
> It was also a time, when the manuals were concise enough to read them all
> in a few day's time.
Yup.  Things were much more simple at that time.  Now try to do the same
with modern "Unix": more than 15 millions lines of code in Linux, more than
10 millions in FreeBSD, some man pages are literally pages and pages of
bizarre options, and userland is just a complicated mess of hundreds of
commands that you never used in your entire life... Add some spice in the
form of systemd and you got the modern "Unix".

Enjoy programming in such a "simple" and "concise" environment now...

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