[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Tue Sep 17 02:16:03 AEST 2019

Larry McVoy writes:
> On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 11:14:25AM -0400, Richard Salz wrote:
> > Is it any surprise that the early GNU effort was really trying to recreate
> > ITS?  Can you really blame them?  I'm grateful that they made `info` be a
> > standalone program.  Putting the concept of "cursor position" into the
> > existing pagers (more/less/etc) and doing jump/xref/back would be more than
> > a stretch, IMO.
> It's what Clem said.  You should acclimate yourself to your environment.
> Pushing info into man environment is a lot like being an immigrant and
> wanting to bring your laws into your new homeland.  That isn't a thing
> and shouldn't be a thing.  Doesn't matter that people think ITS is better,
> they are in Unix.  If you think ITS is better, go live there.
> When in Rome....

Well, in the shameless department, I can quote from my book:

	Mucking up the ecosystem into which you release code does not
	add value. Many developers behave as if they’re stereotypical
	Americans vacationing in another country, or for that matter my
	father-in-law visiting — the “I just came to your place, so do
	things my way” attitude.

	For example, UNIX systems have a command that displays manual pages
	for programs. You can type man foo and it’ll show you the page
	for the foo command. There’s also a convention that really complex
	commands, such as yacc , have both a manual page and a longer, more
	in-depth document that describes the program in more detail. When
	the GNU project (which I’ll discuss shortly) added commands to
	UNIX, it used its own texinfo system for manuals, which wasn’t
	compatible with the man system. The result was that users would have
	to try both the man and info commands to find documentation. Even
	if, as some believe, the GNU approach was superior, any possible
	benefits were outweighed by the UNIX community’s huge loss of
	productivity that resulted from the fragmented ecosystem.

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