[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Sep 17 02:26:14 AEST 2019


On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 09:16:03AM -0700, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> 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.

Larry McVoy            	     lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm 

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