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bug#27833: 25.2; Add support for manpath command to woman.el

From: Reuben Thomas
Subject: bug#27833: 25.2; Add support for manpath command to woman.el
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:33:52 +0100

On 26 July 2017 at 15:26, Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> wrote:
> From: Reuben Thomas <address@hidden>
> Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:41:03 +0100
> The attached patch against git master adds support for the man-db
> manpath command to woman.el.
> For now, this can actually be better than using man, as man -k/apropos
> does not currently support man directories lacking a database or whatis
> file, which is typical for directories derived from PATH.

Could you please provide a rationale for this addition?

It sounds strange to me to enhance woman.el, whose main purpose is to
work without ("wo") 'man', including on systems where 'man' is not
easily available, by making it run 'manpath'.  If something is wrong
with woman-manpath's built-in database, why cannot we extend it by
adding potential candidates to those already existing there?

​You're right about woman being designed to run without man, I hadn't thought of that.

There's nothing wrong with woman-manpath's built-in database. The idea is simply to use "manpath"'s extra functionality, which looks for man pages in directories formed from the directories on PATH.

I guess the logical thing to do would therefore be to replicate this functionality directly, but I don't propose to do it.​
On top of that, I think we semi-deprecated woman.el because AFAIR it
cannot support newer roff features which are abundant in recent man
pages.  So I wonder what kind of use case do you have that on the one
hand needs woman.el, and OTOH finds its manpath emulation lacking.
​I explained  that: man -k does not support man directories lacking a database.

I've fixed that for my own purposes by running "mandb" as a per-user cronjob, so I suggest you can ignore this patch (which I agree is ill-conceived), and close the bug report.

Thanks as always for your penetrating analysis.


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