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Re: [Groff] [groff/patch] transparent gzip

From: Ralph Corderoy
Subject: Re: [Groff] [groff/patch] transparent gzip
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 11:37:34 +0100

Hi Emmanuel,

> If you look at the source code of ``man'' itself, you will find that
> there is extra provision for file with a single .so in the first line.
> Just grp for .so anywhere else, you'll encounter problems. Examples
> are zshall, as well as all the pvm man pages, and a dozen of sporadic
> ones.

OK, I wasn't aware of man's limitation here.

> Agreed, the unix way is not to compress man pages, and would rather be
> to put the manpages on a separate, compressed filesystem if really
> needed. However, if just want things to work at a low cost, I claim
> that groff is the place where to put this functionality.

man pages aren't formatted by just groff;  packages like zsh are
installed on Unix systems that have ditroff as standard.  If man decides
to cope with compressed man pages then it either has to do the job
right, or man page authors have to know there are limitations in using

`Fixing' groff in this way won't make the problem man has introduced go
away.  I shouldn't have to install groff to read a man page.

> The code in itself does not handle anything else than .gz (just like
> the similar functionality of man, by the way). This being say, it's
> pretty trivial to add on top of the class opaque_fp that's in there.

My out-the-box man handles things other than .gz.

    $ echo .so 2 >1 $ echo this is 2 >2
    $ bzip2 [12]
    $ man ./1.bz2 
    this is 2
    $ g bz /etc/man.config 
    .bz2            /usr/bin/bzip2 -c -d
    $ rpm -Vf /etc/man.config
    $ cat /etc/redhat-release 
    Red Hat Linux release 7.2 (Enigma)

Patching groff is the wrong fix for the problem and would encourage the
general trend.  Patching gcc so I can bzip2 /usr/include/*.h will be
next  :-(


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