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

From: Jim Reid
Subject: Re: Fw: [Groff] [groff/patch] transparent gzip
Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 16:29:51 +0100

>>>>> "Mark" == Mark Veltzer <address@hidden> writes:

    >> Hmmm... Why do you want to start an endless cycle of featurism?
    >> It is bad enough already that you need libtiff, libjpg, libpng,
    >> libz, ghostscript and netpbm installed to be able to process
    >> anything into HTML. These packages are usually installed in a
    >> Linux or a free BSD distro, but not in commercial unices (which
    >> include MacOSX, btw).

    Mark> It may sound harsh to you but I really don't care that much
    Mark> for commercial UNIX vendors.

Your rant completely misses the point. Adding all this bloatware cruft
makes it needlessly harder to install & use groff. If all I want to do
is format man pages, why should I be required/expected to install
stuff like the above mentioned libraries and so on? Somewhere along
the line somebody has lost sight of the fundamentals of the UNIX
design: ie write small programs that only do one job and do that very
well. Even if all these things are already installed, it doesn't help.
You're still digging a hole because the library versions will change,
creating all sorts of undesirable dependencies and combinatorial

    Mark> You are very wrong. RedHat compressed manual pages because
    Mark> it's FASTER to show them that way.

So what? Even if what you say is true, it's pointless because most
people are reading the man pages interactively. Even at an absurdly
fast eyeball reading speed of 1 page per second, who cares about
trade-offs between millisecond disk access and nanosecond CPU speed?

Personally, I prefer pre-formatted and uncompressed man pages. They're
easier to browse and you always know how much of the man page has still
to be read.

    >>  In this hysteric times, when hard-drives are one US dollar per
    >> gigabyte, 80 GB hard-drives are the norm and CPUs with hardware
    >> clocks slower than 1.3 Gigahertz are obsolete, talking about
    >> the supposed need to compress man pages seems pointless to me.

    Mark> Again, this is not about disk size at all... It's about
    Mark> speed (and if do get the speed benefit - then why waste the
    Mark> disk space...? You get both ends of the stick...).

Does anyone read the man pages and say to themselves "wow, that sub
10ms average disk access really made a difference" or "troff goes
amazingly fast on a X Ghz CPU"? Get real.

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