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

From: Tadziu Hoffmann
Subject: Re: [Groff] [groff/patch] transparent gzip
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 11:48:52 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/

Hmmm, it seems we're talking about a completely artificial
problem here, whose solution is extremely simple:  store all
manual pages uncompressed.


1. Disk space:

   Irrelevant these days.

2. Speed:

  a. Manual pages are ultimately intended to be read by
     humans, so that's the ultimate measuring stick.  If you're
     processing manual pages for other purposes, I still think
     you shouldn't trade speed for convenience (see below).

  b. If speed is indeed such an advantage, why not let other
     programs share this advantage?  Do we really need a grep
     that transparently uncompressed files?  How about cat ("cat
     file1 file2 ... | somefilter | grep expression")?  If it's
     desirable to have, hide it behind open() (i.e., in the file
     system).  I'm not opposed to optimization; I'm opposed to
     optimizing the wrong parts.

3. Convenience:

   We have lots of *extremely useful* tools (grep, sed, awk,...)
   which we're expressly keeping ourselves from using by
   compressing the manpages.  Remember: Unix was originally not
   designed for efficiency (see real mainframe operating systems
   for this), but for convenience (not necessary "application
   user" convenience like Windows, but "maintainer/programmer"
   convenience).  Of course, everyone who has learned the Unix
   way can attest to the fact that this leads to its own style
   of efficiency (rather, effectiveness; there is a difference)
   on a somewhat different level.

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