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Re: [Groff] Section 9 manpages

From: Meg McRoberts
Subject: Re: [Groff] Section 9 manpages
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:52:20 -0700 (PDT)

This is interesting...  I was at Bell Labs from 1983-1988 and the
last couple of years, was involved in the driver development docs.
Most of the man pages were written by a huge group of writers in
Winston-Salem, N.C. and I do remember many of the odd conventions
you mention...  The writers at Bell Labs and these DDO (Doc Development
Organization, I believe) guys had some political squabbles...

When we did the manpages for the driver interfaces, we created
sections named something like D2X, D3X, and D4X.  It was a very
loose play on the standard sections -- we said that driver entry
points were a little bit like system calls (not really, but...)so
that was D2X; kernel functions were a bit like library routines
so that was D3X; and kernel structures were a little bit like
files so that was D4X.  I don't remember ever seeing man.9 until
I started playing with Linux.  I spent the 1990's at SCO (when it
was a good company that produced software rather than law suits)
and we developed this system further -- dropped the X and used
suffixes to break up the sections by interface type.  If anyone
is interested in the end result, it's still on the web at -- click on "Hardware and Driver Development"
in the bottom half of the left frame and you'll get the whole doc
set, including man pages.

Is anyone else old enough to remember when man.8 was firmware
commands?  Back in the day, there were firmware commands that
you used during installation to copy the software from a 9-track
tape onto disk, specifying where it went so that the boot block
landed in the right spot and all.  I believe the dd(1) command
is a direct decendant of one of those command.  boot itself may
have been a section 8 page, too -- not positive.

I want to check these SuSE man.9 files and see what all is covered.
It sounds like a lot of kenel functions -- don't know if entry point
routines and structures are also there.


--- Clarke Echols <address@hidden> wrote:
> Back in my HP-UX Reference manpage days (1985-1992), Section 9 was
> the "Glossary".  Came from an AT&T convention if memory serves me
> correctly.  I don't suppose there is anything preventing creating a
> man10, man11, etc., but I don't know of any iron-clad conventions that
> could be relied on as a guideline.  Section 8 and 1m were used for
> sys-admin commands (utilities); which was used depended on whether
> you were looking at a BSD system or an AT&T system.  This was back
> in the days when AT&T's TV advertising had the slogan, "AT&T, the
> *right* answer."  My retort was, after looking at the inconsistencies
> and missing information in their manpages that, "AT&T is definitely
> *not* the right answer." :-)  The typographical conventions in the
> old AT&T manpages were atrocious.  The heading of the page had the
> utility/function/page name in uppercase, the SYNOPSIS had the syntax
> in bold (including arguments/variables? -- don't recall but I hope not),
> and in text, the name was in italics.  If the command name was the
> first word in a sentence, it was capitalized.  So for the cp/mv/ln(1)
> manpage (all three in one manual entry), the top of the page had
> CP(1), the synopsis had in bold "cp", and the start of a sentence
> in the DESCRIPTION section used "Cp".  Now imagine the poor sucker
> who's using this for the first time, and you can understand the
> comment card I got from a man in Japan who said something like, "I
> typed in "Cp", and got back the message "Command not found".  It
> really stirred up a fuss when I decided to force consistency (without
> a committee to "approve" it) so that the name in the heading was
> "cp(1)", cp (in Courier) in the SYNOPSIS, and "cp" (also in Courier)
> at the start of a sentence.
> Clarke
> Meg McRoberts wrote:
> > 
> > Hi all,
> > Section 9 of the Linux manpage scheme is reserved for "kernel
> > interfaces" or some such.  Has anyone ever seen a Section 9
> > manpage or know anything about them?
> > 
> > Thanks,
> > Meg
> > _______________________________________________
> > Groff maillist  -  address@hidden
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Groff maillist  -  address@hidden

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