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[Groff] grohtml - "too many open files"

From: Larry Kollar
Subject: [Groff] grohtml - "too many open files"
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 10:59:46 -0500

This is partly groff, and partly a utilities issue.

I'm well along the way to getting grohtml output to work with OmniHelp, an 
LGPL'ed "HTML help" viewer []. I 
have one last snag to work out, which is related to a large manual containing 
hundreds of commands for a troubleshooting CLI.

Here's the groff part of the pipe:
  groff -ms -mwww -Thtml -p -P-jTS_Troubleshooting -P-n -P-S3 -P-s11 -

Groff was barfing with a "too many open files" error, which I worked around 
by doing "ulimit -n 768" first. I ended up with over 640 HTML files. I'm not 
sure why all every output file has to be open at once, though.

The non-groff question I have: in one of several shell scripts I use to 
OmniHelp's auxiliary files, I use a construct like this (trimmed to the 

  awk -v stem="$1" '
    # ...
    / ... / {
       grep = "grep -n \"" lasthdg "\" " stem ".ohc";
       grep | getline ohc;
  ' $2-$i.html >> $$.tmp

I'm also getting a "too many open files" error thrown in this part of the 
Is there any way I can explicitly close the getline pipe, besides looping until 
returns 0 for EOF? BTW, I'm getting this even with the open files limit maxed 
out at 768. The upshot is that it garbles the OmniHelp TOC and Index files, 
making navigation pretty much impossible.

I'll put up a HOWTO paper once I get this last snag worked out -- this will 
also go into the updated UTP (I haven't forgotten, just been working too 
much); I'm hoping that we can publish it both as PDF and HTML this time.

-- Larry

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