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Re: [Groff] Copyright notices in groff's man pages

From: Werner LEMBERG
Subject: Re: [Groff] Copyright notices in groff's man pages
Date: Sat, 04 Nov 2017 17:40:19 +0100 (CET)

>> (A) Make man pages' copyright and permission notices visible in the
>>     roff source file only, and put them in plain ASCII in comments.
>>     Stop defining macros for them.  Author information, if present,
>>     can be directly inlined into the man page, not stuffed into a
>>     private macro to be popped later.
> FWIW, i'm strongly in favour of that option.

Me too.

> I consider Copyright notices in the user interface, that is, in
> manual pages, and even a bit worse in stdout or stderr of the
> program, outright rude and disrespectful of the user [...]

Well, I suggest we simply follow the GNU standards; the exact rules
can be found in the `maintain.texi' info file.  In case you don't have
it on your system, you can get an up-to-date copy from

Section 6.5 `Copyright Notices' should cover all details.

> I have always found it unfortunate that groff, which is used a lot
> as a documentation formatter and does have some well-merited
> authority in that area, is setting this horrible example that people
> might follow.

If people are going to improve this, fine :-)

> In stdout and stderr, every unnecessary word is a very serious
> nuisance, and two additional lines are hellish, they make stuff
> scroll off the screen and bury the output i'm looking for in heaps
> of crap.

Please don't generalize too much.  groff is a filter, so it doesn't
produce any additional output to stdout at all.  However, if you
explicitly call `groff --version', I *expect* a copyright and license

Also note that your BSD point of view is probably different to what
GNU and the FSF expect.

> Don't worry about the exact format.

Yep.  However, having identical entries in all files makes gnulib's
`update-copyright' script work better.


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