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Re: Chapters of the manual (was: Bug#1018737: /usr/bin/rst2man: rst2man:

From: Alejandro Colomar
Subject: Re: Chapters of the manual (was: Bug#1018737: /usr/bin/rst2man: rst2man: .TH 5th field shouldn't be empty)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2022 14:56:56 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:102.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/102.4.1

Hi Ralph,

On 11/17/22 12:58, Ralph Corderoy wrote:
Hi Alejandro,

'chapter' definitely makes more sense, at least considering the manual
as a book.  Since it seems to have been in general use in the past,
it's not so much of a breaking change to start using it now again.

Yes it is a breaking.

And changing from chapter to section was also breaking. And that was really a terrible idea, not only because it change backwards-incompatible, but because it also increased inconsistency and ambiguity. Please also complain to those minds behind that change, whoever they were, and hopefully more strongly, since their change was actually braindamaged.

 This is a terrible idea.

It also seemed a terrible idea to change the precedence of the & operator once the && operator was added to C [1]. Now we have the consequences.

[1]:  <>

 Colin Watson's man(1)
has -s to specify a section and talks of sections throughout.

Yes, that worries me, and all websites that would get outdated by a simple action too. I'm thinking about the possible consequences, both bad and good, and of course there are plenty of both. There's always a balance.

Plan 9's man page refers to section.

Plan 9. It's interesting that a new operating system that attempts to copy all good things from Unix but fix the bad ones with backwards-incompatible changes is referred to with the intention of asking me to keep the old broken way.

Working with Unix from the ’80s, including many different commercial
versions, and reading dozens of published Unix books which pre-date the
web, I have only seen section be used, not chapter.

Me and aeb have shown you that chapter has been used in the past at least several times,. Maybe you should check those old sacred sources, quoted by Andries, and see by yourself. :)

With time, I expect to replace all occurrences of section that should
be chapter in the man-pages.

There are projects which need custodians rather than radicals.

I hope you don't really believe me to be a radical. Yes, I've done many changes to the man-pages project, but I've held back myself in many more cases. I'd like to think that my work in the project has been quite positive, and suggest anyone else to either (a) fork and prove they can do better, (b) be content with the changes and hopefully say so (it's very nice to read every now and then some random people thanking me for doing this for free and even more when they point to specific changes they liked), (c) propose better alternatives. A combination of some or all of them would also make sense, if you don't like some changes but do like others. But that last line feels a bit offending to me.

And I bet that you can ask the previous maintainers about my changes, and you won't get an answer like that at all; especially from Michael.




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