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Re: in defence of man pages



On Thu, 23 Sep 1999, Steve Mynott wrote:

> one of the reasons I have shifted from linux to OpenBSD is the quality
> of the man pages (far better on OpenBSD).
> 
> I don't see the point of "HOWTOs" you just need well written man pages
> with examples.  I would rather have one standard set of docs with the
> system.

Indeed.  I've read in several places that cover UNIX-generic system
administration that someone who is admin'ing a system should have read, at
least once, all the man pages available on the system(s) in question.  Linux
makes this somewhat pointless (I've given up on finding documentation
describing most of Red Hat), since the man pages aren't necessarily specific
to your distribution or install, but OpenBSD does just fine here.  Read the
FAQ, read the man pages, and a hell of a lot will be answered.

And, incidentally, if you've skimmed all the man pages *just once*, it's
significantly easier to find any topic in particular again when a question
arises.

I think this sort of skimming (and you can do it online, no less :) would be
a good thing for everybody who wants to set up a computer that does much
(and it is damning of certain commercial OS's that they don't provide useful
documentation).

 Matthew Weigel                                       Programmer/Sysadmin
  weigel+@pitt.edu                             Operating Systems Advocate
                         http://www.pitt.edu/~weigel