Question of setting environment variables - Slackware

This is a discussion on Question of setting environment variables - Slackware ; Responding to Joost Kremers: > Mike wrote: >> So why are we still stuck with "man this" and "info that" and "xyz the >> other" etc.? Why are these obscure, specialist, restrictive, >> incantational, and arguably obsolete ways of storing ...

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Thread: Question of setting environment variables

  1. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Joost Kremers:

    > Mike wrote:
    >> So why are we still stuck with "man this" and "info that" and "xyz the
    >> other" etc.? Why are these obscure, specialist, restrictive,
    >> incantational, and arguably obsolete ways of storing information still
    >> with us?

    >
    > it's not a matter of being "stuck" with them. they have properties that
    > have not been duplicated in html readers, such as the ability to search
    > a series of predefined directories for the doc you want to read, much
    > simpler markup, integration with emacs (for info at least), faster
    > startup times than the average browser, command-line capable.


    MC + Lynx

    And the advantage here is that you don't need specialist (can't do
    anything else with them) apps to search/read the documentation, just a
    couple of multi-purpose apps using long established and defined functions.


    > in short, i'd much rather read documentation with man or info than with
    > firefox. of course there's lynx and links, and w3m, and if someone would
    > ever take the trouble to build the other advantages of man and info into
    > them, and to convert all relevant documentation into html format, i
    > probably wouldn't really mind switching to html doc, but why would one
    > go through all that trouble just to duplicate functionality that already
    > exists?


    Because each app needs it's own crash course in how to actually use it,
    and a problem with Linux/*NIX is that there are many ways to do
    something, but also as many ways to do something. The number of times
    I've hit the wrong application's key combo and had to break my
    concentration to figure out what I just dismissed/swapped/deleted... Argh!

    A counter question is surely "Why have so many apps for such similar
    functions?"

    I'd go with your Firefox comments, and the idea of developing a suitable
    text browser to cover man/info documentation too.

    > but you know, info pages are generally generated from texinfo source
    > files, which can just as easily be converted to html (and even pdf). in
    > fact, gnu info pages are always available on the net in a variety of
    > formats, among which html (in two variants, even). so if you prefer, you
    > can read any info page as html. there are also several ways to convert
    > man or t/nroff docs to html.


    Yup. I know they can be converted. If you can think it, somebody else
    probably has too, and there's probably a Linux app to do the job.

    My table thumping on this one is over how come a sometimes vital resource
    (ie: Dayam! Is there a flag to [?] etc.) is still, (and I'm going to
    stick with this one a bit longer here), an old app with it's own special
    and unique keysets, functions, mysteries, etc. when a multi-use tool
    regularly used for many similar functions (file manager/browser) could
    work just as well or better.

    Its kinda like having a special can opener just for "Soupy Soups" special
    cans.

    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  2. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Mike wrote:

    I hope you realize that the email address I gave you is
    the one I give to trolls and idiots like you. I never
    check the mail there.

    I know you think you fooled me with your line of bull****.

    But I knew from the moment I saw the common first name
    in my newsreader's display that I was dealing with
    a jerk who doesn't do anything but run his punk mouth.

    [delete]

    Sid

    --
    My newsfilter kills all threads and subthreads
    originating with a post from googlegroups.
    See: http://tinyurl.com/4v394u

  3. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Mike wrote:
    > MC + Lynx
    >
    > And the advantage here is that you don't need specialist (can't do
    > anything else with them) apps to search/read the documentation, just a
    > couple of multi-purpose apps using long established and defined functions.


    i'm not very familiar with mc, but AFAIK mc+lynx still lacks some of the
    functionality that makes man and info useful as documentation browsers. as
    it stands, they're not a suitable replacement.

    > Because each app needs it's own crash course in how to actually use it,
    > and a problem with Linux/*NIX is that there are many ways to do
    > something, but also as many ways to do something. The number of times
    > I've hit the wrong application's key combo and had to break my
    > concentration to figure out what I just dismissed/swapped/deleted... Argh!


    i won't say it never happens to me that i hit the wrong key... but for me
    it's not that much of an issue.

    i have the same thing with xdvi, gv and xpdf. they're all document viewers,
    but for different types of documents, and they all work slightly
    differently. it's annoying, and i'd certainly prefer one single app that
    handles dvi, ps and pdf files, but it OTOH it's not *that* bad.

    > A counter question is surely "Why have so many apps for such similar
    > functions?"


    that's evolution for you. ;-) different people having similar itches coming
    up with similar but incompatible solutions.

    > My table thumping on this one is over how come a sometimes vital resource
    > (ie: Dayam! Is there a flag to [?] etc.) is still, (and I'm going to
    > stick with this one a bit longer here), an old app with it's own special
    > and unique keysets, functions, mysteries, etc. when a multi-use tool
    > regularly used for many similar functions (file manager/browser) could
    > work just as well or better.


    well, man just pipes its output through less, and since that's an app i use
    quite a lot, man doesn't give me much trouble.

    but in the end it all comes down to this: i agree there would be certain
    advantages to having a single app that handles various documentation
    sources, and it'd be ok if that single app were essentially a text browser
    with the added functionality that a document browser needs. but in order
    for that to happen, someone must get up and say "ok, i'm gonna do the work
    required to build this app, and then i'm gonna try and get everybody sold
    on it". that person's not going to be me, though, because the disadvantages
    don't bother me all that much.


    --
    Joost Kremers joostkremers@yahoo.com
    Selbst in die Unterwelt dringt durch Spalten Licht
    EN:SiS(9)

  4. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On 27 Sep 2008 22:27:09 GMT, Joost Kremers wrote:

    ....
    >with the added functionality that a document browser needs. but in order
    >for that to happen, someone must get up and say "ok, i'm gonna do the work
    >required to build this app, and then i'm gonna try and get everybody sold
    >on it". that person's not going to be me, though, because the disadvantages
    >don't bother me all that much.


    This about sums up the GNU/Linux world doesn't it? We have much choice,
    nothing's quite right, but 'good enough'. And often hardly worth the
    effort make yet another frobnicator.

    Years ago key macro expanders (can't think of a name) were the go on PC's
    (using the term lightly, I wrote one in assembler for cp/m back then to
    get similar functionality to 'alias' these days tied to odd key combinations.

    But doc browsers sort of depend on environment, in a GUI there are different
    methods compared to terminal (multi-tab browsers?) There are times I'd like
    for man pages to hotlink into 'See also' pages, so I highlight a see-also,
    exit and man Shft-Ins -> into related document, not that different a workaround.

    At times I'm resorting to 'grep -r' keyword searches, 'cos apropos doesn't
    help or I'm clueless as to where to start getting a handle on what some
    function is named as.

    Like an endless fractal expansion at times, looking for information...

    Grant.
    --
    http://bugsplatter.id.au/

  5. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sat, 27 Sep 2008 14:53:04 -0700, Sidney Lambe wrote:

    > I hope you realize that the email address I gave you is
    > the one I give to trolls and idiots like you. I never
    > check the mail there.
    >
    > I know you think you fooled me with your line of bull****.
    >
    > But I knew from the moment I saw the common first name
    > in my newsreader's display that I was dealing with
    > a jerk who doesn't do anything but run his punk mouth.


    Ding!Ding!Ding! And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! The final
    proof, as if it was really needed, that "Sid" is really our old loser
    friend "Tom Newton", who is really the ultimate Usenet loser, "Alan
    Connor". It always works out this way, as he just can't help using some
    of his trademark phrases.

    I would like the record to show that I was the one who publicly spotted
    him (again), and exposed to the world the complete and utter liar and
    moron that this retarded whacko really is.

    Time to dream up another name, Alan/Tom/Sid. It won't take long for you
    to be outed again. Do us all a favor, and just disappear.


    --
    "Sidney Lambe" ("Tom Newton") - the latest nymshift of "Alan Connor".
    Read more about the netkook Alan Connor here:
    http://www.pearlgates.net/nanae/kooks/ac/fga.shtml
    Email him: calhobbit@gmail.com or simpleman.s43@gmail.com

  6. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On 2008-09-27, Mike wrote:
    > Responding to Rupa Zangpo:
    >
    >> Keith Keller wrote:
    >>>> "man bash" also has a surprising amount of information.
    >>>
    >>> If by "surprising" you mean "difficult to navigate", I agree.
    >>>
    >>> Look up the INVOCATION section of the manpage for bash.

    >>
    >> No, no, no, NO! If you've got something to do with GNU Software, look up
    >> the *info*-pages! 'info bash' is the way to go. There are no manpages
    >> about GNU Software except the ones someone put together unofficially.


    This may be true of many GNU manpages, but it doesn't appear to be true
    of man bash. Normally you'd see a message in the SEE ALSO section
    something like "The full documentation is in info blah", but that
    message doesn't appear in man bash.

    Plus info is based on emacs, which is the spawn of satan. ;-)

    > What, I have to wonder, is the problem with html? Its universal, simple,
    > and all but one single wood burning computer somewhere up a mountain in
    > Siberia actually has the capacity to read html from the moment they are
    > booted.


    It can do man too. Old folks like me are used to man. Formatters can
    convert a man page to HTML and/or vice-versa.

    --keith

    --
    kkeller-usenet@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
    (try just my userid to email me)
    AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
    see X- headers for PGP signature information


  7. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Joost Kremers wrote:

    > i have the same thing with xdvi, gv and xpdf. they're all document
    > viewers, but for different types of documents, and they all work
    > slightly differently. it's annoying, and i'd certainly prefer one
    > single app that handles dvi, ps and pdf files, but it OTOH it's not
    > *that* bad.


    But the different document formats have different functions. I prefer
    to have a specific viewer, for example for .dvi files, with functions
    that are specific to examining the details of such a file (in
    particular, at least for the functionality I've used, to examine
    typesetting details), which simply don't make sense when looking at
    Postscript files (which consist of programming code normally used to
    make printers spit out paper with ink/toner arranged on the pages in
    specific meaningful patterns) or .pdf files, which are intended for
    platform-independant distribution.

    > ... i agree there would be certain advantages to having a single app
    > that handles various documentation sources, and it'd be ok if that
    > single app were essentially a text browser with the added
    > functionality that a document browser needs.


    Don't forget that it should also include an embedded lisp interpretter
    .... ;-)

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Network and Systems analyst Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  8. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Keith Keller wrote:

    > Plus info is based on emacs, ...


    Well THAT explains why that interface seems so counter-intuitive! It's
    in the pedigree!

    >> ... all but one single wood burning computer somewhere up a mountain
    >> in Siberia actually has the capacity to read html from the moment
    >> they are booted.

    >
    > It can do man too. ...


    Apparently we have to let Mike decide whether it can. ;-)

    --
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sylvain Robitaille syl@alcor.concordia.ca

    Network and Systems analyst Concordia University
    Instructional & Information Technology Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

  9. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Grant:

    > On 27 Sep 2008 22:27:09 GMT, Joost Kremers
    > wrote:
    >
    > ...
    >>with the added functionality that a document browser needs. but in order
    >>for that to happen, someone must get up and say "ok, i'm gonna do the
    >>work required to build this app, and then i'm gonna try and get
    >>everybody sold on it". that person's not going to be me, though, because
    >>the disadvantages don't bother me all that much.

    >
    > This about sums up the GNU/Linux world doesn't it? We have much choice,
    > nothing's quite right, but 'good enough'. And often hardly worth the
    > effort make yet another frobnicator.
    >
    > Years ago key macro expanders (can't think of a name) were the go on
    > PC's (using the term lightly, I wrote one in assembler for cp/m back
    > then to get similar functionality to 'alias' these days tied to odd
    > key combinations.
    >
    > But doc browsers sort of depend on environment, in a GUI there are
    > different methods compared to terminal (multi-tab browsers?) There are
    > times I'd like for man pages to hotlink into 'See also' pages, so I
    > highlight a see-also, exit and man Shft-Ins -> into related document,
    > not that different a workaround.
    >
    > At times I'm resorting to 'grep -r' keyword searches, 'cos apropos
    > doesn't help or I'm clueless as to where to start getting a handle on
    > what some function is named as.
    >
    > Like an endless fractal expansion at times, looking for information...
    >
    > Grant.



    Aha! So I'm not alone!


    Need information - seek documentation - read documentation.

    Search FOR documentation - search documentation.

    How many formats do we need here? How many different "how to operate this
    application" documents do we need to read and learn off by heart? This
    ends up being like having to learn to drive cars, tractors, combined
    harvesters, fly aircraft, helicopters, operated submarines, motorcycles,
    and various other vehicles, just to get to the shops.

    And all for just a text document with markup.

    So, my question has evolved into...

    * Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?


    And, Are we still using the "traditional format" simply because old hands
    got used to it and newbies had just better learn it or get ignored?


    Its a thought.

    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  10. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Sidney Lambe:

    > Mike wrote:
    >
    > I hope you realize that the email address I gave you is the one I give
    > to trolls and idiots like you. I never check the mail there.
    >
    > I know you think you fooled me with your line of bull****.
    >
    > But I knew from the moment I saw the common first name in my
    > newsreader's display that I was dealing with a jerk who doesn't do
    > anything but run his punk mouth.
    >
    > [delete]
    >
    > Sid



    Sid. You need therapy, not a newsreader.

    Seriously.

    Byeee.

    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  11. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Sylvain Robitaille:

    > Keith Keller wrote:
    >
    >> Plus info is based on emacs, ...

    >
    > Well THAT explains why that interface seems so counter-intuitive! It's
    > in the pedigree!
    >
    >>> ... all but one single wood burning computer somewhere up a mountain
    >>> in Siberia actually has the capacity to read html from the moment they
    >>> are booted.

    >>
    >> It can do man too. ...

    >
    > Apparently we have to let Mike decide whether it can. ;-)



    I know somebody who's going to get his legs slapped pretty soon!

    Gotta agree with the Emacs thing though. As a demonstration of how
    convoluted the human brain can be and still remain conscious, its a work
    of art, but as a practical application its BorgTech. No WAY could a
    normal human mind adapt to using Emacs without significant and permanent
    bio-tech alteration. Not without a plate full of strangely coloured
    mushrooms that is. %)

    Which, as was pointed out here, does leave it's footprint in other apps.

    Which now indicates we have enough material to have a flame war.

    Lets just tip-toe away quietly before the BSDers get wind of it...

    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  12. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 09:19:40 GMT, Mike wrote:
    ....
    >> Like an endless fractal expansion at times, looking for information...
    >>
    >> Grant.

    >
    >
    >Aha! So I'm not alone!
    >
    >
    >Need information - seek documentation - read documentation.
    >
    >Search FOR documentation - search documentation.
    >
    >How many formats do we need here? How many different "how to operate this
    >application" documents do we need to read and learn off by heart? This
    >ends up being like having to learn to drive cars, tractors, combined
    >harvesters, fly aircraft, helicopters, operated submarines, motorcycles,
    >and various other vehicles, just to get to the shops.
    >
    >And all for just a text document with markup.
    >
    >So, my question has evolved into...
    >
    >* Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?


    We don't -- man pages are text with markup, just like web pages, just
    a different breed of markup, that's all. Your argument is weak...

    >And, Are we still using the "traditional format" simply because old hands
    >got used to it and newbies had just better learn it or get ignored?


    No, It aint broke so nobody's gonna fix it -- feel free to delete
    all your man pages, wont upset me at all.

    >Its a thought.


    o_O

    Grant.

    --
    http://bugsplatter.id.au/

  13. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 09:29:04 GMT, Mike wrote:

    ....
    >Gotta agree with the Emacs thing though. As a demonstration of how
    >convoluted the human brain can be and still remain conscious, its a work
    >of art, but as a practical application its BorgTech. No WAY could a
    >normal human mind adapt to using Emacs without significant and permanent
    >bio-tech alteration. Not without a plate full of strangely coloured
    >mushrooms that is. %)


    Very good, I've read some people use linux or *BSD to boot emacs, I'm
    not one of them...

    Grant.
    --
    http://bugsplatter.id.au/

  14. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 09:19:40 +0000, Mike sprout:

    > And all for just a text document with markup.
    >
    > So, my question has evolved into...
    >
    > * Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?


    you don't, if you want to use the man page as straight text just
    tells it so:
    # man man -P cat

    you can even preset this and forget about it:
    # export MANPAGER=/bin/cat

    but it's all nitcpicking with a hay fork, the dire problem with
    manpages is not "how can we read them" but "can we read them" ;-)

  15. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 05:36:21 +0000, Sylvain Robitaille wrote:

    >> Just how many individual methods of reading a page of text do we
    >> actually need? How many binaries just to access/read basic information?
    >> Have we not yet reached a point where we could define a standard that
    >> fits in with other standards?

    >
    > Why weren't you demanding answers to those very questions when hypertext
    > was threatening to replace Gopher???


    Hypertext replaced Gopher? Damnation, why wasn't I told?!

    When did that happen, anyway?

  16. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 10:19:14 +0000, Loki Harfagr wrote:

    > but it's all nitcpicking with a hay fork, the dire problem with manpages
    > is not "how can we read them" but "can we read them" ;-)




  17. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008, Mark Madsen wrote:

    > On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 05:36:21 +0000, Sylvain Robitaille wrote:
    >
    >>> Just how many individual methods of reading a page of text do we
    >>> actually need? How many binaries just to access/read basic information?
    >>> Have we not yet reached a point where we could define a standard that
    >>> fits in with other standards?

    >>
    >> Why weren't you demanding answers to those very questions when hypertext
    >> was threatening to replace Gopher???

    >
    > Hypertext replaced Gopher? Damnation, why wasn't I told?!
    >
    > When did that happen, anyway?
    >

    I was looking at the "Idiot's Guide to the Internet" from 1993 or '94
    last year at a book sale, and right out of the gate about four chapters
    had no relevance to today's user, since they covered protocol's that
    aren't really in use anymore. For most people, they wouldn't even
    know about Gopher, since they came late enough that its time had
    already passed.

    McGill University here used gopher for a classified ad thing for a long
    time. I was going to say up until reasonably recently, but by now it's
    been a fair number of years since they switched over to an html format.
    But when it suddenly changed over, it seemed dramatic.

    Michael


  18. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Grant:

    [...]
    >>
    >>So, my question has evolved into...
    >>
    >>* Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?

    >
    > We don't -- man pages are text with markup, just like web pages, just a
    > different breed of markup, that's all. Your argument is weak...


    So I CAN read them in my browser then, a tool that my fingers know
    instinctively, without having to read up on the reader I needed to read
    about something else? No... hang on... just tried it. It doesn't WORK
    that way! Dayam! I need a special reader to read those pages!

    Guess my "argument" (it was a question when I started) is still standing.


    >>And, Are we still using the "traditional format" simply because old
    >>hands got used to it and newbies had just better learn it or get
    >>ignored?

    >
    > No, It aint broke so nobody's gonna fix it -- feel free to delete all
    > your man pages, wont upset me at all.


    Not quite the point. Miss a turn.

    (Nice pout BTW


    >>Its a thought.

    >
    > o_O
    >
    > Grant.


    Granted.


    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  19. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    Responding to Loki Harfagr:

    > On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 09:19:40 +0000, Mike sprout:
    >
    >> And all for just a text document with markup.
    >>
    >> So, my question has evolved into...
    >>
    >> * Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?

    >
    > you don't, if you want to use the man page as straight text just
    > tells it so:
    > # man man -P cat
    >
    > you can even preset this and forget about it:
    > # export MANPAGER=/bin/cat
    >
    > but it's all nitcpicking with a hay fork, the dire problem with manpages
    > is not "how can we read them" but "can we read them" ;-)



    Yeah, I KNOW things can be converted/scripted/altered, but thats not the
    point of my question.

    Why do we need a special reader for specially formatted documentation at
    all? This is a legacy thing, and I suppose I'm arguing that its not only
    obsolete, but arguably time consuming and distracting for today's Linux
    user base.

    "We've always done it this way" doesn't cut the mustard when you've jobs
    waiting and need to fix something before something else happens as a
    result.

    Or do we assume all Linux users go through a Linux Training Camp before
    being allowed near a live terminal? "If you have a problem you WILL read
    your man pages. IF you don't know all the tricks to using your man page
    reader you WILL have another problem. IF you have another problem you
    WILL NOT solve your first problem UNTIL you have learned to fly your man
    page reader upside down while making a cup of tea and compiling the
    latest X.org server in French! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR MAGGOTS?" "SIR! YES
    SIR!"

    etc.

    Most people reach for the documentation when something has gone wrong, or
    they get stuck. At that precise point, the LAST thing they need is to
    find the documentation in a specialist format, AND have to go reading up
    on how to use a dedicated single-purpose reader with no interface to
    speak of (ie: you know it or you don't). This is why there are man2html
    converters out there, and man2text converters, etc.

    What I'm looking at is why this preference for a standard format (many
    common apps can read it) has not become THE standard yet. The only thing
    I'm discovering is that the "We've always done it this way" thing coupled
    with the "If it ain't broke..." thing has left this legacy still fully
    functional, but still obscure and unique, in most default OS
    distributions.

    Be honest. If the man page format did not already exist, would anybody
    actually invent it today?

    --
    *===( http://principiadiscordia.com/
    *===( http://www.badphorm.co.uk/
    *===( http://www.zenwalk.org/

  20. Re: Question of getting system/application information

    On Sun, 28 Sep 2008 14:21:39 +0000, Mike wrote:

    >>>* Why do we need a specialist reader/format for basic information?


    >> We don't -- man pages are text with markup, just like web pages, just a
    >> different breed of markup, that's all. Your argument is weak...


    > So I CAN read them in my browser then, a tool that my fingers know
    > instinctively, without having to read up on the reader I needed to read
    > about something else? No... hang on... just tried it. It doesn't WORK
    > that way! Dayam! I need a special reader to read those pages!


    Yeah. A "special reader" which you already have, and is already on any
    *nix system you may stumble upon. One which works fine, and is very
    simple to use. Gee, what a terrible situation...

    > Guess my "argument" (it was a question when I started) is still standing.


    I would guess "not".

    >> No, It aint broke so nobody's gonna fix it -- feel free to delete all
    >> your man pages, wont upset me at all.


    > Not quite the point. Miss a turn.


    It's exactly the point. It ain't broke. Nobody's gonna fix it. Not to
    mention the fact that on many systems, there is NOT an HTML-capable
    browser available to use. Did you not know that?


    --
    "Ubuntu" -- an African word, meaning "Slackware is too hard for me".
    The Usenet Improvement Project: http://improve-usenet.org


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