[Python-Dev] Help command

Thomas Wouters thomas@xs4all.net
Sun, 16 Jul 2000 17:58:35 +0200

On Sun, Jul 16, 2000 at 09:20:29AM -0500, Paul Prescod wrote:

> Does "man python" work yet? Or maybe my installation was just messed up.


> As an aside, I think that there are three reasons that it would be nice
> if we delivered the Python documentation in man format:

>  1. man(1) die-hards (blow-hards!) would be happy

Hey, I resemble that remark ! I actually use the Perl manpages every now and
then, because it's hard to find stuff about operators and special variables
in perldoc. But then, there is hardly any need for that in Python ;)

>  2. man open() etc. would return Python information which is a way of
> advertising Python

'man open()' would probably return the 'open' command (catagory 1) from the
'open' package, at least on Linux :-) On other systems, it would most likely
show the 'open' system call, not the python call. You'd have to fix manpath
to search python paths before system paths for that ;)

I'm not against supplying the Python library reference in man-form, I'm just
not very sure what form it would have or how useful it would be.

>  3. documenting every function in every programming language in a common
> namespace is a ridiculous idea and by contributing to the problem we can
> do our part to kill a tool that has lived long past its time. :)

Say what you will, man(1) is a great tool for what it does. Info sucks for
that, so does HTML. Info is a nice way to bundle a package's information,
and to supply introductions and extended manuals in a way that 'man' cannot,
but man stays the quickest quick-ref, man!

(But I agree, adding TCL and Perl (and Python!) functions in the common
manpath is a silly idea. Lets keep it for the C/POSIX API, commands and the
system files ;)

Thomas Wouters <thomas@xs4all.net>

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