Python to Perl Conversions

Tom Christiansen tchrist at
Thu Aug 19 13:20:53 EDT 1999

     [courtesy cc of this posting mailed to cited author]

In comp.lang.python, 
    jblaine at (Jeff Blaine) writes:
:If you put me on any UNIX machine without man pages containing
:descriptions and command-line usage of the tools there, I would
:be royally pissed.

Exactly.  And I thought my statements were rather subdued for
being royally pissed. 

:I don't know, your little jab there in an otherwise great reference
:document posting seemed completely petty to me.  It makes me think
:you stuck it in there as a little "See, I'm dissing them like I am
:supposed to!" due to the fact that you posted the message to both
:c.l.perl and c.l.python.

Don't be silly.  That wasn't that at all.  Online searchable documentation
is critical in a technical subject like this.  Imagine libc without
manpages!  Or having no manpages for the shell tools. Now, you might
now be aware of this, but I happened to *write* most of that on-line
documenation for Perl.  I'm super senstitive to not being able to look
up docs using standard CLI text-based tools.  As you said, you would be
frustrated not to have docs for tools or libraries.

Something the python community might should learn here from the perl
community is our zealous position on usable documentation.  HTML alone
sucks, as does putting things only on the web (two different issues).
That I can't even get "man python" to come up pisses me off more than
you can imagine.  I strongly feel that you really should consider making
something easy for CLI people to use just like any other tool or library.
That's why we have "pod" as base docs, which can convert into HTML,
text, info, latex, frame, troff (manpages), etc.  It makes it easy to
run grep or find programs on.  This is very important.  And each module
automatically installs that module's manpage (and optionally html doc,
but this is less popular amongst perl folks).  That gets it added to
the apropos and whatis and man commands automatically.  This is about
0.002% of what the MakeMaker thingie in Perl does, but it's the part
that matters for docs.  I've surely heard Python folks drooling over it
for a long time.  Also, the CPAN autoinstaller than runs it all for you.
All very spiffy.

"It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine
 medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently
 view it as some kind of recreational activity."
                -- Dave Barry

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