How to use Python well?

Ben Finney ben+python at
Fri Feb 18 22:37:37 EST 2011

Roy Smith <roy at> writes:

> Whether it's a wiki or the generated output of sphinx/doxygen/etc, HTML 
> provides for a much richer presentation.  Which is more convenient: 
> having the signal(3) man page reference "sigaction(2)" textually, or 
> having it be a clickable link that can take me right there?

My man page browser does exactly that: the reference to another man page
is clickable, bringing me directly to the approrpiate page. If yours
doesn't, perhaps that's what needs to be addressed?

> HTML also gives you much greater formatting flexibility than what's
> still basically 35-year old nroff.

Full agreement there.

> If, for whatever reason, you're still wed to plain text, even info
> gives you much better capabilities than man.

Yet the manual system is reliably installed on any Unix system I'm
likely to encounter. The ‘info’ system is not. Which is my point:
there's one place the documentation is expected to be.

> I'm not saying that help text is the be-all and end-all for
> documentation.

Nor am I making any similar claim for the Unix manual system. But it is
the common baseline which can be relied upon – unless vendors fail to
provide it. Hence the appeal not to do that.

 \      “Every man would like to be God, if it were possible; some few |
  `\          find it difficult to admit the impossibility.” —Bertrand |
_o__)                    Russell, _Power: A New Social Analysis_, 1938 |
Ben Finney

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