[TUHS] Project Idea: The UNIX Programmer's Manual: Heritage Edition

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Thu Sep 21 00:57:01 AEST 2023

On Wed, Sep 20, 2023, 2:30 AM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:

> > > I'd start with groff.
> > >
> > > So I'm a little off topic but if people wanted to work on that, I'd be
> > > up for that project. It's not as big as what you are saying but it's
> > > pretty big, I think we just start with something, see if we can get
> > > debian/ubuntu to pick it up, lather, rinse repeat. In fact if we
> > > just get the groff project to pick up our stuff, all the distros will
> > > get that eventually.
> > >
> > > --
> > > ---
> > > Larry McVoy Retired to fishing http://www.mcvoy.com/lm/boat
> >
> >
> > That's an excellent point, the beauty of UNIX being a granular system is
> that such an effort wouldn't need to be a "start at page 1 and finish at
> page whatever", but could be done piecemeal. Groff would also be a great
> candidate due to the preponderance of supporting secondary papers, like the
> NROFF/TROFF manual, different macro definitions, etc. That does then get
> into the prospect of the secondary papers too, likewise excellent
> references to this day on a number of subjects that I personally would love
> to have modernized versions of.
> >
> > Well if anyone catches wind of such a project kicking off in some way
> elsewhere, know that I'm certainly interested in what I can contribute.
> What my work towards this eventual goal will probably continue to look like
> for now though is just doing my diff analysis of manual versions, as one of
> my principle goals there was to identify the apparent last common ancestor
> of Research, PWB, and BSD lineages, at least as far as documentation is
> concerned. Common sense would just say research V7 but there are little
> tidbits here and there between V6 and V7 that don't show up in other
> places, just tiny little nuanced things for the most part. I haven't done
> this part of the analysis at all but a causal glance at a 32V manual diffed
> with a V7 manual reveals some changes that don't appear to be related to
> the portability work. But I'm not going to comment on that further without
> analysis to back it up, just some anecdotal observations at present.
> >
> > > Why (and when) did GNU drop the HISTORY section from its man pages?
> > >
> > > Adam
> >
> >
> > Did GNU ever have a HISTORY section? I just plucked a couple books off
> the shelf, I don't see HISTORY in the V10, 4.4BSD, or SVR4 books, so
> probably a later invention in the BSD line that didn't get picked up by
> other UNIX-likes? Looking at a few illumos manpages, they also don't appear
> to have a HISTORY section. They appear to be there on macOS, probably as a
> result of the FreeBSD origins of macOS user space. That said, I also
> appreciate the HISTORY section, it's tipped me off to things to study that
> I didn't know on a few occasions.
> >
> > - Matt G.
> Sorry for the double bump, don't want to lie, just found a few pages in
> the 4.4BSD manual with a HISTORY section.  Checked the same pages in V10,
> SVR4, and 4.3BSD, no dice, so maybe 4.4BSD at the earliest?  Of course I
> could just grep this but where's the fun in that (and I'm not at a computer
> I have a UNIX tree on right now...)

4.4BSD almost certainly had some history. All the current BSDs have a
HISTORY section for many of their pages. And we are busy borrowing each
other's primary research for them... though it a man page, not a treatis on
the evolution of signals since V7. Nor do the vast majority of command line
flags have mention. Those that do are either 4BSD vs System V or XXXBSD vs
Linux (and maybe a few FooBSD vs BarBSD, but those are rare).


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