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Re: our broken man package

Fabrizio Polacco <fpolacco@debian.org>:
> > Groff is pretty fast, and most manual pages are short, so it shouldn't
> > take too long even on older hardware.
> but some are soo big. Bash and perl* are good examples.

bash(1) takes 2.4 seconds real time to format on my laptop. On older
hardware, it might take half a minute - which is way too much, I agree,
but not insufferably much if it happens rarely.

> > And, anyway, caching might be done in a cronjob: look at the pages in
> > manpath every night, check which ones have been accessed since the past
> > run, and format those. Then delete anything older than N days in the
> > cache. When displaying, use the cached version only if it is newer than
> > the source.
> Lars, this is exactly the way it works today.

No. What happens now is that man uses set[ug]id trickery to maintain
the cache as it is accessed. This is risky (set[ug]id is always risky),
and my point is that you can achieve almost the same level of caching
without using any set[ug]id stuff. I'm not saying it's good enough,
or that we should do it, but it might be worthwhile to think about it,
at least.

(And if it is true that our man won't work for root, then we _really_
should think about fixing it or swithcing to another one. man is too
important to deny it to be used by root.)

Lars Wirzenius <liw@wapit.com>
Architect, Kannel WAP and SMS Gateway project, Wapit Ltd, http://www.kannel.org

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