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"Author" section of manpages

Something I've noticed on several occasions is that there seem to be people
"out there" who have differing interpretations of what the "Author" section
of a manpage should be used for.

I've always been under the impression that in the absence of any explicit
indication to the contrary, those mentioned in this section should be the
authors of the program or package in question rather than the authors of
the manpage.

There seem to be quite a few cases of packages in Debian where this section
is used in such a way that the (mistaken) impression that the persons listed
deserve credit for the software in question rather than "just" the manpage.

I would suggest that someone propose an amendment to policy to clarify how
this section should be used - i.e. that only persons deserving of credit
for the software itself should be listed without further qualification.

So, you could say "Author: Fred Bloggs" iff Fred Bloggs wrote the software.
If Fred Bloggs only wrote the manual page, it should say at the very least
"Author: Fred Bloggs wrote this manpage" or (preferably) "Author: Joe Schmoe
wrote the program, Fred Bloggs wrote the manpage".

Otherwise it seems to me that credit is (probably accidentally) being diverted
from those to whom it is due.

I would propose such an amendment myself, were I actually a Debian Developer.

[hint: I'm actually looking for a mentor/advocate at the moment so that,
to paraphrase Branden, I can stop being an "armchair maintainer" and actually
get off my arse and do something useful...]



Nick Phillips -- nwp@lemon-computing.com
Today's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why.
		-- Hunter S. Thompson

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