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Re: Removing the manpage requirement for GUI programs?

On 5 March 2010 17:46, Yves-Alexis Perez <corsac@debian.org> wrote:

> Le 27/02/2010 22:11, markus schnalke a écrit :
>> Man pages have one more important advantage: Every command has one.
> Which is not true, and the point of the discussion.

I think it should have read:
They (should) provide a uniform way to access documentation.
Of course, we could try to force on every program a sensible behaviour
WRT -h and --help switches, but it looks way harder to me than provide
an eventually minimal man page to every program.
I am not aware of any other help system that has this property (well,
maybe GNU info aims to be the one, but it's even less universal than
I reckon this uniformity is very valuable, and should not be easily
discarded as an outdated legacy for GUI programs.

> Just speaking for myself, but I *first* run app --help to get some quick
> help, and only if I need more specific information I run the about/help
> menu item, or the manpage in case of a command line application.

--help always works with  GTK stuff (and I thank GTK for that), but
it's not universal.
some application use -h; except, for instance, cfdisk takes -h as a
switch to set the number of heads, and a confused user could be lead
to do stupid things by that (ok, this is streched, but I'm sure there
are quite a few other traps like this on a common debian installation)
Many programs don't have an help switch; usually they have a manual
page, but the user is forced to roam around several sources of
information before he gets help.
So, it's not that man pages are good because they are man pages, but
because they seem the most plausible candidate to be a uniform and
universal source of information about installed programs.
If less important, is something similar to what we do by packaging
programs: packaging is quite a huge effort, couldn't we let users
compile their programs or use binary installers? But aptitude is what
made me fall in love with debian, and I think I'm not the only one. If
I need a program, 99 percent of the times I just have to fire aptitude
and search it (or even search debtags if I only know what I need and
not which program provides it! how cool is that?).
This is wonderful.
It'd be even more wonderful if we could have something similar for



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