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Re: doc-base is hugely unloved; bug mass-filing needed?

On Sun, Aug 08, 2010 at 11:37:07AM -0700, Ian Zimmerman wrote:

> Steve> non-desktop systems, I don't think we install a doc-base browser
> Steve> by default, and I have never seen a text-mode browser for
> Steve> doc-base documentation that I found worth using because browsing
> Steve> to /usr/share/doc/$package is always quicker.  Unless you find a
> Steve> way to make doc-base compelling enough that developers will
> Steve> actually dogfood it when they want documentation, I think package
> Steve> coverage here is always going to be rather poor.

> X11 != GNOME, hence !GNOME != text.

I don't see why you think that's relevant.  A GUI documentation browser that
doesn't integrate with my desktop isn't interesting to me, and definitely
doesn't help users who aren't suing a GUI at all.

> dwww and dhelp.  I use dwww all the time.  Browsing /doc directly only
> works when you already know the target package, which I don't, most of
> the time.

I had to think about this for a moment to appreciate why this might be the
case, since by now I'm quite used to thinking of Linux-desktops as a
self-administered creature; but I can see that in the enterprise or academia
where the admin is not the user, it's important to give users access to
documentation without knowing the package names, and this is also an issue
for documentation of core packages that the admin wouldn't have installed

But again, as Thomas points out, you can address this use case with much
less per-package effort.  A centralized ten-line shell script would be
enough to locate all the installed packages on the system that ship files
under /usr/share/doc not matching the pattern
{copyright,NEWS*,changelog*,README*} and grab the short description of the
responsible package.  If you want to be really clever, some introspection of
html documents could give you document titles.  Then you only need to worry
about the minority of cases where autodetection fails.

> PS.: I am not subscribed to the list, so please Cc me on replies.  Is
> Mail-Copies-To another good idea that has fallen by the wayside? :-(

I think you want Mail-Followup-To, which is actually implemented by a fair
number of mailers.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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