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Re: Lintian and manpage for X app

On Sun, 29 Aug 1999, Stephen R. Gore wrote:

> I'm trying to build a package of an X app (sclient), and it doesn't
> have or need a man page (no command line arguments and a GUI help
> system).

It _does_ need a man page!  Every program needs a man page, because
otherwise nobody knows what the program does before starting it (and
it's a bad idea to start programs, where you don't know what they do).
So if there isn't a man page in the upstream source, simply write one
yourself.  If the program doesn't have command line arguments, it may
be enough if the man page only gives only a description what the
program does.

> I've enabled dh_undocumented in debian/rules.  Lintian still
> barfs with:
> 	E: sclient: binary-without-manpage sclient

> Is this acceptable/normal?

undocumented.7 isn't a real man page but only an indicator, that the
man page is missing.  See policy section 6.1 for this:

     If no manual page is available for a particular program, utility or
     function and this is reported as a bug on debian-bugs, a symbolic link
     from the requested manual page to the undocumented(7) manual page
     should be provided. This symbolic link can be created from
     `debian/rules' like this:

        ln -s ../man7/undocumented.7.gz \

     This manpage claims that the lack of a manpage has been reported as a
     bug, so you may only do this if it really has (you can report it
     yourself, if you like). Do not close the bug report until a proper
     manpage is available.

So you should only create the undocumented.7 symlink if a bug
according to the missing man page is reported as a bug.

> Does a GUI app that uses GUI help need a man page regardless?

Yes it does.
How should I find out what sclient does, without reading the man page?
And don't forget that a real man page is needed to make the apropos
command useful.



 * roland@spinnaker.de * http://www.spinnaker.de/ *
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