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Re: /usr/share/doc...

On Tue, Apr 22, 2003 at 11:06:07AM -0500, Michael Kahle wrote:
> I was looking at some of the gzip'd documentation in /usr/share/doc/exim
> today and I got to wondering...  When I want to view the documentation, I
> would always change to root, then uncompress the file, read it, and then
> re-compress it.  Am I making this too difficult?  Is there another utility
> that I should be using to browse this documentation so that I don't have to
> go through all of these steps every time? 

Well, `zcat' is your first optimization. (`man 1 zcat'). But I in fact
would also like to hear thoughts on this, because I find that looking
through the non-html documentation provided in /usr/share/doc is in fact
very clumsy and laborious. First you have to find a file that looks
interesting, then note whether it is compressed or not (most often they
are but sometimes they are not, it varies by package) so as to choose
which utility to use, then if it is 'zcat'-able, append pipe-less
('|less') to the command ... the whole thing gets really tiresome *when
contrasted with* a simple `[p]info' or `man' invocation. When one is
fresh and rested, no biggie. How many Debian users are fresh and
well-rested ... EVER? Especially when looking through that repository of
documentation in order to solve problems with system configuration, say,
shortly after or during main system setup time?

It is just enough to provide negative impetus to always "RTFM". And
that's a problem because then you are left with the impulse to ask (say,
about some aspect of 'ssh' ... just for example) on a Mailing List,
like, say, Debian-User (I've heard about that one somewhere...). And the
experts get annoyed.

I think there is a better way that I don't know about (but hopefully in
a few minutes I will) but (like woefully too many important things) it
isn't sufficiently well-publicized, if there is such a "better way".

I am of the mind, to start off with, that one ought to be able to speed
things along with a little shell magic. Say, pipe every plain-text and
gzip-compressed text file in a dir ("/usr/share/doc/blowchunks") through
'less', in succession, using 'file' to determine which 'cat' to employ?

I'll write it and post it if i haven't heard about an existing wheel of
this kind in the next little while.


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