Why questions don't get answered, or "No, I've already RTFM, tell me the answer!"

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Fri Dec 30 16:29:52 UTC 2005

On Fri, 2005-12-30 at 05:21, Gene Heskett wrote:
> >
> >Often the man pages have examples of the way the author expected
> >the program to be used.  However, there's still a good chance
> >that isn't exactly what you want to do with it.
> I submit to you all the manpages for bash.
> Paragraph after paragraph of explanation of this option and that option 
> in a quite verbose manner, and not a single actual example of a 
> command line, and the results it should return.

Bash is kind of unusual because it is normally the 'calling'
program, not the one being executed on a command line - or if
you do execute it intentionally as a command the purpose is
to start some other program in a subshell.  What you need
to know about bash is what it does to your command lines
(splitting on IFS, expanding variables and wildcard filenames,
redirection i/o etc.) before starting any other program.
What those other programs do or return is their own business
but they probably are the real reason you are issuing a
shell command.

> That makes writing 
> even a 10 line bash script into an extended reading and re-reading 
> session with heavy use of the manpages builtin grep because its so 
> poorly organized that the complete answer may be in 3 or more places 
> scattered through it.

That 10 line bash script might execute 20 different external
commands, none of which the bash author anticipated.  That's
why the system is powerful - whenever anyone adds a new tool
you are able to combine it's operations with all the others
but it also makes it impossible to document all the possibilities.

  Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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