What use are these (rpm) entries in 'man'?

Mikkel L. Ellertson mikkel at infinity-ltd.com
Fri Nov 2 15:57:57 UTC 2007

Chris G wrote:
> OK, maybe, but it would be *much* more useful if one was pointed at
> some information about the thing in question, e.g. 'man -k yelp' tells
> me:-
>     yelp                (rpm) - A system documentation reader from the Gnome project
> but doesn't give me a clue as to how to find out anything else.  The
> whole point of 'man -k' or 'apropos' is surely to point at the place
> where you can find out more about they keyword you have entered.
Sure it provides a clue - not much more then a clue, but none of the
entries produces by man -k give you more then a clue. For example,

xlsclients           (1x)  - list client applications running on a

does not tell you to run man xlsclients. For some searches, you will
get more then one result. You are expected to know how to view the
reverent one(s). Try running "apropos printf" for example. Do you
want the shell builtin, the command, or the C command? Do you want
the 1 or 1p version?

Few cli programs lead you by the hand. There is a certain amount of
knowledge expected of people using the cli - that is why the
learning curve is rather high.

When I see (rpm) instead of (n), I know I can get more information
using rpm instead of man. For example, running "rpm -qi yelp" will
usually get you a longer description of yelp. Running "rpm -qd yelp"
will produce a list of the doc files.

Now, it would be nice if the man page for apropos was updated to
include a description of what (rpm) means, and how to use rpm to get
more information. Having a man page for every command would be even
better. Having complete documentation in /usr/share/doc/<package>
would also be nice. But most programmers do not like to write
documentation, and even when they do it isn't always understandable
by non-programmers. Because of this, people that understand the
programs, and have the skill to write understandable documentation
are needed. But they need to meet both requirements. Incorrect
documentation is worth then no documentation. You have to make sure
you understand the program before trying to write documentation for
it. (I have written man pages and others with better writing skills
have improved them.)


  Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons,
for thou art crunchy and taste good with Ketchup!

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
URL: <http://listman.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/attachments/20071102/bb39ad83/attachment-0001.sig>

More information about the fedora-list mailing list