Re: RPM

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On Wed, 2007-10-31 at 08:07 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> Andrew Kelly wrote:
> > On Tue, 2007-10-30 at 15:13 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> >> Dave Burns wrote:
> >>
> >>> On 10/30/07, Karl Larsen <[email protected]> wrote:
> >>>>     I printed out Maximum RPM in 1997 and I refer to it often. I was
> >>>> told today to use:
> >>>>
> >>>>     # rpm -q --whatprovides (complete direction to a file) and it did
> >>>> provide the name of the file that provides /etc/rc.d/init.d/nvideo.
> >>>>
> >>>>     Then just now I got to page 51 and there it listed this capability.
> >>>> I have had this capability for 8 years but didn't know it...
> >>>> :-)
> >> If you learn to read man pages you don't need so many books.  They are a 
> >> lot faster to read, too.
> > 
> > But a lot less convenient on the bus (train, plane, toilet, in the park
> > near the lake, on the couch during commercials, in the waiting room at
> > the doctor's office, etc and so forth). And they just aren't as bloody
> > "sexy" as a nicely printed book, are they? :-)
> 
> If you carry a laptop, you can have them all much more portably than a 
> big stack of paper books and easier to search.

I do carry a laptop. It doesn't like sand or spilled beer very much. And
it's heavy. And.... aw heck, I'm not going to get into the paper vs
needs-a-battery fight. Each side has their preferences; each option has
its merits.

> 
> > 
> > And, as this list and certain of its members have indeed quite recently
> > shown, not every man page is written in a way that Joe Lunchbox can
> > readily assimilate. Heck, let's be blunt here. Some of them are
> > remarkably poorly written.
> 
> That's why I said 'learn to read' them. It wasn't an insult - it isn't 
> easy.  They all assume that you already know everything the shell will 
> do to your commands before the program in question even starts; many 
> assume you already know what a lot of other man pages say.  But once you 
> do know those things you don't want to read them again every time.
> 
> > That said, I'm not in complete disagreement with you, Les. RTFM is even
> > today completely apropos and should be the mantra of everybody who's
> > chosen to be part of the Linux experience. But don't knock a book,
> > Maestro. It kind of pisses us scribblers off.
> 
> Tutorial styles are OK but you only need them once.  After you know 
> _what_ a program does you want a concise reference instead.  

You mean like the "in a nutshell" series? Or even better, the "pocket
reference"?

> Books 
> should split the sections so you don't have to wade through pages and 
> pages of tutorial when all you want to find is one option setting.

Good ones do. Have a scan at O'Reilly's "Programming Perl".

> 
> > Andy
> > 
> > (Every try to loan a great man page to a friend?)
> 
> Better to be even more concise there and give them the one line command 
> they are looking for.

Again, this list and "one or more of its members" have proven that to be
often less than the best choice.
But we're digressing.

A man page isn't better than a book.
A book isn't better than a man page.

They both have their niches, and they both are sound resources excepting
the obvious caveats.

The only other comment I'd make on the topic of "dead trees" vs "needs
batteries" would be, every IT reference work should be sold with an
accompanying electronic version. Yes, I prefer a proper, paper book. But
Yes, I very often want to grep the things.

Andy


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