Tuesday, June 03, 2008

They're called "man pages" Red Hat, use them

I like Linux systems. Given a choice, they're what I use for computers. Sometimes though, I'd like to get to make the rules... Here's the first one I'd probably make (and I'm looking at YOU Red Hat)!

If you install a program in /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, or /usr/sbin it had better have a man page.

Otherwise, I'm gonna be stuck doing things like this...

man virt-install

rpm -qf `which virt-install`

rpm -qd `python-virtinst` # I sorta doubt anybody ever guessed this one right.

Discover that I should have just gone to google because there is precisely zero useful-to-a-sysad (or a programmer pretending to be a sysad) documentation included with the package.

Even a lousy man page is better than none at all.

I almost don't care if the man page is just a template that lists the usage output the command itself prints out. At least then I don't need to guess at what the option to get the help information is. Is it -h or -H or --help or -help, or -u or -U or --usage or --Usage? Does one of those wipe my boot partition or add an account named 'sage' to my system, or who knows what -- just randomly running commands is stupid.


Oh, and one other thing Red Hat... If virtualization is so important, why on earth is it so poorly documented in RHEL5?

There is no closing rant tag since I highly doubt that this will ever be fixed. Maybe if I were to write the man pages myself for all of the gnome-* and system-* utilities then they'd actually exist. I'm pretty sure I'm not that ambitious. *sigh*

1 comment:

Perry said...

So... Yes, it looks like RHEL5.1 had missing man pages specifically for virt-install and virt-manager. RHEL5.2 should have the man pages in place now, and man pages for these tools are available in Fedora 8 and 9.