[ntp:hackers] Re: magnitudes for ntpq variables

Paul Vixie paul at vix.com
Fri Mar 31 17:13:45 UTC 2006

the dominant OS vendors are apple and microsoft, and just as neither has an
interest in making it easy to share code between their platform and other
platforms, neither has any interest in making it easy to share documentation
between their platform and other platforms.

to understand why this matters, consider UNIX, among whose stated goals was
to make it easy to share code and documentation between itself and other
platforms.  the result of UNIX's openness and cooperation is that it stopped
being a dominant platform.  it was out-competed by the proprietary folks.

(note-- arguments saying that linux is the new UNIX and that linux is somehow
dominant would not be welcomed by me on this thread, since we already know
that at least one person here doesn't want a UNIX-friendly format, and we
also know that there are a bazillion incompatible linux-friendly formats.)

for those of us who still work in 80-column terminal windows, PDF and HTML
are too cumbersome.  i want to be able to conceive a question that requires
reference to the documentation, ask that question, view that answer, all
without reaching for a mouse.  sort of like VMS "HELP" used to let me do.
GNU "INFO" is almost adequate, though it wants to move my cursor around and
make me type a lot more than the "more" command would do.  HTML is barely
tolerable, given the startup and shutdown costs of ascii-mode web browsers.

man pages are my ideal format.  everybody here will have their own ideal
format.  all of them are right, all of them are wrong.  let's stop arguing
about which one is best.

todd made a suggestion which deserves a second listen.  write the docs in a
format that is transformable into all the various formats folks could want
to read it in.  DocBook is one such.  note that DocBook is horrid, and that
the only things worse than DocBook are "everything else".  but there are
tools to make DocBook into INFO, manpage, HTML, and PDF.  (just not VMS HELP.)

we have to de-couple "what we use to read it" and "what we use to write it"
or we're just not going to make useful progress.

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