Announcing the Ubuntu Manpage Repository

Dotan Cohen dotancohen at
Mon Sep 8 09:12:44 BST 2008

2008/9/8 Dustin Kirkland <kirkland at>:
> The page, lists several similar
> efforts to  Most of these are familiar to me:
>  *
>  *
>  *
>  *
>  *
>  *
>  *

That's why I don't think that there is need for _yet_ _another_.

> I believe that is more useful specifically to
> Ubuntu users than any of the above sites for several reasons:
>  * each page is its own HTML (ie, not CGI-generated), so it can be
> indexed by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines

Google can index cgi-generated content just as well as your web
browser can read it. HTML is HTML no matter in what format the
original data was stored or who (human or perl) wrote it.

>  * it also provides the compressed, original gzip'd manpage, such that
> man can be extended to download manpages directly from the web using
> wget or curl

I can see a benefit to that.

>  * it has the "Ubuntu look and feel", like our other documentation
> sites, such as and

This seems like the main advantage. Additionally, people googleing
"mplayer ubuntu" will now have an official page with mplayer in the
title and ubuntu in the URL, which will rank higher than the 10^9
repetitive useless blogs.

>  * it is entirely free of advertisements and commercials

So are the resources on tldp.

>  * it contains the precise revision of each manpage as found in the
> various Ubuntu releases

If you maintain it properly. In my experience with Linux
documentation, this is rarely the case. If fact, if you can pull this
off consistently for a few years, then you will be king of the docs
and you will find that devs will write specifically for Ubuntu. I know
that large software houses (LabView as a recent example that I've
worked with) currently support SUSE and RedHat but not Ubuntu because
of the documentation. It's not an issue of deb vs rpm as many people
like to make it seem to be.

>  * there are some subtle (and no so subtle) differences between Ubuntu
> manpages and core utilities from other Debian, Red Hat, SuSE, et al.
> distributions

And my Ubuntu machine (stock 8.04 Kubuntu install) currently has the
Debian manpages, because no one ever pays attention to that.

> In terms of contribution, all of the source code necessary to generate
> the repository is available under the GPLv3 in a project on Launchpad,
> and I welcome extensions of the work:
>  *

This adds exactly zero benefit to anyone but google spammers at this stage.

> As for direct contribution to The Linux Documentation Project, I'm not
> sure I understand your suggestion.

I will rephrase it:
Do not invest your time duplicating efforts, instead invest your time
contributing to existing projects.

Dotan Cohen


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