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Thu, 25 May 2006:

Just got pissed with man pages. The idiotic tool has been pissing me off with a complete inability to scroll to the top or wrap around searches to the top. So I did some digging on how man actually displays the data. Here's a inside view on how the gzipped man pages are displayed on screen and it's an excellent example of the unix way of doing things.

bash$ ps x | grep "/usr/share/man"
....    sh -c (cd /usr/share/man && 
		(echo ".pl 1100i"; /usr/bin/gunzip -c '/usr/share/man/man1/seq.1.gz'; 
		echo ".\\\""; echo ".pl \n(nlu+10") | /usr/bin/gtbl |
		nroff --legacy ISO-8859-1 -man -rLL=77n -rLT=77n 2>/dev/null | 
		/usr/bin/less -iRs)

The man page for man provide yet another peice of the puzzle, where exactly this particular command is pulled from. There's a file called /etc/man.config which specifies where the pager (i.e less, more) command is pulled out of. And the default value was less. Instead of replacing it for the entire system, every user can override it by setting $MANPAGER in their environment. And so I did.

export MANPAGER="col -b | vim -R -c 'set ft=man nomod nolist' -"

Now, everytime I type "man something" I can read the manpage in vim.

blithwapping (v): Using anything but a hammer to drive a nail into a wall

posted at: 20:44 | path: /hacks | permalink | Tags: , ,