[tex-live] Environment variables for "texdoc"

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Mar 27 01:36:29 CET 2011

On 2011-03-26 at 21:41:33 +0100, Rolf Niepraschk wrote:

 > The help text of "texdoc"
 >    texdoc --help
 > contains the line
 > Is this correct? I suppose it should be `PDFVIEWER_texdoc' and so on.

If I understand the manual page correctly, it's correct.

The variables mentioned in the help message are variables which
presumably exist on your system already.  The manual tells you how to
override them.

Suppose you've set BROWSER=firefox on your system.  Then texdoc would
launch firefox whenever you ask for non-existent documentation.
texdoc directs you to the TeX Catalogue, which is an HTML file.

You certainly want to set

  BROWSER_texdoc='lynx %s'

in order to avoid Firefox whenever possible.

Lynx supports HTML and displays catalogue entries properly and is fast.

Firefox is quite clumsy, it takes an enormous amout of time to start
up, and it finally tells you that it doesn't know what to do with HTML
files.  Other GUI web browsers aren't much better.

Here is the most braindead error message I've ever seen:

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texdoc looks for the default web browser on your system (BROWSER) but
allows you to select a more reasonable one for texdoc (BROWSER_texdoc).  
I think this behavior is correct.

After all, texdoc --help contains the line:

  Manual: displayed by `texdoc texdoc'.

IMO the lines

  Files: <texmf>/texdoc/texdoc.cnf, see output of the --files option.

are not necessary in the help message.  It's sufficient to provide a
link to the manual page where those things are explained in detail.

I don't regard a help message as a replacement for a manual page.


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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