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SubjectRe: Kernel Config documentation
Hi Alan, Mark.

On Tue, 13 Oct 1998, Alan Cox wrote:

>> 1) Is there a list of people working on documenting those options. I'd
>> rather not duplicate work, etc.

> Not that I know of. You might want to submit entries to matching
> MAINTAINERS people if there are any first. The file itself has Axel
> Boldt as its primary maintainer. Most of the recent work on it for
> 2.0.x has been from other folk (Stepan Kasal especially)

>> 2) The text for the help seems to come straight from
>> ./Documentation/Configure.help. What are the formatting rules
>> for this file?

>> What delineates one topic from the next and what marks a
>> section as belonging to the option? (Does the CONFIG_ define
>> match the text in the help file?)

> It is (where [ ] is just for clarity)

> [Text of Config.in prompt]
> [CONFIG_WHATEVER]
> [2 spaces]text
> [2 spaces]text
> [2 spaces]text
> [blank line]

> for each entry. And 77 column width maximum (I think thats the
> right magic number). That allows menuconfig room for borders

Memory says 76 columns is the preferred number, but I could easily be
wrong...

I've been looking into modifying the various scripts to auto-format
this text, but have come across too many problems since there are
several types of text to be dealt with:

1. The majority of the text can be regarded as free format, but some
of it is in the form of preformatted tables which need to be
retained.

2. Most of the help texts are written as a single paragraph, and as
a result are extremely hard to understand. However, I can't see
any simple automatic way to break the text up into digestable
paragraphs...

3. Certain paragraphs occur in just about every help block, but with
slightly different phraseology. For reference, here's two such
texts taken from the 2.0.35 helpfile:

From CONFIX_IPX we see:

This driver is also available as a module ( = code which
can be inserted and removed from the running kernel whenever
you want). If you want to compile it as a module, say M here
and read Documentation/modules.txt.

From CONFIG_SCSI_EATA_PIO we see:

If you want to compile this as a module ( = code which can be
inserted in and removed from the running kernel whenever you
want), say M here and read Documentation/modules.txt.

Perhaps somebody could explain the difference in meaning that is
intended, since I can't find any !!!

My preference would be to give the help system enough intelligence
to know that if the option in question allowed an 'M' selection to
be made, it should automagically append the appropriate paragraph
to the end of the help text, rather than have it repeated several
hundred times in the file where it just causes unnecessary bloat.

4. Some paragraphs just don't have a text line before them, others
have a text line that is too long for display, and yet others have
a text line that does not match the option text displayed earlier.
How should these be dealt with?

Personally, I would like to take the header line out of there and
have the config programs use the text from the relevant config.in
file, but that's not up to me...

>> 3) Are there any tools to make this process easier? Is the text read at
>> run-time, or do I need to force a recompile of, say, the
>> lxdialog code?

> Run time

Thankfully...

>> 4) Alan, is it worth doing anything for the 2.0.x kernel at this point?

> If there are any and someone does the work I will take them without
> hesitation. Missing help is a bug in my book.

>> 5) What else do I need to know?

> I think thats it.

One thing I'd like to know is when either 2.0.36 or 2.2.0 (whichever
is chosen) is likely to appear, but that's probably still a trade
secret at this point...

Best wishes from Riley.


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