[Cialug] Color in Man Pages? What's Wrong With You?

Todd Walton tdwalton at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 15:05:32 UTC 2019

Speaking of the bad ol' days of Linux...

I saw this thing the other day about getting color into manpages.
Sorta like syntax highlighting, I suppose. "Could be interesting" is
my response. Here's a different kind of response from Ingo Schwarze,
maintainer of mandoc:

> It's a little far afield, but some here might be interested in the
> interest in manpages.  mdoc has no color features, leaving folks to
> resort to some pretty brutal techniques.

Huh?  Of course mdoc does have color features.  Just use

  mandoc -Thtml -Ostyle=/some_path/color.css manual.mdoc | lynx -stdin

With the mandoc implementation of man, it shouldn't be difficult
to set up MANPAGER="lynx -force_html",
put "output style /some_path/color.css" into man.conf(5), and tell
the shell "alias man='man -Thtml'".  All of that has been documented
in the obvious manual pages for years: You could use -Ostyle in the
alias before the advent of man.conf(5).

Ah, yes, Remember back when? Real hackers had grey beards and wrote
their own damned text editors because that's the path of joy. If you
want color in your manpages, no problem! Grab yourself a text editor
and source and go to town ya snot-nosed punk.

Full rant here:

To be fair, he was writing on the groff mailing list. Also, he's not a
Linux user, apparently. His OS's mascot has spikes. = ) But the whole
thing made me chuckle.


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