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[20091007] man(1) can handle *roff files, now
What, *roff - never heared of? You should - it's the formatting language that predates HTML and TeX for some many years, and which all *nix manpages are written in:
% cat /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1
...
.Dd September 25, 2008
.Dt LS 1
.Os
.Sh NAME
.Nm ls
.Nd list directory contents
.Sh SYNOPSIS
.Nm
.Op Fl AaBbCcdFfghikLlmnopqRrSsTtuWwx1
.Op Ar
...
There are many formatting commands, all starting with a dot as first character, and the various commands are grouped in so-called macro packages. Example files in the old-school "man" format and the newer "mandoc" format can be found in man(7) and mdoc(7) manpages on any NetBSD installation, templates can be found in /usr/share/misc/man.template and .../mdoc.template. And in /usr/share/man. :-)

Now, with the new change to man(1), you can simply type "man /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1" and the formatted manpage will be shown, just like it always did for "man ls". The fine difference is that the latter command really just shows you a preformatted file (from /usr/share/man/cat1), while the former now really formats the given file on the fly, and shows you the result.

Before the new change to man(1), you had to run the formatting tool with the right set of parameters for macro packages and possibly other options manually. Usually, the command is something like

	nroff -mandoc /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1 | more 
for terminal output. NetBSD's "nroff" command is really from the GNU *roff utilities, and using groff(1) it is also possible to produce PostScript output for pretty-printing:
	groff -Tps -mandoc /usr/share/man/man1/ls.1 >ls.ps
	lp -dPS ls.ps 
There are more options when running nroff(1)/groff(1), plus manpages can be stored in compressed format, see /etc/man.conf for some ideas. All this is now hidden behind an easy run of man(1).

For a more in-depth introduction of the Unix documentation tools (and many more things!), I recommend reading Kernighan/Pike's Unix Programming Environment.

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