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Re: General complaint about GNU's preference for "info" versus "man"

From: Torsten Bronger
Subject: Re: General complaint about GNU's preference for "info" versus "man"
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 10:56:09 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)


Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

>> From: Torsten Bronger <address@hidden>
>> Date: Sat, 22 Apr 2006 16:55:01 +0200
>>> Guys, you are reinventing the wheel: there is already a
>>> centralized place to describe all the advertised options: the
>>> Invocation node of the Texinfo manual.
>> That's right by and large, but it's not that simple in my opinion.
>> The structure of a Texinfo file is not as strict as that of a
>> manpage.
> [...]
>> Some Info documents don't have an Invocation node
> Which ones?  The GNU coding standards _require_ each manual to
> have such a node, [...]

Probably the GNU coding standards are not as well-known as the
structure of manpages.  In my opinion this should be said in the
documentation of the Texinfo file format.

> [...]
>> or it is buried as a subnode.
> Why is this detail important?  "info --usage" finds it anyway, in
> most cases.

Okay, here's my unfair pseudo-analysis of "info --usage".  I have to
admit that I didn't know this option.  But:

"info --usage info" is equivalent to "man 5 info" rather than "man
info".  This is not what most users will be looking for.  Eventually
one reads that one has to type "h".  Additionally, I didn't find the
path to info's command line options, at least not without going via
the "dir" file.

GCC and CVS simply show the manpage.

"info --usage gnuplot" got me to Gnuplot's command options which is
neither the command list itself nor the command line options list.
Non-GNU projects don't have to obey to the GCS.  Apparently it is
just a node that contains "option" in its name.  (Not that Gnuplot
has a particularly good manpage though.)

"info --usage makeinfo" takes me to "Running `makeinfo' from a
Shell".  However, the following node would be much more useful.

Honest, these were the very first five examples I tested with "info
--usage".  No doubt that further tests would show much better
results, however, I don't think that this is a real substitute for

Additionially, as I already said in a follow-up to Stepan, it's not
only about command-line options.  I like the "description", "files",
and "environment" sections in manpages as well.  For example, where
is the configuration file?  In $HOME, /usr/etc, or somewhere below
/var?  A manpage tells you under "FILES".


Torsten Bronger, aquisgrana, europa vetus            ICQ 264-296-646

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