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

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: General complaint about GNU's preference for "info" versus "man"
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 22:34:00 +0300

> Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 10:31:41 +0200
> From: Stepan Kasal <address@hidden>
> Well, I might consider alias man="info --usage".

Yes, if typing is the problem, then an alias is the solution.

(I actually have an Info reader running all the time in a separate
window, and reach the Invocation nodes from within it, so I have much
less, only a single letter, to type. ;-)

> I just found out that instead of "man 5 printcap" one would have to
> type "man 'printcap(5)'"; that's actually better than the original
> notation.

Right.  And don't forget the benefit of RET-sensitive "SEE ALSO"

> But how do I replace ``man -a''?

You can't: Info disallows identically named entries in a menu (it will
find only one of them, the closest to the cursor when you type the
menu entry's name).  So with Info, you simply _cannot_ have several
top-level entries with identical names.

If you want the equivalent of ``man -a'' with only for subjects that
have man-page documentation, then I'd suggest a shell script that
loops for all known section names and tries to invoke "info FOO(x)".

> Could I implement a nightly cron which updates dir according to
> present manpages?

This won't help, due to the above-mentioned limitation of Info (unless
someone submits patches to lift it).

> 1) the source for ``man'' should be maintained as part of the texinfo
> manual, to make sure that it is consistent.

I don't think this is possible, unfortunately, since I'm not aware of
a version of `man' that is Free Software in the GNU Project sense
(unless someone takes the clone I once wrote and develops it into
something more respectable ;-).

> And I'm afraid that a good manpage is not the same as --usage.

If that is so, we should work with RMS to change the GNU coding
standards so as to improve what --usage displays.

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