[nSLUG] pet peeves

Bill Davidson bdavidso at supercity.ns.ca
Tue Jun 27 10:20:52 ADT 2006


On Tue, 2006-27-06 at 09:45 -0300, D G Teed wrote:
> [well-reasoned rant about info]

I agree that for simple commands a man page is better, especially for a
quick lookup of command line options.  And yes, I hate man pages that
just refer one to the info pages -- there should always be at least a
synopsis of options.

I also agree that for more complete documentation html is a good option,
and that is why there are tools to convert info to html.  But what you
need to remember is that the info hypertext format actually predates
html, ad on a text console I would rather use info that any text-based
browser I have ever used.  And if you want a printed manual info does a
very good job, whereas html generally looks like crap when printed.

While you are correct that the info interface is complex, I have always
managed with just a couple of commands: m(enu), l(ast), u(p),
b(eginning), and once in a while f(ollow) and d(ir).  I have almost
never used the search capability, but that may be because most info docs
have good indexes.

Using your example about tar, "info tar" -> "tar invocation" -> "All
Options" -> "Short Option Summary" ; admittedly a bit more cumbersome
than "man tar", but not bad for a long, thorough, complete,
well-organized manual.

An excellent example of the usefulness of info is the GNU Radius manual.
This is a book-length document, and because it is written in texinfo
info it is available as info pages, web pages (all one web page, one web
page per chapter, one web page per "node"), formatted ASCII text, dvi,
postscript, pdf, texinfo source, and a printed book.  (Oh, and there are
man pages for the commands for when you don't need the full meal deal,
which I guess is your point...)

Bill Davidson
bdavidso at supercity.ns.ca


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