Lazy Reading for 2012/01/15

Getting back into the rhythm, here…

Your unrelated comics link of the week: there’s a Freddy, and a dragonfly, but it’s not DragonFly BSD.  It’s still fun though.


4 Replies to “Lazy Reading for 2012/01/15”

  1. From the tar(1) manpage on my Ubuntu computer (which, I imagine, takes it from Debian):

    The GNU folks, in general, abhor man pages, and create info documents
    instead. Unfortunately, the info document describing tar is licensed
    under the GFDL with invariant cover texts, which makes it impossible to
    include any text from that document in this man page. Most of the text
    in this document was automatically extracted from the usage text in the
    source. It may not completely describe all features of the program.

  2. Have info pages been useful for anyone, ever? I’ve never seen them referenced or quoted or used, other than included in packages.

  3. Indeed, info pages never caught on outside the GNU project. The main problems with info pages, it seems to me, are (1) they’re too long and (2) they’re too non-intuitive to navigate: most people don’t want to learn an entire set of new keyboard commands just to get help. And, recognising this, most unix systems / linux distros include manpages anyway, which are “good enough”. Most people consult manpages just for a quick reminder, scroll down and eyeball (or search with /) until you find what you want. Info actually slows that process down.

  4. A _lot_ of distributions leave info pages uninstalled so that “info foo” gives the exact same page as “man foo”. But I was very pleasantly surprised when I hit the info page for bash (short pages! navigable links!), as I had searched through the overlong man page (I think comes close to a hundred pages if printed out) for a bit of syntax dozens of times before, and that was hell.

Comments are closed.