"Whoever invented GNU info should be shot"

Overheard on IRC and strong agree

@sir It dates from approximately the same five minute interval in. which the WWW was born. Info should simply cede to WWW & HTML IMO.

And stop fucking deprecating manpages.

@dredmorbius @sir info is great for people who think Gopher is a discoverable protocol.

Also not sure how but I'm pretty sure info can have even less information in it than man pages and now my brain hurts.

@craigmaloney @dredmorbius @sir I can't navigate any large manpages. And *roff is a horror.
Most importantly, where there is info, there are also the other formats, generated from the same .texi files.

@amiloradovsky@functional.cafeManpages serve a specific function: a command (or library or file) reference. Info ... doesn't serve that role.

Manpages are independent of reader. Info is tied directly to the info reader.

Manpages can *also* be rendered into multiple formats. 'man -Tps' for postcript output, ps2pdf will get you the obvious.

Debian's dwww delivers all of this (and more) over a web interface locally or (if you chose) remotely.

@craigmaloney @sir

@dredmorbius @craigmaloney @sir First paragraph is speculative. Also, man bash etc. are unreadable, IMO.

Texinfo may output multiple formats, info is just one of them, so it isn't "tied". There's also help2man…

Sure there may be even better alternatives than Texinfo these days, but manpages are the worst.

@amiloradovsky At the shell, rather than read info in either the user's defined $PAGER *or* a standard hypertext reader, THE DEFAULT ACTION is to use a reader _which is used for info and only for info_.

Which means its navigation is utterly foreign.

Again: dropping that for HTML and and HTML-capable reader (e.g., any GUI or console web browser) would be a win.

Info is an alternate, special-purpose, single-use hypertext format. It really should die.

@craigmaloney @sir

@dredmorbius @craigmaloney @sir I'm advocating for info(1), because I'm now a long-term'ish #Emacs user, and have no problem reading info pages, often do it right in Emacs.
Yet, I can't stand long man-pages, where there should be a proper ToC and hyperlinks, but aren't… *they* should die.
I'm also pretty happy with the static (X)HTML, generated from the same #Texinfo sources.
And e.g. coreutils have their man-pages generated with help2man from .texi's, no?

@amiloradovsky An awful lot of manpages for GNU utilities are actually provided by Debian, which has a (non-release-critical) requirement that *all* system executables have a manpage.

They don't quite manage that, but *most* do, and they're generally better than the help2man stuff, though occasionally that's all you get.

There are tools (ImageMagick comes to mind) for which the manpages are entirely deficient.

MacOS also quite routinely has abysmal manpages.

@craigmaloney @sir

@dredmorbius @craigmaloney @sir Man-pages, let's just not? — If we dislike info(1) or Texinfo altogether so much, may we just neglect both, and not backtrack to the man-pages as the sole/primary source of the technical documentation?

@amiloradovsky I will die on the manpages hill, and am getting tired of reiterating how and why.

You're also misunderstanding or misrepresenting my argument. I've explicitly stated that manpages SHOULD have supplemental documentation, and do.

I was going to add to the thread: Debian offers manpages, texinfo, HOWTOs, RFCs, Linux Gazette (when it existed), and substantial other docs (the tetex docs, in PDF, come to mind).

All through dwww:


@craigmaloney @sir

@dredmorbius @craigmaloney @sir TBH, I didn't manage to extract much of specific information from your reiterated arguments, they seem to be mostly a rant.
Nevertheless, I'll keep you in mind, and try to keep the man-pages output available and in a good shape.

I'm not a huge fan of Debian, but still, thanks for the link, I'll look into what DWWW has to offer.

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