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GNU Texinfo 5.0 Released

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the aged-to-perfection dept.

GNU is Not Unix 173

Four years after the last release, version 5.0 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation language, has been released. The primary highlight is a new implementation of makeinfo info in Perl rather than C. Although slower, the new version offers several advantages: cleaner code using a structured representation of the input document, Unicode support, and saner support for multiple output backends. There are over a dozen other improvements including better formatting of URLs, improved cross-manual references, and a program to convert Perl POD documentation to Texinfo.

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Will an end user notice this speed degradation? (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931259)

Although slower, the new version offers several advantages: cleaner code using a structured representation of the input document, Unicode support, and saner support for multiple output backends. (emphasis mine).

Whether a end user will notice, I don't know for sure! Who does?

Re:Will an end user notice this speed degradation? (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931295)

how often do you run makeinfo? Probably never directly. And only indirectly if you're compiling and installing a GNU package from source (I mean, who else even uses it? )-- in which case configure checks and compilation times are the bottleneck, not makeinfo

begin sequence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931791)

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lls cunt whore ballsack whore fist fist faggot ballsack whore jew whore nigger c
ock cock cumdumpster balls fist fist ballsack whore nigger nigger faggot whore a
nus homosexual anus cumdumpster nigger faggot fist jew fist cunt balls jew

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Re:begin sequence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931793)

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sexual jew balls cunt jew ballsack jew cumdumpster whore faggot cunt whore balls
  balls cock whore cunt homosexual cunt ballsack anus anus cunt faggot whore whor
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ot cunt whore balls

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Re:Will an end user notice this speed degradation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931383)

Although slower, the new version offers several advantages: cleaner code using a structured representation of the input document, Unicode support, and saner support for multiple output backends. (emphasis mine).

Whether a end user will notice, I don't know for sure! Who does?

If you're typing man whatever, no, since it's run as part of the build process. Even if you're building from source, it's still going to be marginal compared to other steps.

Re:Will an end user notice this speed degradation? (1)

ais523 (1172701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931455)

It'd only be even potentially noticeable if the end user compiles their documentation from source. That's only likely to happen if they're also compiling their binaries from source, i.e. on source-based distros. (I doubt it'd be particularly noticeable even in such cases.) Most people would get the compiled version of the documentation, rather than compiling it themselves.

Re:Will an end user notice this speed degradation? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932809)

Hooray. Nice to see they finally got round to supporting Unicode. Structured docs. Woohoo. Multiple formatting backends. Yippee.

DocBook XML has had all these things from the beginning, and thus we (ubiquitous FOSS project) dumped TexInfo in favour of DBXML 6 or 7 years ago as the source format for all our end user docs.

I do not miss TexInfo one bit.

The truth about the Free Software Foundation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931263)

Tabloid newspapers have speculated for years that Timothy Geithner is a prominent supporter of the Free Software Foundation. Too bad we didn't believe them sooner!

You may not know it, but the concept of currency inflation was invented by the Free Software Foundation, which wanted an easy way to increase the numerical value of their investments in MDMA. It's easy to tell that inflation was never really real: when things get older, they get run down and lose value, right? But inflation is about numbers getting BIGGER. It doesn't make any sense!

There's evidence that Reverend Al Sharpton's rise to power was engineered entirely by the Free Software Foundation, which profits from Reverend Al Sharpton's influence in ways we do not yet completely understand.

Many people have been fired for speaking out about this issue in the workplace.

You may think free speech ensures your right to talk openly about Timothy Geithner's true beliefs, but powerful people won't let that happen: in the past, brave citizens who have questioned them about these issues have been silenced with crippling libel lawsuits.

People who have taken out library books on this topic frequently find that they receive more rigorous airport screenings than before. Definitely not a coincidence!

"There are no facts, only interpretations." -- Friedrick Nietzsche

Re:The truth about the Free Software Foundation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931357)

...the fuck?

Re:The truth about the Free Software Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931377)

woot woot

Re:The truth about the Free Software Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931721)

Someone is posting shit they get off of verifiedfacts.org

Things you don't hear every day (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931271)

"Nobody could understand the source code anymore without massive doses of caffeine... ao we decided to rewrite the whole thing in Perl."

Re:Things you don't hear every day (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931429)

seeing as it's perl, the next step is obviously: rinse. lather. repeat.

Re:Things you don't hear every day (3, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931885)

"Nobody could understand the source code anymore without massive doses of caffeine... ao we decided to rewrite the whole thing in Perl."

Oblig xkcd [xkcd.org]

Oblig oblig XKCD (3, Funny)

swm (171547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931959)

Lisp
http://xkcd.com/224/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Oblig oblig XKCD (4, Interesting)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932335)

What I find interesting about this Perl rewrite is that Guile, ostensibly the official scripting language of GNU, has had excellent structured texinfo support [gnu.org] for years now. It uses stexi which has the same structure as sxml, so you gain access to all of the really great Scheme XML processing tools, including SXSLT which is basically ideal for spitting out arbitrary formats.

Re:Things you don't hear every day (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932861)

"Nobody could understand the source code anymore without massive doses of caffeine... ao we decided to rewrite the whole thing in Perl."

Oblig xkcd [xkcd.org]

Obligatory Rebuttal xkcd [xkcd.com]

This is interesting for two reasons:
0. It was Perl's built in features, such as regex, system calls, and ability to be terse enough to enter a solution on a single swinging pass that make it an obvious choice -- It was made for this type of job.
1. I'm confident that if we have not already, we will soon reach a point where entire discussions can be composed of no text other than xkcd links. [xkcd.com]

Re:Things you don't hear every day (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932987)

Obligatory Rebuttal xkcd [xkcd.com]

This is interesting for two reasons:

0. It was Perl's built in features, such as regex, system calls, and ability to be terse enough to enter a solution on a single swinging pass that make it an obvious choice -- It was made for this type of job.

Whenever the problem allows for a single pass.

1. I'm confident that if we have not already, we will soon reach a point where entire discussions can be composed of no text other than xkcd links. [xkcd.com]

Due to limited contexts available on xkcd, I surmise we are quite far at that point. E.g. I challenge you to find the very basic "laser on sharks" or "car analogies" cartoons on xkcd.com.
"grits" (hot or not), "petrified/statue" etc??? Not a chance in hell.

Re:Things you don't hear every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932007)

"Nobody could understand the source code anymore without massive doses of caffeine... ao we decided to rewrite the whole thing in Perl."

Citation needed.

Re:Things you don't hear every day (1, Redundant)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932337)

That is pretty scary when you rewrite it in Perl to make it intelligible.

Re:Things you don't hear every day (5, Insightful)

one eyed kangaroo (215202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932691)

A witty response, but really this is getting a bit tired.

I suppose people are free to keep reading the same old, self-reinforcing sources that insist that Perl is somehow a language of the past. And if they read enough of these cliches, the anti-Perl FUD may seem to be accurate, but as any developer who spends time wrestling with real-world problems in modern Perl will attest, the so-called modern Perl ecosystem is, (just like the modern Python or PHP ecosystems), a fabulous place to work in.

I work in all three.

man texinfo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931281)

Can't be much use, it doesn't have a man page.

Re:man texinfo (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932469)

It does actually have one on my system, though it points you to the texinfo page (of course) for additional details.

article useful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931301)

article useful thanks you
www.ingaz.net

Yes, spin it that way, why don't you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931305)

Consequence: Instant perl dependency on everything that uses texinfo. Which is bloody everything the gn00 bunch publishes. My, what an improvement. And info and its assumptions (including emacs-y default viewer) already was such a wonderful thing.

Re:Yes, spin it that way, why don't you. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931339)

Only for building the software, and even then (at least with Automake) only if you are generating distribution tarballs or building from the bleeding edge vcs repository and need to regeneration maintainer files. If you're using Automake... it's already written in Perl. And it's basically a hard dependency in the base system of every GNU/Linux distro.

Re:Yes, spin it that way, why don't you. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931575)

You sir, are full of it.

Automake does not depend on perl. Perl is not a hard dependency in "the base system" since this concept doesn't exist in "gnu/linux". And it isn't in systems where such a concept does exist, eg FreeBSD (the spurious and wrongful dependency on perl and python listed in the glib2 port Makefile notwithstanding, same with the braindamage brought by the new and improved Xorg with video driver(!) dependencies on dbus(!) and xcb on python).

It'd be nice if the FOSS world would be a little less careless about its veritable forestry of dependencies. Much of it is rather senseless and on balance not worth the trouble when looking a bit further than the happily hackening developer and his magnificent code mangling machine, like when accounting for the users.

Re: Yes, spin it that way, why don't you. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931621)

You sir, are full of it.

Automake does not depend on perl.

$ head -n1 /usr/bin/automake-1.11
#!/usr/bin/perl -w

Perl is not a hard dependency in "the base system" since this concept doesn't exist in "gnu/linux".

Sure it does, it means the core, non-optional components of the OS.

Re:Yes, spin it that way, why don't you. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932847)

Sorry, but the world works the way it works, and does not magickally conform itself to your views on How Things Should Be.

I don't like perl, either. ("Loathe" might not be too strong a term.) But neither am I foolish enough to believe that I am likely to wind up with a usable Linux or FreeBSD system if I try to set one of those up without it.

Perl POD is a good man input format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931347)

It's very handy for generating both nroff man pages and their HTML counterparts from the same input text. Being extremely simple, it raises no barrier to writing man-page type documentation.

Although I don't use Texinfo, it'll put another feather in Perl POD's cap.

Re:Perl POD is a good man input format (3, Interesting)

jgrahn (181062) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931487)

It's very handy for generating both nroff man pages and their HTML counterparts from the same input text. Being extremely simple, it raises no barrier to writing man-page type documentation.

Neither does nroff -man. If you're in a position where you'd want a man page, a percieved complexity in writing one in nroff is no excuse. Read man(7), groff_man(7) and groff_char(7), and look at some example man pages for inspiration.

Also, if the cvs(1) man page of CVS 1.12.13 is a typical example of what Texinfo generates, I strongly recommend against using it for this. It's ugly and hard to read; doesn't really look like a man page at all.

Re: Perl POD is a good man input format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931601)

Also, if the cvs(1) man page of CVS 1.12.13 is a typical example of what Texinfo generates, I strongly recommend against using it for this. It's ugly and hard to read; doesn't really look like a man page at all.

It isn't generated by Texinfo itself, it's generated from the Texinfo source by a custom script in the CVS source tree. The GP was talking about generating man pages using Perl's POD system, which is relevant to this article because Texinfo now includes a tool to convert from POD to Texinfo format.

Re:Perl POD is a good man input format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931681)

If you're in a position where you'd want a man page, a percieved complexity in writing one in nroff is no excuse. Read man(7), groff_man(7) and groff_char(7), and look at some example man pages for inspiration.

You've very nicely highlighted the barrier that is raised by using nroff -man directly. While it's not totally hieroglyphics, you need to pay careful attention to its documentation every time you use it because it's not obvious.

In contrast, Perl POD is much less cryptic, and is quite usable without reading anything at all. The barrier is much lower, and given the reticence that many people have in writing any documentation in the first place, that helps. As does its multiple back ends.

Perl POD is like the wiki of man pages.

Default to HTML yet? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931353)

I haven't used TexInfo for years, but what I remember most was the absolutely abysmal standalone "info" reader. That thing was the biggest piece of shit I've ever seen in any program. Hopefully they've abandoned the crappy "info" format and all of the shitty standalone readers to view info documents, and just use HTML by default now.

Re:Default to HTML yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931411)

have you seen the HTML that gets generated from TeXInfo? It's like you're time warped back to the early 90s.

HTML from the 1990s (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931685)

The 1990s, when HTML documents were readable and not stuffed to the gills with ads and social recommendation detritus. Really all a plain-jane HTML document is missing is a max-width:36em on body to make line lengths sane and a width=device-width on the viewport to make tablets not render it zoomed out.

Re:Default to HTML yet? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931709)

What's wrong with that? ;)

Re:Default to HTML yet? (4, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932213)

have you seen the HTML that gets generated from TeXInfo?

Yes. It's usually broken up into a massive hierarchy with a couple of sentences per page. You'll get cramps clicking on the navigation links while searching for the particular thing you need to find like a needle in a haystack.

Plain old man pages (especially when nicely rendered in KDE's Konqueror web browser by typing "#program-name" into the URL box) are almost invariably superior to the corresponding Texinfo docs converted to html.

Re:Default to HTML yet? (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932913)

have you seen the HTML that gets generated from TeXInfo?

(Did they ever figure out how to output *valid* HTML? */me recalls many hours spent looking out over acres and acres of crossed and mismatched tags, and weeping softly to himself...*)

Plain old man pages (especially when nicely rendered in KDE's Konqueror web browser by typing "#program-name" into the URL box) ...

Fuck me! Been using KDE since 2004 and I had NO idea you could do that. (Works with Konq in both KDE 3 and 4, BTW.)

Thanks for the tip!

Re:Default to HTML yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933171)

I the standalone info is fine it supports most of the emacs keybindings that I actually know off the top of my head

Perl??? (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931395)

Why on earth would they have picked perl? Perl isn't really a native gnu project. At least gcc is.

Re:Perl??? (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931531)

Probably because it's the second most widely known and used language on systems that run makeinfo, next to C?

Re:Perl??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931691)

Javascript? (ducks)

Re:Perl??? (2, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931737)

C and shell scripting is good enough for me and it should be for any GNU project. I do not use half-way solutions such as Perl. I use Java when bash and C becomes too messy. The idea is to reduce your inventory to a strict minimum.
 

Re:Perl??? (2)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932189)

GCC is C. This is a job for a scripting language not a low level compiled language. Typically GNU uses Scheme as their scripting language. But knowledge of Scheme and Scheme syntax is decreasing. Perl has good support for parsing, tons of people know it, It seems like a reasonable choice for GNU to start doing scripting type stuff in. The Perl community has been active with free software for a long time and hasn't gotten involved in anything questionable.

Seems like a reasonable choice.

Re:Perl??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933155)

> Typically GNU uses Scheme as their scripting language.

So you're basically telling: They have an "official" GNU scripting language, which they have been advocating for 20 years now, and now they are avoiding their own fucking dogfood and rewriting their core documentation format to depend on something outside of the GNU system? How is this different than, for example, Microsoft rewriting Office in Java? Fucking ridiculous.

> But knowledge of Scheme and Scheme syntax is decreasing.

Source for this bold statement?

Re:Perl??? (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932355)

Usually people make fun of the FSF for choosing crappy projects (see: bzr for emacs) because they are part of GNU instead of making pragmatic choices for technical reasons...

Speed. (3, Interesting)

Atzanteol (99067) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931419)

I love how a language that was "fast enough" in the '90s is now suddenly "too slow" in 2013.

What's with the "I need all my code hyper-optimized" crowd on /. these days? We running a Gentoo help forum I didn't notice?

Re:Speed. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931441)

I love how a language that was "fast enough" in the '90s is now suddenly "too slow" in 2013.

No-one said it was "too slow", if they thought that they wouldn't have released it. They said it was slower than the C version, which is (presumably, as I haven't measured it myself) an objective fact.

Re:Speed. (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932207)

I love how a language that was "fast enough" in the '90s is now suddenly "too slow" in 2013.

What's with the "I need all my code hyper-optimized" crowd on /. these days? We running a Gentoo help forum I didn't notice?

Help me Obi Gentoo Kenobi. You're our only hope.

Perl hater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931551)

Those script languages are for kids. Real men program in C, which is, basically, portable Assembly, the real deal.

Re:Perl hater (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931581)

Real men use an macros to create documentation.

Re:Perl hater (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931715)

That high-level C crap is for wannabes, son...real men create their programs in native binary by manipulating the bits on their drive platters with pointy magnets

Re:Perl hater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932939)

Really? Gee, I always thought that real men saved the proving-their-manhood bit for when they're alone with their women, and during working hours just tried to write good code.

Do not want (5, Insightful)

GlobalEcho (26240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931649)

Allow me to initiate the inevitable hatefest:

Every time I run man and get a pointer to texinfo, I want to beat my head on the keyboard. I do not have the time, once again, to look up those obscure keyboard commands so that I may navigate laboriously through the documentation. It's time to interrupt my command-line workflow, go to the nearest GUI and run a web search for the nearest HTML manual.

Re:Do not want (2)

one eyed kangaroo (215202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931751)

I'm with you. The GNU folks we are told "in general, abhor man pages, and create info documents instead.". Tis a shame.

Re:Do not want (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932381)

It was even worse when you type "man foo", get a message telling you man is evil and to use info, then the info gives you nothing but a placeholder. The gnome stuff was full of that (gconf stuff especially) before they decided to not even bother pretending they had documentation.
Back in the day doing "man grub", getting a rude message to use info, then "info grub" and getting a "grub is wonderful LILO sux" message and no documentation was definitely one of those moments where I wanted to beat somebody's head with a model M keyboard.
At least "pinfo" can be used without having to spend more time working out how to use the info tool than reading the documentation.

Re:Do not want (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931773)

This, exactly this.

Re:Do not want (3, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931787)

Agreed. The worst is when a package has a half-assed manpage that points to the info documentation, and when you fire up info it's the exact same stuff as the manpage.

Texinfo should be retired in favor of HTML for when there's too much documentation for a man page.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932059)

There is never too much documentation for a man page. Just look at the Perl manpages!

Re:Do not want (3, Informative)

ais523 (1172701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932427)

info shows the manpage by default if the info documentation isn't installed. So what you're seeing is probably a packaging problem, where the documentation exists but, for whatever reason (perhaps you're using a Debian-based distro and forgot to explicitly ask for it), wasn't installed on your computer.

Re:Do not want (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931797)

Both texinfo and man have their place. texinfo is good for learning the deep details of a product. man pages are good for quick "what was that option for doing X again?" checks.

The attitude of the FSF towards man pages is, to put it politely, stupid. And counterproductive. Damnit, the response to a bug report saying "the man page is out of date/inaccurate/incorrect" should be to fix the damn man page, not to remove it!

Don't get me wrong, there are times when the texinfo documentation is incredibly useful, and I like having it available ... but I like having quick references as well!

Re:Do not want (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931841)

texinfo is good for learning the deep details of a product.

No, it's not. It is clunky and difficult to navigate. A set of linked HTML pages would be good for learning the deep details of a product. Texinfo is just crap.

Re:Do not want (1)

nielsm (1616577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931873)

No, it's not. It is clunky and difficult to navigate. A set of linked HTML pages would be good for learning the deep details of a product. Texinfo is just crap.

Isn't that a property of the `info` reader and not so much a property of the format? The idea is good, the user interface is horrible.

Re:Do not want (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931903)

The format exists because of the reader. It has no particular practical advantages vs. HTML so there's no reason for either.

Re:Do not want (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932367)

IGGT 1/10

Re:Do not want (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932473)

Kill yourself.

Re:Do not want (2)

ais523 (1172701) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932443)

Regex search over the entire info document is something I use a lot, and HTML doesn't (natively) support. (Index search via typing the name of an index entry, and then jumping to other entries that match the same string, is another thing that HTML doesn't do well.) These are arguably deficiencies in HTML, and could be fixed with mindboggling amounts of JavaScript or by doing things server-side, but both seem to be missing the point to some extent.

I've been reading a lot of info pages recently, and learning the viewer was worth the effort (tip that helps a lot: 'l' undoes navigation commands, for when you've got completely lost due to pressing the wrong button). It'd be great if we had something that replaces Info without all its conveniences, but sadly nothing seems to have obsoleted it yet.

Re:Do not want (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931905)

And what other reader is there other than 'info'? They should use the version of the idea that already some some (relatively) non-crap user interfaces available: HTML.

Re:Do not want (5, Informative)

sombragris (246383) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932121)

Try pinfo [sourceforge.net] . From the description:

Pinfo is an info file viewer. It was created when the author, Przemek Borys, was very depressed trying to read gtk info entries using the standard tools.

Pinfo is similar in use to lynx. It has similar key movements, and gives similar intuition. You just move across info nodes, and select links, follow them... Well, you know how it is when you view html with lynx. :) It supports as many colors as it could.

Believe me, it's a lifesaver for reading info pages.

Re:Do not want (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932221)

Thank you! That was neat didn't know about that one.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932733)

Emacs

texinfo is good for writing documentation (2)

Per Bothner (19354) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932281)

Texinfo is is a decent format for writing documentation in - nicer and less verbose than HTML or DocBook. You can generate either HTML or DocBook or XML from Texinfo, and then do a bunch of processing on it. For example the documentation for Kawa [gnu.org] is written in texinfo, then makeinfo converts it to docbook, which is then converted to html. The result isn't splashy but (if I say so myself) fairly nice.

Re:texinfo is good for writing documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932321)

It looks like vomit but at least it's a bit easier to navigate.

Re:texinfo is good for writing documentation (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933035)

Texinfo is is a decent format for writing documentation in - nicer and less verbose than HTML or DocBook.

You have got to be kidding. That's true only in the sense that making the trip from Stockholm to Vladivostok via dogsled might be a "decent" mode of travel.

Aside from the fact that it's Just Plain Horrid(TM) to read or write in source format, TexInfo suffers from the same problem that HTML does: No semantics.

The reason that DocBook is so "verbose" is that it actually indicates what things are.

And knowing what things are can be very helpful.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931805)

man works great for simple commands, but what about complex hairy ones like gcc or gdb (which are really applications), or even 'find'. Then man starts to break down. You want formatted documentation with examples with variables spelled with more than a single letter.

Re:Do not want (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931907)

Right, and it's a lot nicer to read complex documentation through your web browser than through some clunky ncurses utility.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931919)

What I really fucking hate is when you read "this man page is a stub, for full documentation see the info pages", and when you do all you get is a texinfo'd version of the man page.

Re:Do not want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932015)

exactly

fuck "info" pages

nobody likes or uses that shit

Re:Do not want (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932127)

Allow me to initiate the inevitable hatefest:

Every time I run man and get a pointer to texinfo, I want to beat my head on the keyboard. I do not have the time, once again, to look up those obscure keyboard commands so that I may navigate laboriously through the documentation. It's time to interrupt my command-line workflow, go to the nearest GUI and run a web search for the nearest HTML manual.

Thank you, sir. That's something I would have said myself precisely like that.

Re:Do not want (4, Funny)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932171)

I do not have the time, once again, to look up those obscure keyboard commands so that I may navigate laboriously through the documentation.

What obscure keyboard commands? They're just the keybindings for the help system of the One True Editor. If you are using something inferior and have therefore memorized some truly obscure keyboard commands instead, how is that their fault?

Re:Do not want (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932219)

What obscure keyboard commands? They're just the keybindings for the help system of the One True Editor.

You, sir, have no idea what the One True Editor actually is:

http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/ed-msg.html

Re:Do not want (1)

murdocj (543661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932365)

Because lord knows, open source is all about choice.

Re:Do not want (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932195)

Well you can use info to read man pages and then you'll know those keywords when you need them. :) But yeah texinfo is a pain.

Re:Do not want (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932559)

(warning: rant follows)

Nearest HTML manual...generated using info2html. Seriously, using the mouse will interrupt your workflow as well because it takes more time to scroll and slide and click than it does to press keys.

By the way, here's a quick list of key bindings for you:

  • u: Up to the parent node if it exists
  • n: Next sibling node if it exists
  • p: Previous sibling node if it exists
  • C-s*: initiate/repeat a case-insensitive forward Search throughout the documentation
  • C-r*: initiate/repeat a case-insensitive Reverse search
  • Arrow keys, Page Up/Down: move as expected
  • C-n, C-p, C-v, M-v: Next line, Previous line, Page Down, Page Up
  • Tab - move to the next cross-reference after the current cursor position
  • M-Tab - move to the next cross-reference before the current cursor position
  • Enter/Return - activate the cross-reference the cursor position is inside, navigating to the node to which it points

* - In the standalone info browser, it's actually a regexp I-search while in the info browser in GNU Emacs, it's just a string I-search; use C-M-s and C-M-r in GNU Emacs.

By the way, C is the Control key. Also, M is the Meta key, which is bound to the Esc key. You can also use the Alt key instead of Esc, but this may pass the key combination such as M-Tab as Alt-Tab in a GUI environment, so the Esc key works best.

Overall, both man pages and info documentation have their places. I personally feel that it's simply a case of knowing where certain information fits in a certain medium. You wouldn't use an encyclopedia to find a definition or a dictionary to learn about the variety of bears throughout the world, so why would you expect every bit of library documentation to be in man pages?

Archaic and unfree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931735)

Who needs this? Why?

Who prints to dead trees these days?

Better to use the modern Web stack instead.

WebKit / Chromium has an almost-entirely-copyfree [copyfree.org] implementation of HTML5, SVG, MathML, etc.

For an easier syntax there are things like Markdown [wikipedia.org] .

For ye olde UNIX man pages, there's now mandoc [wikipedia.org] .

--libman

It would be nice if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931809)

Textinfo actually said anything useful. Man certainly isn't the best documentation on the planet, but fucking hell, document command line switches, at least.

Re:It would be nice if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42932183)

PowerShell is super. Detailed documentation, always plenty of good examples.

So... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931821)

How do you compile the documentation when you're building Perl's prerequisites from source?

This reminds me of a Dilbert strip. (1, Funny)

sidragon.net (1238654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931869)

Let me get this straight. These guys ported and anachronistic piece of software from one dead language to a slightly less dead language, and then bragged about using structured programming techniques as a feature.

Hang on, I think Scott Adams has something to say about this.

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2013-02-11/ [dilbert.com]

Re:This reminds me of a Dilbert strip. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932483)

As an aficionado of old computers, I feel this strip really speaks to me...

Re:This reminds me of a Dilbert strip. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932739)

Let me get this straight. These guys ported and anachronistic piece of software from one dead language to a slightly less dead language

C is by no means a dead language.

"Cleaner code" and "Perl" on the same paragraph? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42931963)

MWHAHAHAhahahahHAHhaHahAHahAHahAHa.

oxymoron (2, Informative)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year and a half ago | (#42931993)

...perl...cleaner code...

Re:oxymoron (2)

tyrione (134248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932731)

...perl...cleaner code...

True, not to mention with C11 you get Unicode and much more. C resurgence as a popular language is widely quantifiable. Perl as a dying language is widely quantifiable.

Re:oxymoron (2)

arielCo (995647) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932777)

No oxymoron here. Perl frees you to create real messes, but that's mostly because it's very expressive, which also helps you code with less temp variables, shorter loops, etc., which can be actually easier to read if you know the language (Perl has a higher "cognitive load" than other languages that may alienate casual participants).

OTOH there are best-practices and style guides to ease things for the next lucky person to read your masterpiece (possibly a future you). So don't blame the language; hell, there's even a module that critiques your code [cpan.org] .

So with some discipline and common programmer smarts you can write succint code that may be more readable than "fluffier" implementations. In practice, I've found that in any language, superfluous steps and variables, bad naming, and not-so-logical flow is a bigger penalty to readability than anything else. No language forces good style on you.

perl dependency (2)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42932135)

Now we will have a perl dependency for all GNU stuff, and this to read documentation that is even less nice to read than man pages. The best thing they could have done to texinfo is to get rid of it, IMO.

Just an End User (3, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42933115)

I very happily gave up on man pages (and variants thereof) years ago because they were too obtuse and circular to be useful to me, a mere end user. Early on I figured out that the basic rule of man pages was that the one you need relied on you already having read and digested fifteen others, each of which relied on you having read an digested fifteen others.... actually finding what you needed was an endless exercise in frustration.

Google + Forums is what real people rely on.

Compile to HTML instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42933145)

That would have been a lifesaver...

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