This one just bit me on the ass tonight.
Why is it that the Gnu Linux heads can’t understand that a single documentation format, one that has been in place since time immemorial, should be replaced by one that is inferior, annoying, and requires a whole new set of skills, JUST TO LOOK UP SOME TEXT?
I bring you the idiocy that is ‘info’. It is the grossest example of ’emacsification’ that is all too common place in the Linux world.
Here’s a real life example of this ridiculousness.
Today I needed to write a ‘sed’ script to do some line processing. No problem, I just need to look in the man page to see how to do a few things. But lo! The man page for ‘sed’ on my machine (Debian Sarge Linux) doesn’t have any useful information. In fact, it has almost nothing at all. It does, however, helpfully say, about line 30:
This is just a brief synopsis of sed commands to serve as a reminder to those who already know sed; other documentation (such as the texinfo document) must be consulted for fuller descriptions.
Very handy, eh? Fine, I just so happen to know that also later in the document it mentions ‘info sed’. Okay, so I type that.
The information I’m looking for is simply what the command line arguments are, and how to set pattern matches on substitution. The command info sed puts me… into an interactive menu system. Normally, ‘man’ pages are searchable by typing ‘/string’. So I type that. I am now on a page called ‘Less frequently used commands’. Very soon I am hopelessly lost in navigating screens and nodes and commands that have nothing to do with what I’m trying to do, which is simply get a command syntax.
Who POSSIBLY thought that translating the simple single page format of man pages, that every Unix admin on the planet knows how to use, into an interactive mini-Emacs session that requires a fair amount of knowledge on how Emacs works to work with makes ANY sense whatsoever?
Unfortunately, the people who make these sorts of idiotic decisions are the same ones that boot up Emacs and never leave it, and assume the rest of the world must know it as well. I have news for ya fellas, I don’t. And assuming that eveyrone knows how to use emacs, and therefore it’s okay REQUIRING an admin to use an emacs interface to view documentation is narrow sighted and ridiculous.
Stick with the known, standard, common formats. Emacs is not universal. Use the man page system that has been around since the dawn of time. There’s absolutely no reason to change it.