Subject: re: texinfo files
To: NetBSD-current Discussion List <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/24/1998 13:19:52
[ On Thu, September 24, 1998 at 12:14:49 (+1000), matthew green wrote: ]
> Subject: re: texinfo files 
> um, exactly when did _we_ (the project) decide that putting gtexinfo into
> the base system was a good idea?

Perhaps TNF didn't (yet) come to this conclusion -- I wouldn't know.

However we users are "demanding" it.  (I've been calling for its
inclusion for a long time now.)

> because i want it left in pkgsrc thank you very much!

Leaving gtexinfo in pkgsrc is silly because it a) prevents giving users
a convenient tool for reading texinfo documents, and b) prevents
developers from building texinfo documents included in the base system
sources when using only the base system.

The reason one must have texinfo capability is, of course, because the
official documentation format for tools in /usr/src/gnu is texinfo.

The *only* other sane option would be to import texi2roff (which is also
a GPL licensed program, so would also go in /usr/src/gnu under the
current regime) and fix up the build system to run texinfo documents
through it so that they can be formatted and printed using the troff
tools.  Unfortunately this still leaves out the convenience of a
hypertext browser, unless we also include Lynx or some other similar
browser and a roff2html tool.

The latter (i.e. having a roff2html tool and a simple HTML browser)
would be useful for all the standard BSD documentation that currently
cannot be easily browsed on-line.

However updating texi2roff (I think it's vastly out-of-date w.r.t. the
latest version of texinfo), finding and including a generic roff2html
tool, finding and including a decent simple HTML browser, and hacking
all the build system to manage texinfo documents in this way is *far*
more complex and time consuming than simply including the texinfo
software in /usr/src/gnu, enabling builds of *.info files from
*.{texi,texinfo} files, and getting on with life.

I can assure you that it's a fact that many Linux users laugh
uproariasly at NetBSD because of the lack of texinfo capable tools,
esp. since there's so much unreadable texinfo documentation necessary
for important and critical tools in the base operating system.

Of course NetBSD has manual pages for most of (but not all) the tools in
/usr/src/gnu, but most are no longer maintained in the GNU releases and
must be maintained by NetBSD.  I don't have any concrete examples of
growing discrepancies between the NetBSD manual pages and the texinfo
documentation, but I'm sure there are some, and regardless there's a
strong and widely held opinion that the texinfo documentation is of far
superior quality.

Oh, and one more small note:  the info(1) reader that's part of gtexinfo
will invoke the man(1) command if there's nothing matching its argument
in the INFOPATH directories, so it can be used as a complete interface
to system documentation (the info package in emacs does this too).

							Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <>      <robohack!woods>
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