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Re: coreutils/man/rm.x - fails to mention POSIX "Refuse to remove path/.

From: Mike Hodson
Subject: Re: coreutils/man/rm.x - fails to mention POSIX "Refuse to remove path/. and path/.., as well as `.' and `..'
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2023 14:32:03 -0600

On Sat, Sep 23, 2023, 12:47 Arsen Arsenović <> wrote:

> Hi,
> James Feeney <> writes:
> > coreutils 9.3
> > coreutils/man/rm.x
> >
> > Even though "rm" was modified,

> the rm(1) man page completely fails to mention this particular POSIX
> > promise.

> Language should be added to the GNU rm man page explicitly stating the
> > POSIX behavior:

This is specified in the manual:

> See (coreutils)rm invocation, paragraph 5.

... but this is not the 'manual', its the 'info' page. 'infopage' ? is that
a term?
But I digress over semantics..

This brings up once again a problem I have had, and I believe is in fact
the reason that I subscribed to this mailing list in the first place years
The info pages, quite unfortunately, DO NOT match the man pages.

There is at the same time both more, and less verbosity in certain sections
between the two. For one, I appreciate that the 'manpage' directs you to
other related 'see also' pages.  It also contains full copyright and
authorship information.  I have not yet figured out where these
corresponding values exist in 'info' for the individual 'rm' command.

I suspect [and history keeps indicating this to me] that a rather small
group of people understand how to [properly] use the GNU 'info' command, or
even know of its existence, vs the UNIX standard 'man' command.

The Unix 'man' command is well known and understood, and has been the
defacto standard since 1971. 15 years prior to GNU Info.

This one case seems particularly egregious, considering that the POSIX
specific information is likely not understood by someone trying to
understand why their command does not work, and this same person likely
will neither know of 'info' nor read to the very bottom of the manpage to
see there is indeed a second (info) manual.

In the particular case of 'rm', (albeit on an older ubuntu version of
coreutils, 9.1, as an example) there is only 16 80-column textual lines
difference between 'man' and 'info' outputs. [infopage is 16 lines longer]
'man' output furthermore resizes to the size of my terminal, making its
actual vertical output less if the terminal is > 80 columns.
'info' output does not seem to resize, which to me makes it harder to read.

Furthermore, between 'info' and 'man' the output of the pages seems to be
nicer in 'manpage' format as the different sections are all nicely
indented, have proper section headers, and it is visually less bothersome
without having so many single quotes everywhere.

Until there can be some sort of proper synchronization of all information
between 'man' and 'info' for coreutils commands, It is my personal feeling
that every single manpage is invalid because it does not contain the full
information required to utilize a command.

Perhaps to force the issue to redirect people to 'info' pages consistently
manpages should simply be converted to ONLY contain:

Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) rm invocation'

Or, perhaps there should be an effort to come up with a way to
automatically synchronize all the information contained within 1, to the


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