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[Info] Get more from the command line

From: Harry Putnam
Subject: [Info] Get more from the command line
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 03:30:18 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.090006 (Oort Gnus v0.06) Emacs/21.1.80 (i586-pc-linux-gnu)

The following message is a courtesy copy of an article
that has been posted to as well.

[Note: Also posted to address@hidden

Summary: Info reader - Discusses various ways and ideas about getting
         maximum information from the command line, in as focused a
         manner as is obtainable with common tools.

Looking thru and experimenting with invocation commands it seems there
could be (and may already be) ways to get more focused info printed to

Some examples: 

   recurses and outputs the subnodes and most often is too much
   information at one time. Unless one brings to bear other tools to
   filter it. No problem there, but if one could get a list of the
   subnodes available it would be more practical to ask for certain

   output selected nodes to FILENAME

   This would be more usefull if there was a choice of stdout or a
   file.  I guess one could name tty as the file but that is kind of
   hackish and not something one thinks of immediately.

   Here again, have a list of subnodes to hand would enhance this
   command greatly.  

 --show-options, --usage
   go to command-line options node.

   This would be much more useful if it could be directed to stdout
   rather than invoking the reader.  Or better still would be some
   switch to invoke stdout or open the reader.  
   I guess it could be coupled with  -output=filename but again that
   assumes the user knows what the section is called.  There seems to
   be a variety of names for such a section.

A command I use fairly often: 
  info --output - --subnodes 2>/dev/null <appname> | <filters here>

This produces the whole thing on stdout, and it can be filtered as
needed.  Nice, but again, something of an overdose.

It seems the possibility is already there to produce a list of all
subnodes to stdout, but I am failing at finding a way to access it.

Begin secondary bitching.....

A final comment: At risk of sounding like flame bait. But is not.
I would really like info to be more usefull.  It has many nice
features but always seems to be such a pain to use.  I usually feel like
I've been in the ring with Mike Tyson, after using it.

Yes, I know it is a question of familiarity like any other
application, but I have been an emacs user for several years and have
fired up info hundreds of times, yet still get lost easily, and find
it very frustrating to use.  Some things are just plain obnoxious.

The paging commands C-v M-v comes to mind.  Nearly every command I can
think of that does a forward/backward up/down type of motion, its the
right hand key that is the variable.  I don't think I will ever get
used to or feel intuitive with changing the left hand operator
instead. Its an emacs command but in emacs there are several other
choice that are more usable like page up/down or C-x [/]

We need keys that do what emacs does with C-h m.  In info the C-h or ?
lead to the full documentation rather than the documentatin about the
mode you are in.  

There should be some easily findable way to quit out of the help menu
documentaiton. Its almost as if someone set a booby trap.

Any unix user will immediately think to try the universally used `q'.
Big mistake... Instead of quitting the help buffer, you loose the
session intirely and find yourself looking at a command line prompt.
Very annoying when you've spent a half hour finding the section you

`l' is a natural when navigating from node to node but just doesn't
come to mind for leaving the help buffer.  Somebody tried to help by
putting a note about the `l' to quit command at the top, but usually
one is well down into the buffer when quit time comes.

Thats akin to someone aliasing `rm -rf' to `ls' in your home

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