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How to find Info Manuals

From: Robert Thorpe
Subject: How to find Info Manuals
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:11:32 +0100

I find Info manuals very useful.  The Emacs Info browser is very fast
and well-integrated with Emacs.  The "C-h S" command, is invaluable, it
looks up a symbol in a manual.  For example, if you're editing C code
and you type C-h S near the word "printf" it will bring up the Info page
from the GNU C library manual describing the printf function.  Since the
manual describes related functions together that can be useful, you can
compare "printf" related functions.  It also works on variables and
constants that have standard meanings.  This can be useful even when
using other compilers or libraries, because the manuals describe
standard functions.

Almost all GNU project languages and utilities have manuals in Info
format.  Unfortunately for us users, the Debian people decided that the
GNU Free Documentation License is a "non-free" license.  When the GNU
project switched to using it for manuals the Debian people put them in a
non-free repository.  In my opinion, the behaviour of both sides was
bad.  Debian derivatives like Ubuntu keep that structure.

Here is a list of the packages containing the Info manuals for various
languages and libraries.  In almost all cases the Debian and Ubuntu name
is the same:

* Standard C Library (GNU Libc): glibc-doc.
* Emacs (the whole Emacs manual set): emacs24-common-non-dfsg.
* GNU Awk: gawk-doc.
* Ada 2005 language standard: ada-reference-manual-2012
(ada-reference-manual-info on Ubuntu & old Debian).
* GNU Ada compiler (GNAT): gnat-doc or gnat-4.6-doc.
* GNU Fortran 77 & 95: gfortran-doc.
* Scheme (Guile): guile-1.8-doc-non-dfsg.
* TeX & LaTeX: some info docs are in texlive-base, but they're not complete.
* GNU TexInfo: texinfo-doc-nonfree.
* Autoconf: autoconf-doc.
* Bison: bison-doc.
* GNU m4: m4.
* GNU Make: make-doc.
* Automake: automake.
* Cfengine: cfengine2.
* GNU Maxima: maxima-doc.
* GNU Octave: octave-info.

I know that most of these work properly with C-h S, though I'm not sure
all do.  The Binutils info docs (in binutils-doc) don't support C-h S

The GNU C++ library was done with Doxygen, it doesn't seem to have an
Info manual.

If no package is available the Info docs can be installed the old
fashioned way using 'sudo install-info infofile'.  Due to a packaging
mistake the Bash info file isn't present it can be found at  The TexInfo people provide
the Perl documentation in Info format .  No Debian package contains
the main info file for GNU Common Lisp, the packages only contain some
additional manuals, I think that's a packaging mistake.  The best way to
get that manual is from the GCL source tarball.  Somewhere on the internet
there's an info file of the whole Common Lisp Hyperspec, though I can't
find it.

Robert Thorpe

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