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Status of install-info


dpkg's install-info has some bugs and limitations.

There were plans to switch to the GNU's texinfo after Sarge. Do you think
it can still be done?

I started thinking about what would involve such a transition:
 * check what is missing/incompatible in GNU's install-info
 * contact info's maintainer (maybe dh_installinfo's maintainer)
 * Prepare a transition
   + create an install-info binary package in the info source package.
     new dpkg could depend on it or maybe it could be essential
   + or force a transition for all packages installing info files

If no transition is planed, I can start summit patches for install-info
bugs. But I probably won't implement the main limitation (info files with
multiple sections are not supported, which cause a lot of entries to be

I've started by checking options of both install-info:

dpkg's install-info             GNU's install-info

i-i [opts] [--] INFO-FILE       i-i [opts] [INFO-FILE [DIR-FILE]]

--version                       --version, -V
--help                          --help, -h
  --calign*, --align*
--section regexp title
--infodir=xxx                   --infodir=DIR
--info-dir=xxx                  --info-dir=DIR
--info-file=xxx                 --info-file=FILE
--dir-file=xxx                  --dir-file=NAME
--quiet                         --quiet, -q
--remove                        --remove, --delete, -r
                                --entry=TEXT, --item=TEXT

The --section are not compatible

The --align, --calign and --maxwidth options do not exist. They were
already ignored and dispalyed a warning indicating they were deprecated
(this was already the case before Sarge). I think they can be dropped.

The --debug and --test options do not exist. I don't think this is an

--keep-old does not exist. I don't think there are strong requirements for
keeping empty sections. It could be implemented in GNU's install-info by
displaying a warning.

--description and --menuentry are used to override the description and
entry from the menufile when the file is added to the infodir file. IMO,
we could require the maintainers to modify their menufile if they want to
do that. It could be implemented in GNU's install-info by displaying a

--remove-exactly: I'm not really sure of what it does. GNU's install-info
probably allows to install an emacs-20/emacs and an emacs-21/emacs info
file and probably allows to remove one of them. This must be checked.

IMO, only the --section and --remove-exactly may cause troubles.
We can have a better view of the work by looking for install-info in the
maintainer scripts (and looking at the dh_installinfo source).

Kind Regards,

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