Re: a unified documentation interface ???
I would like to add a few more comments from the standpoint of a user
who has found the availability of documentation to be a major strong
point in the favor of emacs and linux (previously slackware, and the
LDP). Some of these are isolated miscellaenous remarks, and do not
address questions that have been brought up previously in this thread,
ie., concerning a unified documentation interface.
1. the info system documenting the use of emacs lisp and the emacs
editor, being on line, have been a major help to me, and I don't see
how it really needs to be improved. I also find that when
documetation is available in info format, my productivity is enhanced.
I have to agree with comments attributed to Richard Stallman that
major efforts should be directed toward improvement of this system;
perhaps the concerns of this group would be advantageoulsy integrated
into such development. Perhaps even expansion of texinfo to
interconvertibility to SGML/HTML would address certain concerns
brought up in this discussion? (Is this really that great of a
difference from what has been suggested?)
Certain strong points of emacs and info have been in searching
capabilities, and in the latter case perhaps this could be enhanced;
with a database of some kind---perhaps automatically produced from
various kinds of documentation files---this kind of search could be
incorporated into the intended unified documentation interface.
2. The apropos or whatis command may provide something of a prototype
for an indexing function for a built in unified interface. It is
currently of more limited value, but could be set up to directly call
the man function if one needed more, or to search through lists.
Maybe some of the needed functionality is already there.
3. Linux documentation has also been extremely helpful, although for
sure it could be more easy to access (I was encouraged to see one or
two documents in info format on the debian tree, but I have not been
able to get them to work!). Ever since Slackware has gotten into
CDROMs, the excellent LDP and even HOWTOs have been somewhat in a
state of stasis. For example the installation how to of slackware has
not even been upgraded to reflect the differences in the names of disk
sets. This was a strong calling card for Linux from the beginning,
but the documentation on line has fallen behind. (Intended to not
belittle the immense effort that HAS been going into documentation).
The Debian Manual is not very helpful, at this point, once one has the
relatively simple task of installing the base system in hand (I have
not been able to get info or texi versions to work on my system,
Again, I write as a user. Most or perhaps all of the responses to
my earlier post favored a change to HTML. Maybe at this point a man
page is needed to help the new user to get into the various sorts of
documentation, even given an intention to develop a unified interface.