Linux pinfo command usage with examples

Posted at December 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm by Jithin

Pinfo is an info file viewer or a program for viewing info files. The man pages have a formal format useful as a command reference, but less useful as general documentation. For such documents, The GNU Project developed a different online documentation system, known as GNU info. Info documents are an important resource on Linux system because many fundamental components and utilities, such as the coreutils package and glibc standard libraries, are either developed by the GNU Project or utilize the info document system. You can specify which page you want to read by passing it as an infopage argument. This argument contains the name of an info page. The program will then search for it in the current directory, /usr/share/info, /usr/info, /usr/local/share/info, /usr/local/info. and /opt/info. The search path can be adjusted by INFOPATH environment variable or in the configuration file. Pinfo will also automatically add the suffix ‘-info’, ‘-info.Z’, ‘-info.gz’, or ‘-info.bz2’. Info documentation is structured as hyperlinked info nodes. This format is more flexible than man pages, allowing thorough discussion of complex commands and concepts. Like man pages, info nodes are read from the command line, using either the info or pinfo commands.

To install pinfo, you can use the following command.

$ sudo apt-get install pinfo

The output will be look like the following:

[sudo] password for kubuntu:

Reading package lists… Done

Building dependency tree

Reading state information… Done

The following NEW packages will be installed:

pinfo

0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 237 not upgraded.

Need to get 81.3 kB of archives.

After this operation, 328 kB of additional disk space will be used.

Get:1 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ trusty/universe pinfo amd64 0.6.9-5.1 [81.3 kB]

Fetched 81.3 kB in 1s (42.2 kB/s)

Selecting previously unselected package pinfo.

(Reading database … 146973 files and directories currently installed.)

Preparing to unpack …/pinfo_0.6.9-5.1_amd64.deb …

Unpacking pinfo (0.6.9-5.1) …

Processing triggers for install-info (5.2.0.dfsg.1-2) …

Processing triggers for man-db (2.6.7.1-1ubuntu1) …

Setting up pinfo (0.6.9-5.1) …

 

Some commands and utilities have both man pages and info documentation: usually, the info documentation will more in-depth. For example, you can compare the difference in tar documentation using man and pinfo

$ man tar

$ pinfo tar

The pinfo info reader is more advanced than the original info command. Designed to match the lynx text web browser keystrokes, it also adds color. For example, we can compare the both the info and pinfo commands.

To read the ‘ls’ info page using info viewer, use the following command.

$ info ls

 

To read the ‘ls’ info page using pinfo viewer, use the following commands.

$ pinfo ls

Info nodes of a particular topic are browsed with pinfo topic. Enter only pinfo for the info topics directory. New documentation nodes become available in pinfo when their corresponding software packages are installed.

 

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