Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, July 29, 2016 at 17:07

If UNIX has man command, then GNU has info. If you are using any GNU/Linux operating system (e.g. Ubuntu), then usually you have both commands man* and info inside your system. If you are accustomed to GNU/Linux co mmand lines, almost certain you will be very accustomed to man command there. But if you want to know GNU operating system closer, you need to know GNU Info (command name: info) to read any of GNU documentations. This article covers examples about using info in the same way you use man. 

A. Basic Keys

1. Invoking Info

info sed
info grep
info info

Note: special for GNU Info, invoking just info without any argument will open the whole documentations of the GNU operating system which are mostly distributed as Info format (not man format). This shows all documentations for the GNU components such as awk, sed, ls, cp, mv, and so on. There are exceptions for those GNU components that have the documentation not in Info format such as dd and awk, that they are not listed here.

2. Reading Manpage with Info

info dd
info awk
info fdisk
info ping

Note: the GNU Info can also read another documentation format. So for any program's documentation distributed in man format, GNU Info can read them well. The benefit for doing this is that you get all advanced GNU Info features (e.g. split screen) that man reader doesn't have. Notice that the dd and gawk (they are both from GNU operating system), and fdisk is from The Linux Project, and ping is from The IP Utils project.

3. Navigating Cursor


4. Follow Hyperlink


5. Step Cursor Forward Against Hyperlinks


6. Step Cursor Backward Against Hyperlinks


7. Step A Page Next


8. Step A Page Previous


9. Step A Page Next, More Precise


10. Step A Page Previous, More Precise


11. Go To Current Topic's Home


12. Go Up One Level


13. Go To Main Home

14. Back (History)


15. Go To Beginning of Current Page


16. Go To End of Current Page


17. Quit


B. Windowing Commands

1. Split Window

Ctrl+x 2

2. Move Cursor to Another Window 


Note: this is lowercase `o`. 

3. Close Current Window

Ctrl+x 0

Note: this is `zero`.

4. Close Current Window


C. Searching Commands

1. Search


2. Go To  Next Match


3. Go To Previous Match


4. Close Search Bar


(*) Important note:

The man program inside any GNU/Linux operating system is free software, it has nothing in common with UNIX man proprietary source code. Our man inside our GNU/Linux is a clone of UNIX man, but our man is free software (that's the difference). Nowadays, this man program (package name: man-db) is being developed and maintained by Debian hacker Colin Watson (many thanks to him).

About GNU

GNU is the operating system inside every of your GNU/Linux. GNU is a UNIX clone, but if UNIX has a documentation system (you use man command to read them), GNU operating system has its own documentation system (you use info command to read them). The documentation system is called GNU Texinfo, it has its own text formatter named GNU groff, and it has its own "man command", named GNU Info. So there are two different documentation system here: there are many documentations written in man style (the legacy UNIX style) and another ones written in info style (the GNU style). If you want to know GNU more, then start reading using GNU Info. Fortunately, GNU info can also read any man style documentation.