[texhax] problem with info command

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Fri Aug 27 01:19:26 CEST 2004

Hi Sebastian,

So your idea was to replace the Debian installation of TeX with TeX Live?

Unfortunately, this is simply not a good idea.  The fact is, the Linux
distributions don't use anything remotely like TeX Live.  They use a
completely different directory structure and are based on teTeX (usually
of some ancient vintage, although perhaps Debian is doing better these
days, I don't know).

So replacing the Debian-controlled files in /usr/bin (especially) with
something else is bound to lead to trouble.  (The same is true for
anything, not just TL; it's best to leave system directories for the
system to mess with, in my experience.)

The idea of that symlink option is for systems which have no TeX
installed.  In that case, installers might like to have links in (say)
/usr/local/bin, so that users don't have to add the weird TL bin
directory to their PATH.

No doubt this could all be better documented.  I'll work on that
(although I'm doubtful as to whether that would have helped here).

The one dynamic-detection idea I can think of is that TL's install
should probably never replace a real file with one of these symlinks.
I'll see about that too.

As for recovery, uninstall/reinstall was a good idea.  Since it didn't
work, my only other thought is to look at an existing Debian system and
try to replicate what you see there.  In general, /usr/share/info should
contain the info files, and info and the other binaries should be in

One more thing:

    No `START-INFO-DIR-ENTRY' and no `This file documents'.
    install-info(/usr/share/info/info-stnd.info): unable to determine...

Has /usr/share/info/info-stnd.info become a symlink to a nonexistent
file, by any chance?  Any real info-stnd.info definitely should have a
START-INFO-DIR-ENTRY (I won't bore you with the explanation).  The
beginning of info-stnd.info should look approximately like this:

> This is info-stnd.info, produced by makeinfo version 4.7 from
> info-stnd.texi.
>    This manual is for GNU Info (version 4.7, 11 April 2004), a program
>    ...
> INFO-DIR-SECTION Texinfo documentation system
> * info standalone: (info-stnd).            Read Info documents without Emacs.
> * infokey: (info-stnd)Invoking infokey.    Compile Info customizations.

Just to complicate things, Debian has their own version of install-info,
which is not the same as Texinfo's install-info.  (I've long wanted to
fix this ridiculous situation, but no luck so far.)  If problems
persist, you might want to open a bug report (= request for assistance,
in this case) with Debian.

Hope this helps a little more :).

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