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Re: Efficiently finding information 'known' to exist "somewhere"




On Wed, 19 Apr 2017, Richard Owlett wrote:
> However that is not always the case. Some months ago I got a "command not
> found" message for a command that had a man page (do not recall the specific
> command). It turned out it was one utility command among many provided by a
> package with an unrelated name.
> 
> Is there a general way to find such a package?

Yes.  Although it is best practice to list all higher-level components
(e.g. programs) in "collection" packages such as util-linux, devscripts,
debian-goods and such, so that you could easily find them using
apt-cache search/aptitude search/synaptic search or
https://packages.debian.org searches, this is not always done properly.

We have other alternatives, though.  Some that come to mind:

Debian package contents search:
https://www.debian.org/distrib/packages#search_contents

Debtags search (very high-level, but there are way too many packages
still untagged):
https://debtags.debian.org/

apt-file package:
https://wiki.debian.org/apt-file

> 2. There are many commands whose man pages point to using the "info"
> command. I personally find that format more annoying than useful. I would
> prefer to access the TeXInfo formatted document and convert it locally to
> desired format - usually HTML.

Yeah.  info is annoying at best, unusable for anyone that can't stomach
the emacs keybindings at worst.  Try "pinfo" from the pinfo package,
many find it to be less an annoying browser for info files than "info".
There's also tkinfo, and hopefully others will chime in and share the
names of other info browsers.

I am told that Konqueror is a decent info viewer, too (use the
"info:<full path to info file>" scheme).

That said, you can format info files en-masse to html, see if texi2html
works (YMMV).  There are cgi scripts (not packaged AFAIK) that can also
do it, etc.

> If the command is on my machine (i.e. GRUB), I can generally find the
> associated TeXInfo formatted file (usually concealed in a tarred or zipped
> file). How to search for all TeXInfo files on debian.org?

The package contents search can do an approximate match.  I just tested,
and it can find everything that ends in "info.gz" easily enough.  But it
will limit the results to the first 100 matches.

apt-file should be able to do that search.  Failing everything, look for
the "Contents-*" files in your closest Debian mirror, download them and
search using grep.

For installed packages, there's "dpkg -S", and "dgrep" (debian-goodies
package).

-- 
  Henrique Holschuh