Ubuntu Logo Linux (and OS X?) has piles of cool GNU software installed. But what does it do, and how to you find out about it?If you are not a geek, do not read further. Go away and do something GUI. We’ll catch up with you later…This software is documented somewhere in your file system using a certain format called “textinfo.” This documentation has useful information in it as to how to run a program, but you have to know that you have the program (and the documentation) to begin with. For example, here is part of the documentation for “wget,” which is probably installed in your Linux computer:**Wget …**…can follow links in HTML and XHTML pages and create local versions of remote web sites, fully recreating the directory structure of the original site. This is sometimes referred to as “recursive downloading.” While doing that, Wget respects the Robot Exclusion Standard (`/robots.txt’). Wget can be instructed to convert the links in downloaded HTML files to the local files for offline viewing.I used wget a while ago to put the entire works of Charles Darwin form an on line Darwin site onto my laptop, so that I would have access to it while out in the woods away from an Internet connection.There is a utility called Tkinfo that you can install and access all of these text files. In Ubuntu or Debian, you can find it by invoking the Synaptic Package Manager and searching for (ctrl-F) “tkinfo.” If it is not installed already, pick it for installation.Or you can install it from the command line by using:
sudo apt-get install tkinfo
Then you run it by typing tkinfo into a command line. You will get this funky user interface that allows you to navigate around the textinfo files. Documentation on how to use this is here, though you probably won’t need the documentation.Here’s some cool stuff I found out playing with this:I have a utility installed that will run my ipod. I did not know that.Finally, this is where the documentation for the Debian menu system is. I’d been looking for that!!! Ed is installed on my system. Get it outta here!!!Alas, Yorick is also installed on my system. Now I know where the documentation for it is. A lot of this information is available using “man” with the name of the program. But you need to know the program is there, first. Plus, not all of this info is in man, but rather, stuffed away into some obscure directory (where we can’t hurt ourselves with it, I am guessing).Have fun.