Re: R-alpha: Online_h**lp system -- texinfo --

Peter Dalgaard BSA (
22 Nov 1996 21:21:02 +0100

To: Martin Maechler <>
Subject: Re: R-alpha: Online_h**lp system -- texinfo --
From: Peter Dalgaard BSA <>
Date: 22 Nov 1996 21:21:02 +0100
In-Reply-To: Martin Maechler's message of Fri, 22 Nov 1996 20:26:52 +0100
Message-Id: <>

Martin Maechler <> writes:

> The only drawback which comes to my mind:
> We would have to use 'plain TeX' for math formulas instead of
> nicer/easier LaTeX.

Hmm. The Info hypertext reader usually drives me up the wall within a
few seconds (what the #%$#% is the idea of not having the arrow keys
and friends do natural things?), but the format itself really can't be
blamed for that. More of a pitfall than a drawback, the Info system
also has a tendency to lure authors into excess verbosity. People do
this with the best intentions, but who wants to wade through miles of
patient explanations of things they already know when they are in
how-to-do-x mode? 

Personally, I kind of like the brief man page structure, but they need
to be supplemented by textbooks and coherent descriptions of larger
topics (say "Using data frames", to name one topic that I've been
missing). Also, indexing is extremely important; the "rat's eye-view
of the maze" (what an excellent characterization!) effect is to a
large extent due to the absense of any kind of index.

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Blegdamsvej 3  
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     2200 Cph. N   
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph: (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (             FAX: (+45) 35327907
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