pinfo – Read Linux Info Documentation in Colors

You can display man pages in colors. Similarly, you can display info pages in colors. The info command is used under Linux or Unix to read multipage documentation and act as help viewer working on a command line interface, useful when there is no GUI available on the server. The info command processes info files. All info files are are in Texinfo format. You get the documentation tree. pinfo is a little known tool that can display info pages in colors.

We can install pinfo on Linux and Unix-like systems such as FreeBSD or macOS.

Install pinfo

First, update and patch your Debian or Ubuntu machine. Type:
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
nixfaq[failed to get contents] - contact @ webmaster@cyberciti.biz with the url. if a new Linux kernel installed using the reboot command or shutdown command:
# reboot
Next, type the following apt-get command to install (or apt command the pinfo under Debian / Ubuntu Linux, enter:
# apt-get install pinfo
Sample outputs:

[sudo] password for vivek: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  pinfo
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 78.7 kB of archives.
After this operation, 250 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://in.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu focal/universe amd64 pinfo amd64 0.6.13-1 [78.7 kB]
Fetched 78.7 kB in 2s (48.2 kB/s)                      
Selecting previously unselected package pinfo.
(Reading database ... 335496 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../pinfo_0.6.13-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking pinfo (0.6.13-1) ...
Setting up pinfo (0.6.13-1) ...
Processing triggers for install-info (6.7.0.dfsg.2-5) ...
Processing triggers for man-db (2.9.1-1) ...

FreeBSD unix user can use the port as follows install the same:
# cd /usr/ports/misc/pinfo/ && make install clean
We can also use the pkg command as follows under FreeBSD for binary package:
$ sudo pkg install pinfo

CentOS/RHEL 8.x and Fedora Linux

Use the dnf command to install pinfo:
$ sudo dnf install pinfo

Arch Linux install pinfo

Execute the pacman command:
$ sudo pacman -S pinfo

OpenSUSE/SUSE Enterprise Linux

We can use the zypper command as follows:
$ sudo zypper in pinfo

macOS install pinfo

Make sure you install Homebrew on macOS to use the brew package manager and then type:
$ brew install pinfo

How do I use pinfo command?

The syntax is as follows:
$ pinfo page
$ pinfo command

To read bash info page, enter:
$ info bash

Fig.01 – Linux info command read online documentation

To read bash info page using pinfo viewer, enter:
$ pinfo bash
Linux pinfo: curses based colorful lynx-style info browser

Fig.02: pinfo in action

Examples

To create the alias use the following syntax and add alias to your ~/.bashrc file :
$ alias info='pinfo'
You can use the following keys to move between various pages:

  1. n goes to the next page.
  2. p goes to the previous page.
  3. u goes to the upper page.
  4. To follow a cross reference, the cursor can be moved over a link (a word preceded by a *) and enter pressed.
  5. q exit pinfo.

To see top-level dir menu:
$ pinfo

Summing up

pinfo is user-friendly, console-based viewer for Info documents under Linux, FreeBSD and Unix-like systems. The pinfo has many options, see man page for more information using the info command/man command or

nixcmd[name_missing] - contact @ webmaster@cyberciti.biz with the url

:
$ man pinfo
$ pinfo pinfo
$ pinfo --help

Usage: info [OPTION]... [MENU-ITEM...]
 
Read documentation in Info format.
 
Frequently-used options:
  -a, --all                    use all matching manuals
  -k, --apropos=STRING         look up STRING in all indices of all manuals
  -d, --directory=DIR          add DIR to INFOPATH
  -f, --file=MANUAL            specify Info manual to visit
  -h, --help                   display this help and exit
      --index-search=STRING    go to node pointed by index entry STRING
  -n, --node=NODENAME          specify nodes in first visited Info file
  -o, --output=FILE            output selected nodes to FILE
  -O, --show-options, --usage  go to command-line options node
      --subnodes               recursively output menu items
  -v, --variable VAR=VALUE     assign VALUE to Info variable VAR
      --version                display version information and exit
  -w, --where, --location      print physical location of Info file
 
The first non-option argument, if present, is the menu entry to start from;
it is searched for in all 'dir' files along INFOPATH.
If it is not present, info merges all 'dir' files and shows the result.
Any remaining arguments are treated as the names of menu
items relative to the initial node visited.
 
For a summary of key bindings, type H within Info.

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

4 comments… add one
  • Anonymous Mar 29, 2021 @ 11:22

    Thank you for this!

  • Shrikanya Ghatak May 22, 2021 @ 18:32

    Is this valid for desktop only? I tried this on aws ec2. Did not work.

    • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) Vivek Gite May 23, 2021 @ 11:52

      No. It should work with remote server too. May i know your terminal name?

    • Anonymous Jul 10, 2023 @ 20:52

      Are you using Amazon Linux 2 or 3?

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