Wouldn't it be more consistent if one of these always worked?

  • I understand that this might have something to do with cross-platform applications, but I am curious if there are any other reasons
    – Casebash
    Sep 10, 2010 at 4:32
  • 4
    Reality is worse than you describe: many commands have full documentation in info format.
    – mouviciel
    Sep 10, 2010 at 8:22
  • 3
    you should totally make this a [feature-request]... Sep 10, 2010 at 8:52
  • 3
    @Tobias++ @Kevin I'm pretty sure Tobias is making a joke ;) Sep 11, 2010 at 21:43
  • 1
    @Kevin M: just kidding. I meant as a feature-request to the devs of unix/linux software Sep 13, 2010 at 9:46

3 Answers 3


Yes it would be more consistent. This has nothing to do with cross-platform and everything to do with developers not writing (wanting to write) documentation. a man page is documentation, --help is mostly programming in nature. I've also seen the case where man pages didn't exist because the developer didn't know how to make one, or convert the documentation from another format, sometimes this is easily remedied.

I would like to note that I wish both always worked.


I agree with @xenoterracide's answer - both would be nice...
I expect --help to report functionality and options real short.
I expect man (or info...) to describe in detail what was previously reported by --help, maybe provide some examples, background etc.


Some people do not like man pages, and write info files instead (notably GNU).


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