912: Manual Override
Title text: I think you mean 'GNU Info Override'.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Wiki links are missing on further explain on man pages and GNU info pages..|
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This comic makes fun of a trend in documentation for UNIX-like systems, specifically those that use the open source GNU toolchain.
Historically, UNIX systems had a way to access descriptions of the available programs: the "man" (from "manual") command. Typing "man program-name" would output a detailed text, called a "man page", describing the program's functionality, available command-line options, a list of related programs, etc. For many GNU-based programs, however, the output of "man program-name" will be very brief, mainly directing the user to invoke a GNU-specific information system (GNU Info), thus rendering the man page useless and annoying for the user.
In this comic, it appears that the plane's pilot is attempting to read the man page for the Emergency Override System, in an effort to land the plane safely. However, the Emergency Override System's man page has hardly any useful information at all, costing the pilot precious seconds he could be using to save the lives of his passengers. Instead of simply getting the information from the man page, the pilot has to go to the GNU info page for the override system. By the time he types the command in, it'll probably be too late.
- [A plane is in a nosedive with smoke pouring from one wing. Text comes from someone reading in the cockpit.]
- "This is the emergency override system, which can be used to regain control of the aircraft.
- Complete instructions for activating this system are available as a GNU info page."