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Since Python 2.6, it seems the documentation is in the new reStructuredText format, and it doesn't seem very easy to build a Texinfo Info file out of the box anymore.

I'm an Emacs addict and prefer my documentation installed in Info.

Does anyone have Python 2.6 or later docs in Texinfo format? How did you convert them? Or, is there a maintained build somewhere out there?

I know I can use w3m or haddoc to view the html docs - I really want them in Info.

I've played with Pandoc but after a few small experiments it doesn't seem to deal well with links between documents, and my larger experiment - running it across all docs cat'ed together to see what happens - is still chugging along two days since I started it!

Two good answers

Highlighting two answers below, because SO won't allow me to accept both answers:

    • "Not programming related" - I assume you're kidding. My question is specifically about practising programming in a particular environment.
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    • Hi seth - in a sense, it did because I killed it. Two days was about enough for me to decide that it wasn't a great option. My experiments with smaller files showed it wasn't perfect. I've just started working on a rst2info project - if you (or anyone) is able to help, I'm putting it here: repo.or.cz/w/rst2info.git - it will be a bit of an uphill battle because I haven't written reStructuredText or Texinfo in my life, and TBH I have no real interest in learning it (or docutils) now.
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    • I've packaged up the Python docs as a texinfo page, and released a package on MELPA to make them easy to install. Let me know how it works for you.

Jon Waltman http://bitbucket.org/jonwaltman/sphinx-info has forked sphinx and written a texinfo builder, it can build the python documentation (I've yet done it). It seems that it will be merged soon into sphinx.

Here's the quick links for the downloads (temporary):

Steps to generate python doc in texinfo format:

Download the python source code

Download and install the sphinx-info package (in a virtualenv)

Enter in the Python/Doc directory from the python sources

Edit the Makefile, to the build target replace $(PYTHON) tools/sphinx-build.py with sphinx-build, then add this target to the makefile, pay attention, the space before echo is a TAB:

texinfo: BUILDER = texinfo
texinfo: build
    @echo "Build finished. The Texinfo files are in _build/texinfo."
    @echo "Run \`make' in that directory to run these through makeinfo" \
          "(use \`make info' here to do that automatically)."

Edit the Python/Doc/conf.py adding:

texinfo_documents = [
    ('contents', 'python', 'Python Documentation', 'Georg Brandl',
     'Python', 'The Python Programming Language', 'Documentation tools',

Then run make texinfo and it should produce the texifile in the build/texinfo directory. To generate the info file run makeinfo python.texi

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    • I've had this question open for over a year, thanks for answering it! I'd earlier spotted Jon's work (see my answer from Sep 9th) but I didn't realise he'd gotten so far. I just ran install-info python.info and now I have all the Python docs at my fingertips. Awesome!

I've packaged up the Python docs as a texinfo file.

If you're using Emacs with MELPA, you can simply install this with M-x package-install python-info.

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    • I got it working by doing: export INFOPATH=$HOME/.emacs.d/etc/info/python3:" in my .bashrc, then copying the python.info into that folder. Emacs will consolidate all such dirs into `Info-default-directories'. Note the trailing ':' in the environment variable to prevent having to specify the default directories. I also created a "dir" file in that directory that just pointed to the python submodule. Not sure if this last was necessary.

With no doubt it would be cool and challenging to generate the Python documentation on your particular Python version by yourself. Just follow EmacsWiki, or feel free to compile it locally (at Debian Jessy for Python3.4.2):

sudo apt-get install python3-sphinx
cd ~/Desktop
wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.4.2/Python-3.4.2rc1.tar.xz
tar -xf Python-3.4.2rc1.tar.xz
cd Python-3.4.2rc1/Doc/
sphinx-build -b texinfo -d build/doctrees . build/texinfo
# extra time to build
cd build/texinfo/
makeinfo python.texi
# extra time for convertation

I got this tree:

??? logging_flow.png                                                                                                           
??? Makefile                                                                                                                   
??? pathlib-inheritance.png                                                                                                    
??? python.info                                                                                                                
??? python.info-1                                                                                                              
??? python.info-10                                                                                                             
??? python.info-11                                                                                                             
??? python.info-12                                                                                                             
??? python.info-13                                                                                                             
??? python.info-14                                                                                                             
??? python.info-15                                                                                                             
??? python.info-16                                                                                                             
??? python.info-17                                                                                                             
??? python.info-18                                                                                                             
??? python.info-19                                                                                                             
??? python.info-2                                                                                                              
??? python.info-20                                                                                                             
??? python.info-21                                                                                                             
??? python.info-22                                                                                                             
??? python.info-23                                                                                                             
??? python.info-24                                                                                                             
??? python.info-25                                                                                                             
??? python.info-26                                                                                                             
??? python.info-27                                                                                                             
??? python.info-28                                                                                                             
??? python.info-29                                                                                                             
??? python.info-3                                                                                                              
??? python.info-30                                                                                                             
??? python.info-31                                                                                                             
??? python.info-32                                                                                                             
??? python.info-33                                                                                                             
??? python.info-34                                                                                                             
??? python.info-4                                                                                                              
??? python.info-5                                                                                                              
??? python.info-6                                                                                                              
??? python.info-7                                                                                                              
??? python.info-8                                                                                                              
??? python.info-9                                                                                                              
??? python.texi                                                                                                                
??? python-video-icon.png                                                                                                      
??? tulip_coro.png                                                                                                             
??? turtle-star.png

And now it is possible to review python documentation natively in Emacs by

C-u C-h i python-info RET

python-info is a filename (fourth in the tree above), and even to bookmark some arbitrary nodes for habitual and regular reviewing convenience.

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    • This is great, thanks! It looks like they fixed it since the dark ages of 2009. Given the popularity of MELPA I think Wilfred's answer will be useful to more people, so I will leave that one ticked, but if I could accept two answers I would definitely accept this one. I'll edit the description so this answer gets more visibility.
    • This is great! I noticed that there is a Makefile generated after sphinx-build, we can also use that to generate .info file (make info) and install info (make install-info)

Another "workaround" is to execute pydoc as suggested by Nikokrock directly in Emacs:

(defun pydoc (&optional arg)
  (when (not (stringp arg))
    (setq arg (thing-at-point 'word)))

  (setq cmd (concat "pydoc " arg))
  (ad-activate-regexp "auto-compile-yes-or-no-p-always-yes")
  (shell-command cmd)
  (setq pydoc-buf (get-buffer "*Shell Command Output*"))
  (switch-to-buffer-other-window pydoc-buf)
  (ad-deactivate-regexp "auto-compile-yes-or-no-p-always-yes")
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Python docs are now generated using Sphynx framework. This framework does not have texinfo output format. Currently it has:

  1. HTML
  2. latex
  3. plain text

Maybe you can get what you want using the Latex output. With the text output you will lost the cross ref.

Personnaly I prefer using pydoc when I want textual output. With Vim I have a shorcut to call pydoc and open a window with the doc for the entity under my cursor...

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    • Thanks Nikokrock. I know about Sphinx, the original question links to it. I've dug about and it doesn't seem trivial to convert LaTeX to Texinfo - Pandoc seems more promising. There seem to be a few people watching this question but yours is the only answer so far - I wonder if most Python-Emacs programmers just live without Info since 2.6?

The Ubuntu distribution provides packages pythonX.Y-doc (which include the documentation in Info format) at least since 18.04 (bionic); in 19.04 X.Y stands for 2.7, 3.7 and 3.8. The package does not have many dependencies, I assume it is possible to install it in other distributions too.

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