help in gnome (yelp)

Ken Moffat zarniwhoop at
Thu Sep 23 06:25:07 PDT 2010

 I used to build yelp as a matter of course.  Up to 2.24 it worked
when I needed it.  In 2.28, it didn't - eventually I discovered it
had broken for me in 2.26 but I hadn't noticed.  So, I figured I
probably didn't need it, and for a while I stopped building it (let
me drop xulrunner, with its nasty static linkage, which was an
absolute joy ;).  But, from time to time the help docs would be
useful, so I gave it another try.

 I had (mis)understood from the debian packaging that yelp using
webkit had been merged upstream after 2.28 - in fact, it's still a
separate branch, so I've grabbed the 2.30 version of
yelp_2.30.1+webkit from debian.

 I note that rarian is *required*, which was certainly my experience
with earlier versions, although the book says otherwise ?

 With the webkit version of epiphany installed, the help for
gnumeric worked.  This is one of the main areas where I might need
the help, so I was encouraged to continue.  Unfortunately, nothing
else had working help: epiphany reported "could not display help,
operation not supported", gcalctool and gucharmap gave similar
messages.  Trying to open yelp's own help reported
 The requested URI "ghelp:user-guide#yelp" is invalid

 A lucky break while trying to google for this (looking for "help"
or "gnome help" or even "gnome-help" just creates a sea of noise)
led me to gnome-user-docs as a runtime dependancy.  Adding that lets
yelp display its own help, but didn't do anything for any of the
other applications.

 Looking in yelp's user guide, it can be invoked from the command
line in two ways.  As an example of the first,
 yelp file:///usr/share/gnome/help/epiphany/en_GB/epiphany.xml
: works, but is a bit of a long-winded way to get there (in
particular, you need to look at the installed locales - some put the
English text in .../C/).

 The second is 'yelp ghelp:epiphany' - this just reports an invalid
URI, so I guess it is what the internal links are failing to do.

 Using strace was somewhat less than useful for this (like most
problems with desktop apps).  I've now got help working if I
absolutely have to read it, but I'd appreciate any suggestions for
what I might be missing.  Perhaps one of the gnome desktop packages.

das eine Mal als Tragödie, das andere Mal als Farce

More information about the blfs-support mailing list