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Re: makeinfo with gdb.texinfo
One could argue that there is a fundamental difference between a shell and other programs: the shell executes programs; most others treat their arguments as input files. In the context of a shell, it makes sense to apply a search path to prevent users from accidentally executing the wrong program. You will note that it is not necessary to run `gdb ./a.out' to debug a program of that name in the current working directory. In the case of Info, the behaviour you describe creates, in practice, more problems than it solves.
Um, it is acknwledged that GDB's behavior is confusing. Something as
$ gdb program
can lead to GDB debugging the wrong program. Hmm, security hole.