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MAN Pages & Useful Information

Discussion in 'Beginner Tutorials' started by Rob, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Rob

    Rob Administrator Staff Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    How to get more information with Linux

    Now we'll talk about some other commands that you will probably need in your day to day work with Linux. They make your work a little easier and give you added information about your system.

    'man' - manual pages in Linux

    The first command is 'man'. This command will show the manual for a command or program. The manual is a file that shows you how to use the command and list the different options for the command in question. You would type:

    man [the command]
    For example, if you type

    man mkdir
    The manual file for 'mkdir' will come up and give you a detailed explanation of this command.

    Managing Documentation in Linux

    The manual file for 'mkdir' is actually one of the more straight-forward ones. There are a lot that I think we're written by Harry Bigbrains and they were meant to be seen only by Richard Biggerbrain who's sitting in the cubicle next to him.

    For example, this appears in the 'man' file for 'cp'

    By default, sparse SOURCE files are detected by a crude heuristic and the corresponding DEST file is made sparse as well. That is the behavior selected by --sparse=auto. Specify --sparse=always to create a sparse DEST file whenever the SOURCE file contains a long enough sequence of zero bytes. Use --sparse=never to inhibit creation of sparse files.

    I don't know about you, but I'm going to call my lawyer. I've been assaulted by "a crude heuristic".
    If you use the command cp --help, you'll get a nutshell version of the 'cp' command.

    If you use your pipe cp --help | less, it'll be a little easier to manage.

    The 'info' format

    Typing info [command name] will get you more information on a command and is more current than most man files and perhaps a little more readable. In fact, some 'man' files will actually tell you to consult the 'info' file. The 'info' files are not always installed automatically. so you may want to consult your own version of Linux about these files.


    The word 'apropos' means pertinent to something else. There is a command that will show you all of the man page that may shed some light on a certain command. For example, if I typed:

    apropos xterm
    resize (1x) - set TERMCAP and terminal settings to current xterm window size
    xterm (1x) - terminal emulator for X
    terms (5) - database of blessed terminals for xtermset.
    xtermset (1) - change settings of an xterm

    These are all man pages related to xterm. You would then just choose one of these and type man terms for example.

    Some versions of Linux that are made for languages other than English will give you this documentation in its particular language. There are also websites that specialize in documentation in other languages. You can use your favorite Internet search engine to find Linux documentation in your own language.
    Toopz and Vitor Augusto M. Pio like this.
  2. berserker

    berserker New Member

    Oct 17, 2015
    Likes Received:

    I wrote an open source Android app which lets you browse all the man pages on the go(your smartphone) :) This might be very interesting for Linux beginners. The source of the project is on github LinuxCommandBibliotheca and the downloadable Android app is on google play com.inspiredandroid.linuxcommandbibliotheca (i'm not allowed to post links)

    Here are some screenshots of the app functions.
    screen-5.png screen-4.png screen-2.png screen-1.png

    I hope this post helps some people and maybe the one or other wants to help me continue developing the app :)

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