more is an old utility. When the text passed to it is too large to fit on one screen, it pages it. You can scroll down but not up.
Some systems hardlink
less, providing users with a strange hybrid of the two programs that looks like
more and quits at the end of the file like
more but has some
less features such as backwards scrolling. This is a result of
more compatibility mode. You can enable this compatibility mode temporarily with
LESS_IS_MORE=1 less ....
more passes raw escape sequences by default. Escape sequences tell your terminal which colors to display.
less was written by a man who was fed up with
more's inability to scroll backwards through a file. He turned
less into an open source project and over time, various individuals added new features to it.
less is massive now. That's why some small embedded systems have
more but not
less. For comparison,
less's source is over 27000 lines long.
more implementations are generally only a little over 2000 lines long.
In order to get
less to pass raw escape sequences, you have to pass it the
-r flag. You can also tell it to only pass ANSI escape characters by passing it the
most is supposed to be more than
less. It can display multiple files at a time. By default, it truncates long lines instead of wrapping them and provides a left/right scrolling mechanism. most's website has no information about
most's features. Its manpage indicates that it is missing at least a few
less features such as log-file writing (you can use
tee for this though) and external command running.
most uses strange non-vi-like keybindings.
man most | grep '\<vi.?\>' doesn't return anything so it may be impossible to put
most into a vi-like mode.
most has the ability to decompress gunzip-compressed files before reading. Its status bar has more information than
most passes raw escape sequences by default.