man - format and display the on-line manual pages

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221
votes
7answers
34k views

What do the numbers in a man page mean?

So, for example, when I type man ls I see LS(1). But if I type man apachectl I see APACHECTL(8) and if I type man cd I end up with cd(n). I'm wondering what the significance of the numbers in the ...
69
votes
2answers
34k views

Ctrl-s hang terminal emulator?

I came across a sentence in vimdoc: Note: CTRL-S does not work on all terminals and might block further input, use CTRL-Q to get going again. and this key indeed hangs my vim. I was ...
54
votes
7answers
8k views

How to follow links in linux man pages?

Is there a way to follow the links mentioned in a man page? For example, here's the man page for ps; how do I access the link marked in red?
50
votes
8answers
4k views

How do I use man pages to learn how to use commands?

While researching another problem, I came across a command, locate something | xargs -I {} bash -c "if [ -d "{}" ]; then echo {}; fi" that I wanted to learn more about. So I ran man xargs and get ...
37
votes
3answers
8k views

Colors in Man Pages

When I look at a man page in my 'console' (not an xterm) I see some coloration, but I don't get this in my xterm's (e.g. konsole) is there any way I can enable this? hopefully a fairly simple ...
36
votes
19answers
14k views

Tricks and tips for finding information in man pages

Does anyone have any tricks and tips for finding information in man pages?
33
votes
4answers
4k views

What is GNU Info for?

I understand what GNU Info is and how to use it, but what is it for? Why does it exist in parallel to the man pages? Why not write detailed man pages rather than provide a separate utility?
28
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I add man page entries for my own power tools?

I have no idea about how I can make my home-grown specialist scripts (written mostly in Bash and Perl) available through the man pages. What procedure would I have to follow, and is there a ...
24
votes
1answer
909 views

What is the deal with mandb and stray cats?

The man page for mandb refers to stray cats: -s, --no-straycats Do not spend time looking for or adding information to the databases regarding stray cats. There is no ...
23
votes
2answers
4k views

Can I get individual man pages for the bash builtin commands? [duplicate]

Is there anywhere you can download a manpage for every builtin commands? I know you can just use help or man bash and search to find info about it, but I want them separated, so I can just do man ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do Unix man pages use double backticks in place of double quotes?

I've noticed that man pages and other documents formatted by Unix utilities often use double backticks `` followed by double single quotes '' to wrap quoted phrases instead of the double quote ...
21
votes
2answers
33k views

What units of time does “top” use?

If I issue the "top" command and receive results such as: PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND 00001 bob 25 0 77380 1212 1200 R 95.8 0.0 89122:13 fee ...
20
votes
6answers
888 views

Is there way to see `man` document only for specified option of a command

If I want to know the meaning of wget -b, I see the manual by man wget, then search the -b option. -b --background Go to background immediately after startup. If no output file is ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Reading and searching long man pages

I finally got fed up when wanting to read about bash's read and it's -s option with man bash. I found the right spot eventually (around line 4500), but it was a frustrating as usual, since both /read ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Why don't shell builtins have proper man pages?

All shell builtins share the same manual page: BUILTIN(1) BSD General Commands Manual BUILTIN(1) NAME builtin, ! etc. Then there is a little text describing ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Where is the Programmer's manpage for the open C Function?

I am using debian8 (jessie) and I went to find read the manpage for open. instead I got a warning: $ man 3 open No manual entry for open in section 3 See 'man 7 undocumented' for help when manual ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I use man without less?

By default, man uses less to output text. How can I tell it to just output to stdout? My terminal emulator has a scroll bar and search function and I want to use those instead of the arrow keys.
16
votes
1answer
694 views

How does “man” restore the screen when I quit the program?

If I open a man page of a program like cat or ls, it prints (may not be the appropriate word) the contents of the man page and when I press q, it shows the screen just like before invoking the man ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Documentation on LESS_TERMCAP_* variables?

I see these pretty colors in manpages viewed with less when setting a bunch of these variables. What do they mean, where is the documentation? Is this interpreted by less or termcap? screenshot
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you output a list of all man pages in a particular section?

A man page for fork, for example, is in the System Calls section that has number 2: man 2 fork How do you see what else is section 2 without resorting to Google?
15
votes
2answers
580 views

Open man page and search for string in a single command

Instead of doing man chmod and then /a+x to jump to the first section in the chmod man page that mentions a+x, I would like to know if there is a way to open the man page to a specific search string, ...
14
votes
1answer
316 views

Is there a way to search manpages for typical use scenario?

I have a relatively small brain, so there is a limit to what I can store up there. I have been using Linux semi-pro-amateur for a few years and still I am amazed at how little commands I know. Simple ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

What does the name of the unix command apropos mean?

Apropos is a tool to search the headers of the man pages for a string. What does the name apropos mean?
13
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between help, info and man command

I know that these command will help to get syntax and options for commands but my question is that how they differ from each other?
12
votes
2answers
860 views

What is the “2001 article” for blocking “automated retrieval programs” referred to by the wget man page?

The wget man page states this, under the section for the --random-wait parameter: Some web sites may perform log analysis to identify retrieval programs such as Wget by looking for ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Does `kill -p` really work?

In the man page of kill it is written as following SYNOPSIS kill [ -s signal | -p ] [ -a ] [ -- ] pid ... kill -l [ signal ] -p Specify that kill should only print the process id ...
11
votes
4answers
668 views

View man page of not installed package?

On Debian-based systems, can one view the man page of packages that aren't yet installed? I want to check what they are capable first, before installing them.
11
votes
3answers
309 views

Search for man pages which contain ALL of the words 'foo' 'bar' and 'baz'

I'd like to search for man pages which contain ALL of the words 'foo', 'bar' and 'baz'. If possible, I'd like to search through all text (not just name & description) of all man pages. I'm ...
10
votes
3answers
354 views

Why do some commands have man pages and other commands use --help?

Wouldn't it be more consistent if one of these always worked?
10
votes
4answers
9k views

what do I need to do with “man: can't set the locale; make sure $LC_* and $LANG are correct”

I typed man sudoers but got man: can't set the locale; make sure $LC_* and $LANG are correct No manual entry for sudoers What does this mean?
10
votes
2answers
228 views

How to open grep(1p) manpage?

At the end of man grep, it says SEE ALSO\ POSIX Programmer's Manual Page grep(1p). I am not able to open the manpage grep(1p). How do I do that? Search net, Unix.SE and did trial and ...
10
votes
1answer
229 views

Why didn't GNU Info succeed man?

As per my knowledge/understanding both help and man came at the same time or have very little time difference between them. Then GNU Info came in and from what I have seen is much more verbose, much ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Understand synopsis in manpage

I have not being able to understand the synopsis in manpage of a command. For example, let's see the manpage of man itself. By man man: SYNOPSIS man [-C file] [-d] [-D] ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

Is there a standard for writing a command synopsis?

It appears to me that everyone has their own idea on how to write a synopsis describing command usage for the end user. For example, this is the format from man grep: grep [OPTIONS] PATTERN ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

How to dump a man page?

How can I 'cat' a man page like I would 'cat' a file to get just a dump of the contents?
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Where is “showing the output of the 'ls' command vertically” documented?

I found out it's possible to show the output of the ls command vertically using the -1 switch: $ ls -1 But couldn't find it in the manual of ls. Is it a secret option?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Case insensitive search in man pages

Is there a way to search man pages case-insensitively? Using the '/' search feature matches exact case.
9
votes
3answers
9k views

Man pages for standard C and C++ libraries on Fedora 14

How do I install them? At present, man fopen gives me No manual entry for fopen. I have the compilers installed and have verified that things do build without problems. Update: This is what I got ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Find and install man file manually

I seem to be missing some man pages, notably gcc and g++. It doesn't help that I specify the section. whereis doesn't list man pages for those two, so I think they are simply not there. With Google I ...
9
votes
3answers
904 views

manpages for my kindle?

I'd like to read unix manpages on my kindle. I know I can just redirect the man output to a file and give it a .txt extension. But is there a convenient way to convert them en masse to a format with ...
9
votes
3answers
269 views

Can I force `man` to do lower case sensitive matching?

When I search man pages, the search is case sensitive, but only with regard to upper case letters. E.g., x will match x and X whereas X only matches x. This is the man-db version of man, used on ...
8
votes
4answers
195 views

Where to search for more info if I don't have Internet?

For example, I was reading setuid man page today. It says: If the effective UID of the caller is root, the real UID and saved set-user-ID are also set. I don't know what set-user-ID is. How can ...
8
votes
4answers
424 views

How do I check man pages for what single parameter of the command does?

Example: I am using tar -zxvf command but I don't know what 'x' stands for. How can I check this single parameter without having to scroll all the way through man tar?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Colored man pages not working on gentoo

I have a problem using these methods to get colors in my man pages in gentoo. I've asked already in the gentoo forums but it still doesn't work, and the comments in a bug report (Bug 184604) don't ...
8
votes
2answers
673 views

Dynamically reformatting man pages on terminal dimension changes

One common workflow of mine is to open a manual page in a terminal, then another terminal in which to test things. The man page is formatted to the initial dimensions of the first terminal. When I now ...
8
votes
3answers
817 views

Full text search for man pages

apropos works great for searching manual page names and descriptions. Is there a similar command for searching the entire contents of the manual pages?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I disable all man pages?

Specifically on a raspberry pi (running Raspbian Wheezy), but also in general, can I disable all man pages? This would mean no stored man pages, no "processing triggers for man-db", and so on and so ...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Create a manpage adressing several executable

I am packaging an application with a bunch of executable accepting roughly the same arguments. I would like to write (and provide) only one manpage with common explanations and the list of arguments. ...
7
votes
2answers
73 views

texinfo: Can I write non-english info files? Such as Chinese, and how?

Most gnu manual files use info, write a texinfo then makeinfo produces info files, it's great. Can texinfo contain non-English characters then produce non-English infos or pdfs? How can I write ...
7
votes
1answer
137 views

How should man pages be installed?

When distributing a custom utility I'll typically write a makefile that installs binaries to /usr/local by default PREFIX ?= /usr/local MANPREFIX ?= ${PREFIX}/man install: install utility ...