man - format and display the on-line manual pages

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105
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
37
votes
6answers
5k 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?
23
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
22
votes
18answers
3k views

Tricks and tips for finding information in man pages

Does anyone have any tricks and tips for finding information in man pages?
22
votes
4answers
2k 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?
20
votes
2answers
958 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k 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.
17
votes
6answers
514 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
528 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
274 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
308 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
897 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?
11
votes
2answers
1k 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
3answers
283 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
2answers
995 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?
9
votes
2answers
3k 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?
9
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
189 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
468 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.
8
votes
3answers
217 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?
8
votes
2answers
465 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
6k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
607 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?
8
votes
1answer
373 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
7
votes
4answers
1k 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?
7
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
243 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?
7
votes
1answer
172 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
680 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] ...
7
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
760 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
926 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
61 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
3answers
97 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
165 views

Where should I install manual pages in user directory?

I'm trying to create a Makefile for a small Perl utility I wrote, And I'm struggling to find out a way to find where to install my man page when make is run as a non-root user. I'm currently parsing ...
6
votes
1answer
133 views

Nested lists in man page

I have a command line parameter that takes a number of flags afterwards, which I would like to have as a list inside the parameter list in the man page. Currently I am simply making lines of Flag - ...
6
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
467 views

Why does `man -k cron` say `vixie-cron (rpm)` for some results, and how do I read those pages?

I'm trying to find out some details regarding cron and /etc/cron.d/ on a RedHat system. Ironically, my answer is viewable within the vixie-cron-*.src.rpm for this package, but the the man pages for ...
6
votes
1answer
392 views

Emacs mode for man pages

I'm translating man pages, and have run in to a few problems with Emacs. How do you specify language? (With man, it looks like this man -Lsv shutdown for the Swedish "sv" subdirectory, if ...
6
votes
1answer
241 views

Call man in bash shell for command under cursor

In zsh I can do Esc h for any command, get man page for this command, quit from the man pager and get my command back with all arguments. For example in my shell is entered: zsh# tar -czvf docs.tgz ...
5
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
184 views

What is the name of the formatting output from man?

Output from man command have bold and underline text that is recoginzed by less like H\x08HE\x08EL\x08LL\x08LO\x08O display HELLO or H\x08_E\x08_L\x08_L\x08_O\x08_ as underline HELLO what is the ...
5
votes
3answers
623 views

How to disable styling on man pages?

Is there an easy way to turn off all styling on man pages? Colors, bold, italics, everything... If not, what is an uneasy way?
5
votes
2answers
207 views

Is there a archive of old man pages? specifically for the features available for grep in early 'ed'

This is just a bit of history rummaging... I'd like to know how different today's grep is to the original implementation, introduced by Ken Thompson in ed. which evolved to ex, which then became vi... ...
5
votes
2answers
351 views

How to print (part of) a man page?

The question is: how do you print only part of a man page? Currently I do zcat manpage.1.gz | vim - and just remove everything I don't want to print. Then I pass that through groff and lpr. Are there ...
5
votes
1answer
276 views

What tools allow me to present man pages as formatted HTML on a web server?

What tools exist to make man pages available on a system available via HTTP and link topics together such that references in the SEE ALSO sections and elsewhere will become hyperlinks in the HTML ...
5
votes
2answers
366 views

How to control the page parameters (margins, brochurisation) of `man -t` PostScript output?

I want to print several man pages as several booklets. I need to tweak the output of the man -t command so the resulting PostScript file will have the brochurised page numbering, pages must be ...
4
votes
3answers
107 views

Specify the sector of manpage

When man declare in bash, I get the manpage of declarein sql. But I would like to get the manage of declare in shell. How can I do that?