newbie: man date: 1.10.98 We will start off with perhaps one of the basic ways that you can raise your technical knowledge in the unix world. Unlike many of the more widely used desktop operating systems, Unix comes with an invaluable resource for getting more information on each command you have at your disposal. That resource is called the "man pages". Each flavor of unix will come with the utility 'man' and should be used extensively. Once logged into a unix account, you can type "man man" to get more information on this utility. You will see a nicely formatted page of instructions on how to use the 'man' command. You may have difficulty understanding the man pages. The man pages are usually written by the author of the program who has a very logical and technical mind. This means that the man pages may often read like a very dry text book. Don't be discouraged as you read and experiment, it gets easier. You may ask "how do I know which commands to learn more about?" The 'man' utility comes with a feature that helps you find what you are looking for. Lets try the "man man" command, and see what other pages are available to help us. We will use the "-k" option with 'man'. This option instructs 'man' to show matching keywords. flatland ~$ man -k manual catman (8) - create the cat files for the manual man (1) - display reference manual pages man (7) - macros to format Reference Manual pages route (8C) - manually manipulate the routing tables whereis (1) - locate the binary, source, and manual page flatland ~$ Notice that we got several matching results for the word "manual". Now, the trick is to display the right page. There are two 'man' pages, each with a different number. To select one over the other, we will use the number with the 'man' command. For example: man 7 man This will display the 'man (7)' page about "macros to format Reference Manual pages". man 1 man (or just 'man man' as it defaults to '1') will display the original page, about "display reference manual pages". Throughout these files we will teach you various commands to help navigate a Unix system. Even though the files may seem overly comprehensive, we encourage you to continually reference the man pages for more information on each utility. Unix is robust with many additional command options that make it a flexible and powerful Operating System.
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