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Learning the Unix Operating System

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7. Where to Go from Here

7.1 Standard UNIX Documentation

Now that you've come to the end of this guide, you might want to know the options to the commands we've introduced and the many other UNIX commands. You're now ready to consult your system's documentation.

Different system manufacturers have adapted UNIX documentation in different ways. However, almost all UNIX documentation is derived from a manual originally called the UNIX Programmer's Manual . One section you'll want to consult is the one that lists general UNIX commands like who and ls . There's probably another section with tutorials and extended documentation.

Many UNIX installations (especially larger systems with plenty of disk space) have individual manual pages stored on the computer; users can read them online.

If you want to know the correct syntax for entering a command or the particular features of a program, enter the command man and the name of the command. The syntax is:

man command

For example, if you want to find information about the program mail , which allows you to send messages to other users, you would enter:

% 

man mail


	.
	.
%

The output of man may be filtered through the more command automatically. If it isn't, just pipe the output of man to more (or pg ).

After you enter the command, the screen will fill up with text. Press [SPACE] or [RETURN] to read more.

Some systems also have a command called apropos or man k to help you locate a command if you have an idea of what it does but are not sure of its correct name. Enter apropos followed by a descriptive word; you'll get a list of commands that might help.

Linux systems, and many other systems, may also have a command called info . It serves the same purpose as man : to document system commands. The info output is in a different format, though. The syntax to start info is:

info command

For example, if you want to find information about the program find , which searches for files, you would enter info find . After you enter the command, the screen will fill up with text. Press [SPACE] to read more or "q" to quit.


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