The UNIX Manual Page system is the major source of details on the components of the UNIX system. You can display articles from the manual when you are logged in to your UNIX account using SSH or a terminal program from a workstation. For example, to display the article about mail, type
% man mail
The Manual Page system is divided into several sections:
The articles in the first section are about commands (actually programs) run from the shell such as:
|cat||—||concatenates files (and just prints them out)|
|cp||—||make a copy of a file|
|finger||—||user information lookup program|
|grep||—||search a file for a pattern|
|ls||—||lists file names in a directory|
|—||send and receive mail|
|more||—||program for file perusal on a crt|
|mv||—||move or rename a file|
|tset||—||set terminal modes|
|who||—||who is on the system|
|write||—||write to another user|
UNIX documentation often refers the reader to articles in the manual with references of the form:
Here `ms' is the name or topic of the article and `(7)' indicates that it's in section seven (7) of the manual. To display the referenced article, type:
man 7 ms
For articles in section one (1) you do not have to specify the section number. For example to display mail(1), type:
To find articles relating to a topic of interest, type:
man -k keyword
The -k option retrieves a list of articles relevant to ``keyword''.
Within articles square brackets are used to denote optional parts of commands; elipses (...) are used to indicate that the previous element may be repeated. For example, the synopsis for the rm command looks like:
rm [ -fri ] file ...
This indicates that rm has three options (f, r, and i) which may be used if desired, but which are not mandatory. Since the filename part of the command is not in brackets, it must appear. The "..." means that more than one filename may be typed. When options are used the brackets are not typed. The following are valid examples indicated by the synopsis for the rm command:
rm xyz rm chap1 chap2 chap3 rm -f m.test rm -ri bird call.c zoo
Printing man pages on a laser printer can done in the following manner. For example to print the man page about Grep, type:
man grep | col -b | lpr -Plaser1
IMPORTANT: Use "col -b" as shown when sending to a laser printer. Otherwise the output of the man command can be misinterpreted by a laser printer as a binary file. Binary files are automatically rejected by the printer. The misinterpretation is caused by the overstrike backspaces used by man to simulate underlining and bold type. These overstrike characters need to to filtered out before being sent to the laser printer. The "col" filter will perform this function.
†please note that when printing to an ACMS managed laser printer you must have a laser printing account from which printing charges will be deducted.