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How do I read manual pages (man)?

One good way to find information about particular programs or commands on Athena is to read the manual pages with the "man" command. Type:

man program

at your athena% prompt, where program is the name of the command you are curious about. For example,

man zwrite

tells you how the zwrite command works, what arguments it accepts, and some known bugs.

Another good tool is the apropos command. If you type

apropos keyword

a list of all man pages that contain keyword in their name field will be returned. For example, if you type

apropos zwrite

You'll get this output:

  xzwrite (1)             - X application to write to another user via Zephyr
  zwrite (1)              - write to another user via Zephyr
  xzwrite (1)          - X application to write to another user via Zephyr

You can then use man to view the manual page for the specific command you want. You can also type

man man

to get more information on how man works.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

December 16, 2010

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