HPC man command

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The Linux man command

The man command may be the single most useful command on any Linux or Unix system, because it gives detailed information about nearly any command, package, or library on the system.

When you enter a man something command, it will show you a page of text, then ask you what to do next with a : prompt. Press the q key to quit. Press the space bar to continue. Press the b key to backup a page. Press the h key to get a list of other ways to move around in the file.

Just enter man and it will ask you what manual you want:

$ man
What manual page do you want?

Enter man man and, of course, it will tell you about itself:

$ man man

man(1)                                                                  man(1)

NAME
       man - format and display the on-line manual pages

SYNOPSIS
       man  [-acdfFhkKtwW]  [--path]  [-m  system] [-p string] [-C config_file] [-M pathlist] [-P pager] [-B
       browser] [-H htmlpager] [-S section_list] [section] name ...
... and so on ...

Enter man ls and it will tell you about the ls command:

$ man ls
LS(1)                            User Commands                           LS(1)

NAME
       ls - list directory contents

SYNOPSIS
       ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

...

The man command has many options, but most people won't use many of them. The -k option will search for keywords to help you find a command when you don't know what it's called:

$ man -k compiler
B(3pm)                   - The Perl Compiler
B(3pm)                   - The Perl Compiler Backend
B::Deparse(3pm)          - Perl compiler backend to produce perl code
...

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