4.2. Man Pages

Man pages are an essential part of any Linux system. They explain the usage of a command and all available options and parameters. Man pages are sorted in categories as shown in Table 4.1, “Man Pages—Categories and Descriptions” (taken from the man page for man itself).

Table 4.1. Man Pages—Categories and Descriptions

Number

Description

1

Executable programs or shell commands

2

System calls (functions provided by the kernel)

3

Library calls (functions within program libraries)

4

Special files (usually found in /dev)

5

File formats and conventions (/etc/fstab)

6

Games

7

Miscellaneous (including macro packages and conventions), for example, man(7), groff(7)

8

System administration commands (usually only for root)

9

Kernel routines (nonstandard)

Generally, man pages are delivered with the associated command. They can be browsed in the help center or directly in a shell. To display a man page in a shell, use the man command. For example, to display the man page for ls enter man ls. Each man page consists of several parts labeled NAME, SYNOPSIS, DESCRIPTION, SEE ALSO, LICENSING, and AUTHOR. There may be additional sections available depending on the type of command. With Q, exit the man page viewer.

Another possibility to display a man page is to use Konqueror. Start Konqueror and type, for example, man:/ls. If there are different categories for a command, Konqueror displays them as links.