[TUHS] man-page style

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Sat Nov 17 03:13:18 AEST 2018

On Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 11:55:28AM -0500, Paul Winalski wrote:
> On 11/16/18, Grant Taylor via TUHS <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org> wrote:
> > On 11/15/2018 10:32 PM, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> >> The Unix manpage format is the epitome of perfection; they tell you
> >> everything you need to know, and in the right order.  Frequently I
> >> cannot recall a particular flag (but I know what it does), and it's
> >> right there at the start.
> >
> > I think man pages make a great reference.  But I don't think they are a
> > good teaching source for someone that doesn't know the material or what
> > the components are for.
> >
> I agree with Grant.  If you want to know what a particular command
> does and what its options are, man pages are fantastic.  If you are a
> new or casual user trying to find out what command(s) to use to
> accomplish a particular task, the man pages are an exercise in
> frustration and futility.  Other OSes have done a better job in that
> area (the VMS and DTSS HELP commands come to mind).  IMO ideally one
> should have both--a generalized "help" command for those trying to
> find out what command to use, and "man" as reference material.  UNIX
> and Linux have never had a proper help facility.  Or at least I never
> was able to find it.

I think there was a help at one point but it got lost.  PWB maybe?
There is still apropos which can be useful.

What helped me starting out was one of those trifold summaries of
common commands.

ls for directory listings?  Very poor choice for newbies but pleasant
once you know it is there.  Short is nice for common stuff.

I just remember a steep learning curve initially.  But you got over
it pretty quickly and then things were pleasant.  I found the Unix
docs to be great but hard to figure where things were at first. 
Once you were past that, smooth sailing.

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