Linux Documentation


Hi everybody!

This time let’s talk about something that every single Linux user – from the typical user to the system admin – almost use it everyday !!

Wow !! That’s cool. But, What is it?

Yeah as the title tels you, “Linux Documentation”.

So, What is the Linux Documentation? why we use it rapidly? and how to use it? that is what this post about.
We will not cover all Documentation tools in this post, but it will be followed by other posts to describe the next tools isA.

1)Man Pages.

First of all, let’s go back in time. To the early days of Unix. There was so many developers who are developing new applications for the Unix and even develop in the Unix itself ! Yes, Unix was a free software in it’s early days.

So, people wanted to create a standard that all developers use to make documentation for there programs and for the developers of the Operating System itself to make documentation for the every single piece of the Operating System. That’s when they invented Man Pages (Manual Pages).

Yes, Man Pages are there from the early days of Unix. And Linux keeps using it Because it became a standard for documentation in all Unix Like Operating Systems.
Now let’s start our tour in Linux Documentation by the Man Pages.

  • Man pages files are stored under


  • To view the man page for any Command (program) just invoke

#man [command]


#man ls

  • That is how the man page looks like.


  • Navigation through the page is simple
  • ↑↓←→  to scroll (up – down – left – right) through the page.
  • (Page up, Page down, Home, End) to scroll one page (up – down), go to the (top – end) of the man page.
  • Press “q” to quit the man page.
  • Press “h” for complete help about man pages.
  • You also can use the Man page self documentation page

#man man

Now, let’s dive in deeper in Man Pages.
Man Pages doesn’t only document user commands, It’s documenting Everything !!

Yes, it does. So, Man Pages categorizes the Documentation into eight different categories to ease the use of the documentation. and these Categories are :-

  1. User Commands
  2. System Calls
  3. Subroutines (C library functions)
  4. Special Files
  5. File Formats and Protocols
  6. Games
  7. Macros and Conventions (Miscellaneous)
  8. System Administration Commands and daemons
  9. Kernel  routines

There some more categories like

  • (0) C library header files
  • (p) POSIX specifications
  • (x) X Window System documentation
  • (n) Tcl/Tk keywords

To search on a specific category use

#man [category number] [command]


#man 1 passwd          —–> view the man page about the (passwd) command.

#man 5 passwd          —–> view the man page about the (/etc/passwd) configuration file.

To view all man pages about a keyword

man -a [keyword]


man -a passwd

That will show the first matching man page, then after you press “q” to quit, it will show you the next matching page …..etc.

Now I will leave you get familiar with Man Pages. and in the next post – isA – we will talk about the next documentation tool in Linux.


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4 Responses to “Linux Documentation”

  1. Thirumoorthi Says:

    Dear All,

    We have installed the windows 2003 Server but we need to install the SAP GUI Linux client for the client side. So any prerequisite needed the SAP GUI Linux install. Please help me for this issue.

    Best Regards,

  2. didooofidooo Says:

    SAP GUI runs mainly under Windows, but there is a (SAP GUI for Java) which runs under Linux, Mac, IBM AIX, HP HP-UX, and SUN Solaris.
    So what you need is to install (SUN Java Runtime Environment) on your Linux machine first.
    By the way the (SAP GUI for Java) has some limitations than the (SAP GUI for Windows), but it’s cross-platform 😀
    I hope that helps.

  3. Mike Says:

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

  4. How to Get Six Pack Fast Says:

    Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected when I stumpled upon a link on Digg telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

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