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Ubuntu Unleashed 2013 Edition: Covering 12.10 and 13.04, Eighth Edition by Matthew Helmke

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Reading Manual Pages with man

Time for a much-needed mental break: The man command is easy to use. Most people use only the topic argument, like this: man gcc. However, two other commands work closely with man that are very useful: whatis and apropos.

The whatis command returns a one-line description of another command, which is the same text you get at the top of that command’s man page. For example:

matthew@seymour:~$  whatis lsls    (1) - list directory contents

The output explains what ls does but also provides the man page section number for the command so you can query it further.

The apropos command takes a search string as its parameter and returns all man pages that match the search. For example, apropos mixer returns this list:

alsamixer ...

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