Linux Cookbook [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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Linux Cookbook [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی

Carla Schroder

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1.1. Introduction


Documentation
for Linux programs is abundant. Finding it can be a bit challenging,
though. You're not going to find lots of sleek,
glossy printed manuals, because most Linux software is distributed
online, rather than in shiny boxed sets.

There's another difficulty, too: Linux follows the
grand Unix tradition of small, specialized programs working
cooperatively, so any Linux distribution contains a large number of
individual programs. For example, Tom's Root Boot,
"The most GNU/Linux on one floppy
disk," contains over 230 separate, individual
programs on a single 3.5" diskette. A general-purpose distribution
such as Mandrake or SuSE contains several thousand programs and there
are over 12,000 packages in the Debian repositories. While organizing
and maintaining a printed library presents some difficulties, the
good news is that all of these things are documented. Whatever you
want to know, there is a way to find it.


1.1.1 man and info: The Universal Linux Manuals


Almost every program written for Linux has a
man page. They're usually
not the best teaching tool for newbies. Their purpose is to document
the command syntax and every command option, and to be universally
available. No matter what kind of strange desert-island scenario you
may find yourself in, there will always be man pages. And because man
pages are incorporated into the programs to which they belong,
you'll find that only installed programs have man
pages and that the versions of those pages are pertinent to your
system.

info pages tend to be more verbose than man
pages and are hyperlinked. The hyperlinks navigate to the various
nodes, or chapters, inside the document and to
cross-references in other info pages. Many info pages are simply
reformatted man pages. But in some instancesprimarily the GNU
project programsthe info pages are more detailed, containing
tutorials and extensive examples.


1.1.2 Other Documentation


A large number of README,
CHANGELOGS, RELEASE NOTES, COPYRIGHT, INSTALL, integrated Help
systems, and HTML docs are going to be squirreled away in various
locations on your system. Yes, it's a jumble.
Don't worry, you'll learn easy ways
to find all these things in this chapter, including a nice Python
script to do the finding for you.

There are many web sites that host complete archives of man and info
pages, which comes in handy if your system is missing the ones you
want, or you want to read them without having to download and install
new programs. A Google search will find them quickly.

The commercial Linux
distributionsfor example, Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Xandros,
and Linspiresupply excellent user manuals. Every major Linux
distribution provides a feast of online resources. Search engines,
user mailing lists, Usenet, and all sorts of Linux web sites also
supply a wealth of help and information.


1.1.3 Graphical Viewers


There are several good graphical man
and info page viewers:

Konqueror



The web and file browser in KDE also contains an excellent man and
info page viewer. Simply type man:foo or
info:/foo in the address bar. It is easy to
print from Konqueror, and easy to select individual man or info pages
for printing.


Yelp



The Gnome viewer. Displays man and info pages, and
Gnome's help documents. It is indexed and
searchable.


Pinfo



A nice ncurses-based info and man viewer for the console. Users can
add new documents to it, and it supports regexp searches.




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