Man pages (abbreviation for "manual pages") are the extensive documentation that comes preinstalled with almost all substantial UNIX-like operating systems, including Arch Linux. The command used to display them is Template:Codeline.
In spite their scope, man pages are designed to be self-contained documents, consequentially limiting themselves to referring to another man page when it comes to related subjects. This is a sharp contrast with the hyperlink-aware info files, GNU's attempt at replacing the traditional man page format.
Whilst the Template:Codeline utility allows users to display man pages, a problem arises when one knows not the exact name of the desired manual page in the first place! Fortunately, the Template:Codeline or Template:Codeline options can be used to search the manual page descriptions for instances of a given keyword. For example, to search for man pages related to "password":
$ man -k password
$ man --apropos password
This is equivalent to calling the Template:Codeline command:
$ apropos password
The given keyword is interpreted as a regular expression by default.
Colored man pages
For some users, color-enabled man pages allow for a clearer presentation and easier digestion of the content. Given that users new to Linux are prone to spend a considerable amount of time familiarizing themselves with basic userspace tools, setting up a comfortable environment is a necessity to most.
There are two prevalent methods for achieving colored man pages: using Template:Codeline, or opting for Template:Codeline. The former is simpler to configure, at the expense of the advanced functionality that is native to Template:Codeline.
First method: using 'most'
# pacman -S most
Edit Template:Filename, uncomment the pager definition and change it to:
DEFINE pager most -s
Test the new setup by typing:
$ man whatever_man_page
% Color settings color normal lightgray black color status yellow blue color underline yellow black color overstrike brightblue black
Another example showing keybindings similar to Template:Codeline (jump to line is set to 'J'):
% less-like keybindings unsetkey "^K" unsetkey "g" unsetkey "G" unsetkey ":" setkey next_file ":n" setkey find_file ":e" setkey next_file ":p" setkey toggle_options ":o" setkey toggle_case ":c" setkey delete_file ":d" setkey exit ":q" setkey bob "g" setkey eob "G" setkey down "e" setkey down "E" setkey down "j" setkey down "^N" setkey up "y" setkey up "^Y" setkey up "k" setkey up "^P" setkey up "^K" setkey page_down "f" setkey page_down "^F" setkey page_up "b" setkey page_up "^B" setkey other_window "z" setkey other_window "w" setkey search_backward "?" setkey bob "p" setkey goto_mark "'" setkey find_file "E" setkey edit "v"
Second method: using 'less'
Alternatively, getting an approximate coloured result in manual pages with Template:Codeline is also a possibility. This method has the advantage that Template:Codeline has a bigger feature set than Template:Codeline, and that might be the preference for advanced users.
export LESS_TERMCAP_mb=$(printf "\e[1;37m") export LESS_TERMCAP_md=$(printf "\e[1;37m") export LESS_TERMCAP_me=$(printf "\e[0m") export LESS_TERMCAP_se=$(printf "\e[0m") export LESS_TERMCAP_so=$(printf "\e[1;47;30m") export LESS_TERMCAP_ue=$(printf "\e[0m") export LESS_TERMCAP_us=$(printf "\e[0;36m")
To customize the colors, see Wikipedia:ANSI escape code for reference.
Reading man pages with a browser
$ yaourt -S man2html
Now, convert a man page:
$ man bash | man2html -compress -cgiurl man$section/$title.$section$subsection.html > ~/man/bash.html
Another use for Template:Codeline is exporting to raw, printer-friendly text:
$ man bash | man2html -bare > ~/bash.txt
Man also has the ability to do this on its own:
$ man -H bash
This will read your
BROWSER environment variable to determine the browser. You can override this by passing the binary to the -H option.