To use the online Unix manual, enter the command man, followed by the subject you want to read about. For example, to find out nearly everything there is to know about the Unix command ls, which displays the contents of a directory, type man ls in response to the system prompt.
spot> man ls
For more information on the man command itself, type
spot> man man
If you are not sure of a command name, or if man tells you No manual entry for xxxxx (where xxxxx is the name of a command you thought existed), you can try a different form of the man command. When you use the keyword option -k, it will attempt to locate any manual page that has the given keywords in its header. For example, to inquire about commands that relate to terminals, type
spot> man -k terminal
Your screen will list manual page titles that have the word terminal in their header. It will look something like this:
clear (1) - clear terminal screen ctermid (3s) - generate file name for terminal getty (8) - set terminal mode gettytab (5) - terminal configuration database lock (1) - reserve a terminal lta (4) - Local Area Terminal (LAT) service driver pty (4) - pseudo terminal driver script (1) - make typescript of terminal session
Numbers in parentheses after each command name refer to the manual section where the manual page is stored.
If you would like a hardcopy printout of a manual page, type the command:
spot> man ls | lpr -P printername
Unix manual pages are logically divided into eight sections, numbered 1 - 8. In addition, individual Unix machines may have their own sections. For example, at OIT we have a section labeled local that contains manual pages developed and installed on OIT Unix machines. Although you don't need to know which section a particular man page is in to access it, here are the topics contained in each section.
1 Commands 2 System Calls 3 Subroutines 4 Special Files 5 File Formats 7 Macro Packages and Conventions 8 System Maintenance
Occasionally two different manual pages will have the same name and exist in two different sections. An example is chown, the Unix command that changes the ownership of a file to a different user. There is a command that you can type from the command line, chown (1), and a system call you use from within a program, chown (2).
To request a manual page from a specific section, type the section number before the command name. For example, to read about chown as a system call, type
spot> man 2 chown