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Recognize the different sections of the manual


Recognize what type of information is found in each section of the manual. In addition, be able to specify a specific section of the manual, ask to see all sections of the manual, and do a search query within the manual.


The BSD system provides useful and detailed documentation for most utilities, common configuration files, programming functions, and various procedures. These are known as manual (or man) pages and the manual may be read using the "man" command.

The manuals are categorized by various sections, usually by number but sometimes by letter or a word or other description. The standard categories are:

1 General documentation covering standard tools and utilities

2 Programmer manual pages covering system calls and definitions

3 Programmer documentation covering library functions (and subroutines)

4 Documentation covering special files, hardware devices, kernel interfaces and drivers

5 Documentation covering various binary and configuration file formats

6 Documentation for games and amusement

7 Miscellaneous documentation covering concepts and procedures not categorized in other sections.

TODO: mention "macros" and "conventions" for 7?

8 Documentation for system maintenance tools, utilities and procedures

9 Programmer documentation covering kernel interfaces and driver development

TODO: section "n" for "new commands"??

TODO: maybe give a few examples

TODO: Search order

TODO: other sections

TODO: brief intro to nroff

TODO: brief intro to cat pages (preformatted man pages)

TODO: how to see all sections?

TODO: mention man pages in other locations like from installed packages or third-party software

specify a specific section of the manual:

man section_number name
man 1 man
man 5 rc.conf

see all entries for name in the manual:

man -a name
man -a info

see all sections of the manual:

"man -a name TODO: check this

do a search query within the manual:

"man -k name "man -k info


Practice Exercises

TODO: show difference between "ed" and "ed" as an example

More information

man (1), intro(1) to intro(9), "/"

TODO: why "/" in this more information?

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