we need to talk about are “man” pages. Man pages stand for manual pages. What you have to remember with man pages is that if you do not understand how a command is supposed to work or what command you are supposed to run, the man pages is where you look up information about any command.
Let us say for example that you want to look up information about the ping command. What you do is you type in man followed by the command that you want to figure out. Look at the syntax of this below:
$ man ping
What this will do in Linux is it will open up a page that will describe to you the ping command and everything that you need to know about the ping command. So if you are trying to figure out how a particular command works, all you need do is type in man, a space, and then the name of the command, that will then open up a manual page for you where you will be able to read about whatever it is you want to know about that particular command.
Nowadays, in the age of the Internet, doing a simple Google search is a whole lot easier than trying to do it with the man page. However, if Internet access is down, it is good to have the man pages handy.
In Windows, the man pages is basically the old “question mark” command where it shows you the “Help” pages. The only downside about the Man pages in Linux is that it does not explain a lot of things to you. It does not make things necessarily straightforward.
So when you go to the man pages and look up the ping command, you are going to get this whole page of text that is going to tell you about the ping command. However, once you are there, you are not going to know how to get out of that page. It is not user-friendly and straightforward. You can hit the Escape key, but that is not going to do anything. You can try to hit Enter or Backspace, but they are not going to do anything, either.
In order to exit out of the man pages, you need to type in the letter “Q” for quit. When you type the letter “Q,” you will drop out of the man pages. So unless you press every key in your keyboard and experiment, you will not find out that the command to exit out of the man page is by typing the letter “Q.” As you can see, this is counter-intuitive since most people are used to pressing the Escape key in Windows to exit out of anything.
So now, let us say you want to know what the ping command is all about. Go ahead and type the command below:
$ man ping
After you type that in and press ENTER, you will see the man page for the ping command just like the one below:
Looking at the man page for the ping command, you will see the command description, and also the various options associated with the ping command. The options are basically ping command suffixes which further augment what the basic ping command can do. One example of this is typing the suffix “-t” after the ping command to continuously ping a particular host.
Now, let us say you want to know what the apt-get command is all about. Go ahead and type the command below:
$ man apt-get