Inverted manpages? - programs listed by function?

Freddie Cash fcash-ml at
Wed Jul 19 15:46:05 UTC 2006

On Wed, July 19, 2006 7:00 am, Derek Broughton wrote:
> gabrielle harrison and Paul van den Bergen wrote:
>> One of the things that I have always found frustrating with
>> computers, and especially when one starts with a new OS or
>> programming language, is the mismatch between knowing something is
>> possible and how to do it.
>> for example, man or info pages give detailed instructions on how to
>>  configure a program. Alabi they do assume you know already what
>> the terms all mean, but still it's useful.
>> Howto documents tell you how to achieve a certain thing - usually
>> in specific detail.
>> between teh two I see a big need. A reverse lookup table, listing
>> by function, all the programs that could be appropriate with a
>> description of what they do (a many to many list, as it were)
> To a (limited) degree, that's what apropos does - a program that's
> been around since the dawn of Unix (approximately).  Admittedly, it
> only works for programs you already have installed - but so does
> "man".

Apropos is a synonym for "man -k".  They do the same thing (except man
-k is a lot easier to type).

Freddie Cash, LPCI-1 CCNT CCLP        Helpdesk / Network Support Tech.
School District 73                    (250) 377-HELP [377-4357]
fcash-ml at

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