Inverted manpages? - programs listed by function?

Freddie Cash fcash-ml at
Wed Jul 19 17:30:23 UTC 2006

On Wed, July 19, 2006 10:08 am, Derek Broughton wrote:
> Freddie Cash wrote:
>> On Wed, July 19, 2006 7:00 am, Derek Broughton wrote:
>>> 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).

> Doh!  I guess I never learned that because "apropos" is easier to
> type (honestly :-) ).

The other nice thing about doing it with man, is that you start to use
the other options, like "man -f <keyword>" that lists all the man
pages with <keyword> in the name, along with a short description
(useful if you know the name of the command, but it has man pages in
multiple sections and you aren't sure which section you need).  This
gives the same results as running "whatis".

Or "man -a <keyword>" which will show you all the man pages with
<keyword> in the name, one after the other (like reading a book with

Man is a very useful tool (I'll never understand why the GNU people
decided it needed to be replaced, or how they came up with info as a

  $ man -k mail
mailaddr (7)         - mail addressing description
mailcap (5)          - metamail capabilities file
mailcap.order (5)    - the mailcap ordering specifications
mailmail (1) [mailmail2.3] - Twisted sendmail compatibility script
mailmail2.3 (1)      - Twisted sendmail compatibility script
mailname (5)         - the visible mail name of the system
mailq (1)            - Postfix to Sendmail compatibility interface
mailshar (1)         - GNU sharutils
mailstat (1)         - shows mail-arrival statistics
mailx (1)            - send and receive mail
<and so on and so forth>

  $ man -f mail
mail (1)             - send and receive mail
Mail (1)             - send and receive mail

  $ man -a mail
<shows man page for mail(1) then man page for Mail(1)>

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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