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Old 02-01-2011, 03:28 AM   #1
AlexTee
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Question Help understanding Linux command synopsis notation.


Hi,

I've recently started learning linux OS, and the most confusing for me is the notation in man pages or command synopsis. I was looking for some kind of guide describing it, but couldn't find any. Thing get even worse when there is no standard notation and it looks different from one command to another.

In other words, I just want to understand what all these brackets '[ ]', dots like '...' pipelines '|', italic or UPPERCASE words, etc mean at all.

I can't tell the difference between [DIRECTORY...] and [FILE]... What does it mean when there are three dots inside the brackets or outside of them?

And so on...

To conclude, all I need is a comprehensive description for the notation syntax adopted in linux world.

Any help appreciated!
Thanks ahead!

Last edited by AlexTee; 02-01-2011 at 03:30 AM.
 
Old 02-01-2011, 03:58 AM   #2
jeethu
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You don't need to understand those things. Just practice with simple commands for now. Then go for options.So at that time you will be knowing the advanced stuffs
 
Old 02-01-2011, 03:59 AM   #3
acid_kewpie
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The dots are just ellipsis, just like you'd use them in language in general. There is no significance where they are in relation to brackets, things aren't that strict. people put things in brackets to show that that's something you need to replace / fill in, and not literal text. A directory means a folder, and a file is a file... not sure what's not to undersatnd about that to be honest.
 
Old 02-01-2011, 07:01 AM   #4
AlexTee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acid_kewpie View Post
A directory means a folder, and a file is a file... not sure what's not to undersatnd about that to be honest.
I've just copied those options from different commands as they appeared in help. My concern was those dots, but not the folder or file, whose meaning is quite straightforward.
 
Old 02-01-2011, 07:02 AM   #5
AlexTee
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Anyway, if there exists a doc explaining all that stuff thoroughly, please post me a link to it.

Thank you!
 
Old 02-01-2011, 07:43 AM   #6
evo2
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I remember having trouble reading man pages when I first started using unix. One thing that took me a while to realise was the following:

Square brackes like
Code:
somecommand [file]
indicates that the argument is optional, a
Code:
somecommand file
indicates that the argument must be supplied.

HTH,

Evo2.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-01-2011, 08:05 AM   #7
onebuck
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Hi,

Welcome to LQ!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexTee View Post
Anyway, if there exists a doc explaining all that stuff thoroughly, please post me a link to it.

Thank you!
You can look at this example: #5
LQ member took some time to respond for a similar query. Good example! LQ Search would have gotten the link.

Just a few links to aid you to gaining some understanding;



1 Linux Documentation Project
2 Rute Tutorial & Exposition
3 Linux Command Guide
4 Bash Beginners Guide
5 Bash Reference Manual
6 Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
7 Linux Newbie Admin Guide
8 LinuxSelfHelp
9 Utimate Linux Newbie Guide
10 Linux Home Networking
11 Virtualiation- Top 10

The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!
 
Old 02-01-2011, 11:32 AM   #8
AlexTee
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Hi, onebuck! Thanks for welcoming

The post you mentioned is quite helpful! In fact I've searched thru this forum a lot before opening the thread, but I couldn't find it. Up to now I've read LDP beginners' guide as well as Slackbook 2.0, but wasn't really satisfied with the short info these books contain regarding the topic. Ok, looks like I have to practice more and things will get clearer by time!
Thank again!
 
Old 02-01-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
onebuck
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Hi,

Your welcome!

You need to remember that the man pages are not authored by one person. Many contributors, there are some standards but each composer has their style.

Look at http://linux.die.net/man/1/man for online man pages. But the final word should be your systems man pages.
 
  


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