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Old 02-25-2009, 04:25 PM   #1
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Linux manpages - frustrating

Just installed netcat on OpenSUSE 10.3 - typing nc in the command line shows nc: command not found. SUSE folks have renamed "nc" to "netcat" Anyhow, read the manpage - man netcat and at the bottom it says: "SEE ALSO
/usr/share/doc/netcat/README" - do a less /usr/share/doc/netcat/README from the shell and get error: /usr/share/doc/netcat/README: No such file or directory

Give up and read OpenBSD's excellent nc manpge (
Old 02-25-2009, 04:33 PM   #2
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So,what's your question?
Old 02-25-2009, 04:38 PM   #3
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Manpages have been complained about ever since non-developers started using it. This is why there are so many blogs/wikis/webpages devted to doing things in Linux. Unfortunately, as with all documentation, they haven't really changed and the only answer is to write something easier to read yourself.

Though I notice that the "excellent" nc page for BSD is merley more detailed than for Linux. They are both still a PITA to read through, imo.
Old 02-25-2009, 05:17 PM   #4
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Xavier,I agree with you almost completely.Some man pages are really good and some need improvement.I don't like posts like the one from OP here in this thread (post no.1) because they are not doing any good to any Linux user.
BTW,the problem that OP have is solved by running this command;
less /usr/share/doc/packages/netcat/README

Last edited by alan_ri; 02-25-2009 at 05:52 PM. Reason: a little correction
Old 02-25-2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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Man pages are rather terse, but once you get used to them, they're no big deal to get through. In the mean time, try to use them, and if you can't figure them out, find your answers on the web.
Old 02-25-2009, 05:44 PM   #6
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Some are terse, bordering on useless, some are great. I'd use the rsync man page as an example of a really useful one, lots of good examples for a pretty complex program (or at least very optionable - new word there).

Can't find a really useless on at the moment, but they are out there.
Old 02-25-2009, 07:12 PM   #7
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The README file would be in /usr/share/doc/packages/netcat/.
ls /usr/share/doc/packages/netcat/
Changelog data README scripts

SuSE used /usr/share/doc/packages/<packagename> for all packages. Other distros use /usr/share/doc/<package_name>-<version>/ instead.

If you have konqueror installed try entering `man:netcat' in the address bar. That will give you a more readable html version.
You can also run `man -t netcat | kghostview -' for a postscript version. Both should be easier to read.

In konqueror, you can also read info manuals the same way: `info:bash'.
Old 02-27-2009, 09:28 AM   #8
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for some reason i find the man pages more eye-soothing.


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