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Finding UNIX commands using 'apropos' UNIX
As you get more adventurous in terminal mode, you may wish to explore UNIX commands to get your work done. There's a command called "apropos" that searches all the man(ual) pages for keywords, and voila, a list of appropriate commands appear.

BUT - OS X's "apropos" doesn't work until you establish a "whatis" database. How? Simple:

1) Start a terminal session and get into su mode (root).

2) Type the follow line exactly:

3) Wait several seconds for the root prompt to appear, and quit the terminal session.

Now, you can start a terminal session as yourself, and the "apropos" command will work. For more information about apropos, type "man apropos".

[Editor's note: I published a related tip quite a while back, but I'm sure not everyone has dug through all the pages, so I thought this was a good chance to bring it up again. Note that the makewhatis will also run if you leave your machine on regularly; it's part of a scheduled task that runs (if I recall correctly) weekly.]
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Enhance this hint
Authored by: Londo on Apr 11, '01 10:57:54AM

Before executing the /usr/libexec/makewhatis I'd
check out the contents of my $MANPATH variable since
the default to this command only checks /usr/share/man.
Hence, echo $MANPATH shows for me:
so executing
/usr/libexec/makewhatis $MANPATH
should include this extra documentation for the whatis db created.

[ Reply to This | # ]
whatis weekly update
Authored by: Newt on Apr 11, '01 04:15:47PM

Good enhancement. And BTW the editor is right. The both whatis and locate databases are updated weekly. As an FYI, by default the system looks in /usr/share/man and /usr/local/man (and /usr/X11R6/man if it exists).


[ Reply to This | # ]
su mode
Authored by: mgspongebob on Dec 02, '02 01:03:19AM

how do i get into su mode?

[ Reply to This | # ]