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Date:      Thu, 23 Dec 2004 19:29:20 -0800
From:      Joshua Tinnin <>
Cc:        'Tyler Gee' <>
Subject:   Re: Manpage interpreter
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <000001c4e934$9290f080$6400a8c0@musal32mpxlg>
References:  <000001c4e934$9290f080$6400a8c0@musal32mpxlg>

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On Thursday 23 December 2004 01:15 pm, "Sally Hines" 
<> wrote:
> Hi,
> I've been subscribing to this list for over 3 years. I initially
> subscribed to the -questions list also, but I couldn't handle the
> volume, and also couldn't interpret the language used there. I need
> to learn in a language that I know, or at least get an interpreter
> for the manpage-ese that's used in replies to questions on that list.
> I ask a simple question, how do I automate ports update? I get "read
> the manpages" or quoting from the manpages which is written in a
> language foreign to me, but masquerades as English. Where can I get
> at least a good, simple glossary for the terms used in the manpages
> and on the questions list?

I can show you how I do it, offlist if that would help keep this list 
on-topic. I automate the cvsup and index process through cron jobs and 
scripts, but I update the ports themselves manually (I get a daily 
email telling me what installed ports have newer versions available), 
so that may or may not be what you want. As far as the technical 
language, you can find a great deal of information about UNIX for 
newbies on the web, which is a good place to start - search for UNIX 
glossary, or tutorial, something general like that. FreeBSD uses 
conventions common to all operating systems which are UNIX-based, or 
have POSIX standards, including Linux, so quite a bit of what applies 
to Linux applies to FreeBSD, although they are not the same, but Linux 
documentation for newbies is all over the web, some of it decent, some 
of it not so good, but plenty that can help if you don't understand the 
fundamentals. I should mention that the FreeBSD Handbook is a great 
source of information, and it covers quite a lot of rudimentary 
information in a style that's not developer-centric, at least not most 
of the time. Unfortunately, manpages aren't quite the same, and there 
is often an assumption of knowledge that makes it look foreign to 
people who don't have the background. But what's needed then are more 
people to write documentation ... Although UNIX itself is fairly 
technical, and you can't cover everything the user might not know in a 
manpage for every program, like basic system commands which the user 
should be familiar with in order to run the system, and which have 
their own manpages. The syntax used in manpages might also be confusing 
to you, but some basic UNIX tutorials should also cover that sort of 
thing, and of course there are also some excellent UNIX books which 
have been around for years you might find useful, many of which are 
available used on Amazon (you can look through comments to see what 
might be worthwhile, or ask here).

> I asked questions here, and got yelled at, at great length. I have
> not posted to this list for over a year because of that.
> Sally Hines
> With a broken FreeBSD box

I'm sorry to hear that. I am willing to help you fix it if possible, and 
if you haven't been able to get answers from the questions list. I'm 
still relatively new, but I've managed to install FreeBSD several times 
on different systems, customizing the kernel on each for hardware and 
different needs, and also rescue systems that seemed like lost causes 
at the time. If I can't help you fix it then I'll let you know and 
defer to the list or other forums.

- jt

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