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How (Insert Question Here)

Learn how to answer your own questions. Tips from the Geeks.

How many times have you had a linux question, and the first thing you do is run to your local Linux Guru. They will growl at you before answering your question. But you really didn't know, so you wonder why they were a little testy. You also wondered what RTFM meant.
Well here it is. The way to answer your own questions without having to bother your local Guru or users group. This might even save you time.

These tips have been tested for several years by Linux Guru's and Geeks. They work.
These are the real steps that Linux Guru's use to answer questions.

  1. Read The Fine Man pages
    Man pages were written by the people who actually wrote the programs. These people know what they are talking about.
    • man -k (subject)
      If you arn't sure which manpage to look at, you might want to do a man -k. man -k searches through all of the manpages on your system for whatever you tell it.
    • konqueror
      For those people with KDE installed, konqueror is a great man page reader. The shortcut for this is to use #. So if you wanted to see the man page on man pages, you would type #man into the place you would usually put a web address.
    • Not all man pages are created equal.
      Some of them are terrific, and have all the information you need. Some of them only seem to be there because there always has to be a man page. If you come upon a man page that is terrible, you will probrubly want to skip down to the next step.
  2. Read the Info or Doc pages
    Some programmer prefer to put their documentation in a Info page, or some other type of document, such as a web page.
    • rpm -ql (package) | grep doc
      rpm -ql (package) | grep -i info
      Sometimes you just don't know where these documents are. They should be in the packages doc directory. The above commands will let you know where the doc directory is for whatever package you have questions about.
    • konqueror
      For those people with KDE installed, konqueror is a great Info page reader. The shortcut for this is to use info:. So if you wanted to see the Info page on Info pages, you would type info:info into the place you would usually put a web address.
  3. Do a google search
    Google is your friend.
  4. locate, which, rpm -qf
    If you know the name of a program you run, but don't know what rpm package it is from, this is how you find out.
    • locate (anything) : This is the fastest way to find a file on your machine
    • which (anything) : Get the full pathname for a program that you usually just type the programs name, such as ssh.
    • rpm -qf (filename) : Find out what rpm package a file came from, if it did come from a rpm package.
  5. yum provides (filename)
    Sometimes you don't know what rpm package something is in, and it isn't installed on your machine. 'yum provides' searches through all the rpm packages, both on your machine, and in the yum repositories, looking for any file that matches.
  6. yum search (subject)
    Sometimes you aren't searching for a file, just a subject, such as video, or dvd. 'yum search' searches through all the yum repositories looking at the descriptions of all the packages to see if the any of the descriptions match what you are looking for.
  7. Go to the developers website
    Now this actually should have come up when doing a google search, but I have seen it occasionally where the developers site isn't on the top page. So incase you haven't already done this step, do it now.
    • rpm -qi (package)
      rpm -qi give alot of information about a package, including the web page of the package.
Created by dawson
Last modified 2005-06-24 11:22 AM

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