Learn Linux Through Man Pages

July 19, 2020, Reading time: 4 minutes

How cool would it be to learn Linux through the man pages To make it even more fun, I made this script with various options and with a cool retro terminal.

I recommend so you can see the install the various options, how you can adjust this script to your own needs, and some other cool things.

Old Fashioned Linux

Somehow the man pages always remind me a bit of the past, to old school. I’ve also been told by “Linux people” that they learned Linux just by reading the manual pages. How cool is that.!

This is nonsense, of course, or am I wrong here that the man pages have to do with the past. I wanted to find out and I looked it up.

In the first two years of the history of Unix, no documentation existed. The first Unix Programmer’s Manual was first published on November 3, 1971.

So actually the man pages have been around for so long, even before people started using the Internet, the world wide web (www) and even before Microsoft existed.

A fun fact…

There was a hidden easter egg in the man-db version of the man command that would cause the command to return “gimme gimme gimme” when run at 00:30 (a reference to the ABBA song Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). It was introduced in 2011 but first restricted and then removed in 2017 after finally being found.

What are man pages in Linux

Almost all packages, commands, tools, hardware devices, system calls, and so on, come with a man page (manual page). The man pages are a type of documentation that provides details on using the various commands and applications.

Find the Longest manpages on your pc

You can just copy this code and put it in your terminal. It will show you a list of the longest man pages


for i in {1..9}; do f=/usr/share/man/man$i/$(ls -1S /usr/share/man/man$i/ | head -n1); printf "%s: %9d\n" "$f" $(man "$f" 2>/dev/null | wc -l); done

Man Eye

To be able to use Man Eye, some other “awesome” tools have to be installed. This depends a bit on which Linux distribution you use. This script has been tested on Debian-based and Arch Linux

sudo apt install suckless-tools
sudo apt install cool-retro-term
sudo apt install zathura
sudo apt install groff
sudo apt install fzf

Or install the tools in one line:

sudo apt install suckless-tools zathura groff cool-retro-term fzf

To start, I use dmenu in this script. dmenu is a dynamic dmenu is part of suckless tools, of which I would show much more in the future.

Furthermore, I chose to use cool retro term. This because, as you can read above, it reminds me a bit of the past. Cool-retro-term is a Retro Terminal that you can completely customize the way you like it. Really cool. Especially because now you know the past of the man pages

Zathura is a minimalist and is a highly customizable document viewer with vi-styled keybindings. It provides a minimalistic and space-saving interface. Users interact with zathura primarily with the keyboard. Different file formats are supported through plugins. Support is available for PDF, PS, DjVu, and comic book files. So cool!

Here you can find the Man Eye GitHub tool

Install Man Eye

git clone
cd man-eye

Use Man Eye


There are 5 options you can use

  • Random-Man-Page As the name predicts, this option chooses a random manual page. Maybe a great idea to select and learn a random Man Eye page every day :smily:

  • Search-Man-Pages This option allows you to search for a manual page via the dmenu

  • Man-On-Steroids How cool is this option! In the square in your terminal you can already read a bit about what it is about.

  • Man-PDF The output of the man page in a PDF format. Here I chose Zathura. Zathura is a minimalist and is a highly customizable document viewer. It is easy to print in PDF format.

  • And of course as the last the “Quit”

To exit all windows, just press the “q” to quit.

man man- display of the manual pages themselves

man -a intro - intro - is an introduction to the user commands

Here you can find the GitHub repository :: Man Eye script on GitHub Here you see the project on this website :: Man Eye

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