Unix help, aka man.

The primary way to get online help with UNIX is by using the man pages. You type man and get a screenfull of gibberish written by nerds for nerds. You are strongly encouraged to get used to this since it is incredibly useful once you get over your fear of it. Of course you often know what you want to do but don't know the name of the command to do it. Use man -k where word is some word related to what you want to do such as man -k tape.

Solaris also has a handy web-based interface into the man pages called answerbook. To use it you run /usr/dt/bin/answerbook2 (I have an alias: alias ab2 '/usr/dt/bin/answerbook2').

Most man pages have very similar structures.

NAME give the name of the command and what it stands for.

SYNOPSIS tells you briefly how to use it. Useful to remind you how to use something you're already familiar with.

DESCRIPTION describes in words what the command does.

OPTIONS lists all the switches and what they do.

OPERANDS lists the non-switch arguments accepted by the command.

EXAMPLES gives real-live examples but only if the person who wrote this one was motivated enough to provide any (or thought it was slightly more complicated than awk or sed and hence may not be completely obvious to the casual user).

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES gives environements that may affect the output of the command, most of which you've never heard of and most of which noone knows about except for some guy high in the Himalayas-- and he ain't tellin.

FILES lists files that may affect the outcome of the command (see Environment Variables).

ATTRIBUTES see Environment Variables.

SEE ALSO Odds are, this command won't do what you want, but one of them listed here may.

NOTES Explains all the weird stuff that could happen with this command but noone has gotten around to fixing yet.