Tldr++ - A Man Page Replacement

Let face it the build in man system on Unix systems can be less than helpful unless you live and breath the Unix or Linux terminal. The tldr++ project attempts to create a more intuitive and interactive man system....

a year ago

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Let face it the build in man system on Unix systems can be less than helpful unless you live and breath the Unix or Linux terminal. Just look at the following manual entry for the tar command.

Man page for the Tar command

Luckily in our modern programming landscape of open source projects, there is an alternative which is much more intuitive to use. The tldr project is attempting to create community-driven manual pages that are simpler and easier to understand. There is a great NPM global package tldr but like a lot of great open source projects there is another project based on tldr which adds additional useful features. This project is called tldr++ (programmers are not always the most creative when it comes to naming). This project improves upon tldr by adding smart user interaction, as well as running even faster due to it being re-written in Go.

Prerequisites

Installation

To install tldr++ head over to the release page on the GitHub for the project. Then download the latest release version that matches your operating system.

Note: If you are on MacOS the package will be listed as darwin_amd64

After the release tar file finishes downloaded open up your terminal emulator of choice and navigate to the directory where you downloaded the release file. Then run the following to uncompress the tar file.

tar -xzf <downloaded_file_name>.tar.gz

The next command will move the executable for tldr++ to the /usr/local/bin directory so that it will be globally executable.

mv tldr /usr/local/bin

Setup

Tldr++ has a built-in Git client which can download the manual pages and keep its catalog up to date. Run tldr to set up the initial catalog.

Usage

And now you have a replacement for man which is more intuitive and easier to use. Try changing back to the location of the downloaded release tar file and running:

tldr tar

By using the arrow keys select the tar xzf option and in the source tar input start typing the name of the release tar file and then hit tab to complete the input.

tldr++ in action

Summary

While the man system has worked for many years its time to improve upon the old system. Tldr++ is an interactive, intuitive, easy to use manual system for Unix / Linux commands and is a valuable tool to anyone not intimately familiar with the Linux system or does not use it on a daily basis. For example how often do you use the tar xfz command and remember which arguments are needed?

Tyler Moon

Published a year ago

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