How to use whatis and xargs linux commands

Have you ever wanted to know what the commands various commands in linux do?  Such as the commands in:


Move to the bin directory of your choice and follow the example below:

cd /bin
ls | xargs whatis | less

You will get an output of the command and a summary of it’s function:


basename             (3p)  – return the last component of a pathname

bash                 (1)  – GNU Bourne-Again SHell

bash [builtins]      (1)  – bash built-in commands, see bash(1)

bash [sh]            (1)  – GNU Bourne-Again SHell

ca                   (1ssl)  – sample minimal CA application

cat                  (1)  – concatenate files and print on the standard output

cat                  (1p)  – concatenate and print files

chgrp                (1)  – change group ownership

chgrp                (1p)  – change the file group ownership

chmod                (1)  – change file mode bits

chmod                (1p)  – change the file modes

chmod                (2)  – change permissions of a file

chmod                (3p)  – change mode of a file

chown                (1)  – change file owner and group


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes