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Commands you might have missed: apropos

Posted by djzort on Wed 3 Sep 2008 at 09:52

apropos is a standard unix command which is very frequently forgotten. That is a shame as this tool it is to man pages, what google is to the world wide web!

Basically apropos searches your MAN path for man pages relating to the search string. It searches both the page name and the description!

dean@optimus:~$ apropos ethernet
brctl (8)            - ethernet bridge administration
ethers (5)           - Ethernet address to IP number database
ethtool (8)          - Display or change ethernet card settings
sk98lin (4)          - Marvell/SysKonnect Gigabit Ethernet driver v6.21
dean@optimus:~$

apropos can also search using wild cards (-w) or regexes (-r) and a variety of other options as listed in the apropos man page.

dean@optimus:~$ apropos -w ap*s
appres (1)           - list X application resource database
apropos (1)          - search the manual page names and descriptions
apt-extracttemplates (1) - Utility to extract DebConf config and templates from Debian packages
apt-sortpkgs (1)     - Utility to sort package index files
apt_preferences (5)  - Preference control file for APT
AptPkg::PkgRecords (3pm) - APT package description class
desktop-file-install (8) - install a desktop file to the applications directory
DPMSSetTimeouts (3)  - permits applications to set the timeout values used by the X server for DPMS timings
gnome-session-remove (1) - Remove or list applications in the current GNOME session
kdeinit_wrapper (1)  - start applications via kdeinit
kshell (1)           - start applications via kdeinit
kwrapper (1)         - start applications via kdeinit
make_driver_db_lpr (1) - create a printer database from aps filter database and ifhp filter database.
perl-tk (3pm)        - Writing Tk applications in Perl 5
Tk::UserGuide (3pm)  - Writing Tk applications in Perl 5
xlsclients (1)       - list client applications running on a display

You will find apropos on just about every unix & linux system you will come across.

I don't know what it stands for or if its even an english word, a history of this command would be interesting!

 

 


Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (130.79.xx.xx) on Wed 3 Sep 2008 at 10:29
For the history, " propos" means "about" in french.

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (81.249.xx.xx) on Wed 3 Sep 2008 at 10:30
"a propos" in french means "about" ;)

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (220.233.xx.xx) on Wed 3 Sep 2008 at 14:07
man -k
is quicker to type :)

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by stevemayes (131.111.xx.xx) on Thu 4 Sep 2008 at 08:42
Purely as a point of pedantry... :)

'A propos' is indeed french however the word apropos is, like so many others, one we (speakers of English) have appropriated and is, consequently, an English word. It means; regarding, about, in relation to, fitting, to the purpose.

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (64.129.xx.xx) on Thu 4 Sep 2008 at 22:52
You probably wanted:

$ apropos -w 'ap*s'

Without the quotes, it only works if no filenames in the current directory happen to match ap*s; if they do, you end up searching on them instead. Even when there are no matching filenames, if you're in bash, you're relying on nullglob being unset.

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by djzort (203.10.xx.xx) on Thu 4 Sep 2008 at 23:14

Good point, thats always a gotcha though - regardless of the command being used.

http://www.fragfest.com.au

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by benjamin (193.95.xx.xx) on Tue 23 Sep 2008 at 00:12
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apropos is an appropriate word for By the way :)

http://www.dictometer.com/apropos
__________________________________________________
I'm not a comlpete idoit - some prats are missnig.

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (122.116.xx.xx) on Sun 28 Sep 2008 at 17:18
Ha, I really forget this command since I use 'man -k keyword' and 'man -f keyword' instead. *^_^* thanks for sharing~

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (87.127.xx.xx) on Sat 22 Nov 2008 at 17:38
i find the name "apropos" hard to remember. I would have to search for it before i could use it. kind of defeats the point. :-(

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by AJxn (130.243.xx.xx) on Mon 1 Dec 2008 at 22:00
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With those fine (now old) Lisp machines (and Common Lisp systems) way back, there was no 'man' but a apropos command that was this good :)

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Geirg (81.167.xx.xx) on Wed 31 Dec 2008 at 18:12
It's a word in Norway, and acording to my dictionary its derived from french.
Usage is to mark a shift of subject to another subject that is relevant to the first. Say you have a conversation about bank loans and then say "apropos loans, mind lending me $10?", or it can be used to add more information. Like "apropos war heroes, my grandfather fought in ww2" before returning to the original thread.

... then when looking for a english word for the same thing I find that its already a english word..

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/apropos

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Geirg (81.167.xx.xx) on Wed 31 Dec 2008 at 18:14
and then I see that the question is already answered.. Oh, well. Just another piece of redundancy :)

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Re: Commands you might have missed: apropos
Posted by Anonymous (88.160.xx.xx) on Sun 14 Nov 2010 at 18:31
"apropos" = " propos" in french, the english translation is "about"

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