I hope this isn't a duplicate and I have tried to search Google for the response and am out of ideas where to go. So here it goes...

When I am working on a project I like to try and solve my own problems myself. I find it more rewarding to find the solution myself than find the answer on SE or similar sites.

I typically use man whatis whereis to the best of my ability. I often will just type man and use tab completion to see all the pages available and try to find corresponding commands. So I guess what I am looking for is there a whatdoes command. So for example is there a way to find all the commands that process text or all commands that perform disk operations.

I know this is probably a dumb question and the answer will be NO but I figured it was worth a try...

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    Reading a book intended to teach a person how to use the Unix command line is a good way to get started. Some books on starting with Linux want to embrace the command line, and some want to avoid it. Both kinds of books have their place, but if you get the opposite kind from what you were looking for, you will be severely disappointed. Using man pages is not really a great way to get started. How would a newbie know to type man grep if they didn't know about the grep command in the first place? The man page is useful if you want to do something and you know grep can do something similar.
    – kasperd
    Mar 13, 2015 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


In the 90s I would go over all of the package descriptions after an update of my SuSE linux, mark anything that seemed useful and read more about that, and tried to keep an overview.

I gave up on that, but when looking for alternatives to a specific command, mostly use the projects web page (good projects don't fear to mention potential competition), or wikipedia, which often has a list of similar commands, or points to a comparison page etc.

The man and info pages often restrict themselves to only refer to related man pages (of file formats, or closely related command). Those are more disjunct pieces of information.

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