Where to Get Help

Where to Get Help

As much as you might already know about the Solaris operating environment, you will never know everything there is to know about Solaris. Although my last statement might sound harsh, it's true. There is so much to know, including commands (and all related switches), concepts, and creative ways to fix problems you might encounter. Even if you know a considerable amount, it's unlikely that you will have every switch of every command memorized.

Fortunately, there are a number of resources that you can use when you get stuck or simply need a quick refresher. This section highlights the most common resource spots.

man Pages

The man command displays reference manual pages about Solaris commands and concepts. The syntax is man arguments name, where name is the command or file that you want to know about. For example, you could type man -a passwd, which would display all man pages that match the word passwd. You can even type man man to get information on the man command itself. Table 1.1 lists a few of the most common man switches.

Table 1.1: man Command Arguments




Shows all manual pages matching name within the search path and displays them in order found

-f file

Attempts to locate manual pages related to the specified files

-k keyword

Prints one-line summaries from the table of contents that contain any of the given keywords


Lists all manual pages found within the search path

-s section

Specifies which section number of the reference manual to search

When using the man command, the output indicates which section of the reference manual the query was located in. The reference manual is divided into nine sections, which are listed in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2: Reference Manual Sections




User commands


System administration commands


System calls


Programming library functions


File formats


Standards, environments, and macros


Demos and games


Device and network interfaces


Device Driver Interface (DDI) and Driver/Kernel Interface (DKI) specifications

Some words have more than one man page. For example, if you type man passwd, you will find passwd(1) and passwd(4). The passwd(1) page describes the passwd command, and the passwd(4) page describes the passwd file. The Solaris 9 Reference Manual is also available for purchase in printed format. Solaris 9 also comes with the AnswerBook2, which contains a great deal of helpful information.

Online Resources

The docs.sun.com website is an excellent resource if you need to know anything about a multitude of Sun's products. The entire reference manual is available online, and there is a link specifically for man pages. If the information you're looking for isn't on this page, just follow one of the links and you're likely to find it.

Solaris newsgroups can also provide helpful information. The comp.unix.solaris group is popular; you can either just look at it for information, or post a question if you are looking for an answer. If you don't already have a newsgroup server that you frequent, you can find comp.unix.solaris at www.Google.com under the Groups section.

A lot of administrators also like to install a local copy of AnswerBook2. It contains much of the same information as docs.sun.com and finding the information you need is a lot quicker.

This Book

Is this just a shameless plug? Not at all. Not only can this book help you pass your SCSA exams, but it can also serve as a useful reference book. Throughout the book, many commands and their commonly used arguments are listed. If you get stuck, you can flip to the section containing the command you want and likely find some help.