what is the 'whatis' command?

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# 1  
Old 10-23-2001
what is the 'whatis' command?

I am kind of new with Unix and I really need some help. Can you please tell me what the 'whatis' command is? and what does it do?

Let's say that I have a file which I want to delete, what command will I need to use?

If I have a directory that I want to delete all files from what command do I use?

What is the difference from deleting a directory, and deleting a directory and all its subdirectories beneath it? What command do I need to use?

# 2  
Old 10-23-2001
whatis - describes what function a command performs...
To find out what the ls command does, enter:
whatis ls

This produces the following output:
ls(1) -Displays the contents of a directory.

rm - deletes a file or a directory.
To delete a file...
rm myfile

To delete a directory...
rm -r mydir

Reading the man pages will give you this information
and much more...

man whatis
man rm
# 3  
Old 10-23-2001
Thank you rwb1959.
# 4  
Old 10-24-2001
And there's always:
whatis whatis
# 5  
Old 10-25-2001
PHP Is it not there in Hp-Unix?

I could not find this whatis in HP-Unix B 11. and can anybody tell me the difference between man and whatis ?
# 6  
Old 10-25-2001
Re: Is it not there in Hp-Unix?

Originally posted by sskb
I could not find this whatis in HP-Unix B 11. and can anybody tell me the difference between man and whatis ?
HP-UX picked up the old System V man command back in the early 80's and they don't seen to want to change. HP's man stuff is a little weird because of it. HP is missing both the whatis and apropos commands. But you can get them back with simple aliases:

alias whatis="man -f"
alias apropos="man -k"
# 7  
Old 10-25-2001
I only got error when I tried them. Is that because of Installation problem?

$ man -k ls
/usr/share/lib/whatis: No such file or directory
$ man -f ls
/usr/share/lib/whatis: No such file or directory
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