CTS 1106 (Intro to Unix/Linux) Project #2
Using Man Pages and Other Resources


Due: by the start of class on the date shown on the syllabus


Using the man pages, info pages, and other sources of on-line and Internet information is a vital skill, needed by all users.  In this project you will need to find, read, and understand these sources of information in order to answer the following questions.  This project is designed to give you plenty of practice using the “man” command.  Not all of the answers will be found in the man pages, but all may be found either there or in other resources discussed in class.  Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to complete this project; it usually takes longer than most students expect!

For full credit:  You must give an answer, as well as the source of your answer:

While you could use an on-line search engine to find the answers to all these questions (because man pages are on-line), or your book, not using man when the question can be answered that way, or info pages when man doesn't have an answer, will lose you credit.  If you don't state the source of your answer, I will assume you searched the Internet.

Since man pages differ between different Unix and Linux systems (and even between versions of the same system), you must use the man and info pages on YborStudent to complete this assignment.  (I have verified that each question that can be answered with man or info pages, can be answered on YborStudent.)  However, remember that not all questions can be answered with man or info pages.


Remember to state your source (man page title and section, or info page title, or URL) in addition to your answer.

  1. What should the command “cat foo – bar” do?  (Don't try to run it, just figure it out from the on-line documentation.  Assume foo and bar are existing files.  Note the spaces and the dash in the command line.)
  2. What option(s) would you use to sort a file named foo in place, that is replacing the original file with the sorted version, with one command and no extra files created?
  3. A jiffy is a unit of time on Linux systems.  What man page describes a jiffy?
  4. What is the official (and historical) name of the fifth field of entries in the /etc/passwd file?
  5. What three options to the Gnu date command can be used to display the current date and time in Coordinated Universal Time?
  6. The recode command can convert text and other files in any of about 280 formats (or “charsets”) to another.  For example you can convert between Unix and DOS text files this way:
    cat file | recode ..dos   # Convert Unix text file to DOS format
    cat file | recode dos..   # Convert DOS text file to Unix (ASCII) format

    How can the recode command be used to count the frequency of each of the characters used in a file?  (Hint:  Check for an appropriate charset.)

  7. How many bytes is one “kibi byte”?  What man page describes this and other standard units and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) prefixes and SI (International Standard) prefixes?

    All IT professionals should know standard units.  If you don't know what these are be sure to look them up:  A bit is one binary digit and a byte or octet is eight bits.  Bits are denoted as “b” or “bit”, while bytes are denoted as “B”.  A kilo means 1,000 (a thousand) and is denoted as “k”, a mega means 1,000,000 (a million) and is denoted as “M”, and a giga means 1,000,000,000 (a billion) and is denoted as “G”.  So “1 kb” or “1 kbit” means a thousand bits, “1 MB” means a million bytes, etc.  “1 KiB” means 1 kibi byte. 

  8. What is the pathname (the directory and file name) of the configuration file used for the DHCP client (not the server!) on YborStudent?  (This question refers to the IPv4 client, not the IPv6 client.)  (Hint:  configuration files are kept under the directory /etc.)
  9. Where can you find the answer to the following question: “How do you get the NUMLOCK key to default to on for the GUI console?”
  10. What is the name for a user's gv resource file?  (“gv” is a Gnu utility to view PostScript files.)

To be turned in:

Remember to include the source of your answer: the man page, info page, or web URL where you found the answer.  Email your assignment by copy-and-paste (no attachments please!) to .  If possible use the “text” and not the “HTML” mode of your email program.  Please use the subject similar to “Intro to Unix/Linux Project #2 (Using man) Submission”, so I can tell which emails are submitted projects.

Projects will not be returned.  Please do not send as attachments.  Do not send to wpollock@YborStudent.hccfl.edu.  Refer to the Projects and the Submitting Assignments sections of your syllabus for more information.

Confused?  Send questions about the assignment to .  Please use a subject similar to “Intro to Unix/Linux Project #2 (Using man) Question” so I can tell which emails are questions about the assignment (and not submissions).