TLDR ( Too Long; Didn’t Read ) - A Simplified Linux Man Pages

Linux command line users must be familiar with "man" command. It stands for manual pages, which means that every Linux command or utility comes with the set of instructions or possible usage of the command. Man pages are of great help while working on the command line, but often, the documentation available via man pages is too lengthy or too confusing to learn. It also does not provide any real life examples too. All it include is the details of what that particular command does, and what are its available switches ( also called options ). TLDR is a community driven efforts to improve default Linux man pages, TLDR ( Too Long; Didn’t Read ) provides an easy to under documentation for every command or utility and it also demonstrates the usage of the command with pretty simple examples. In this article, we will be learning the process to install TLDR and how to use it to work better on Linux terminals.

How to install TLDR on Ubuntu and CentOS Systems

The easiest way to install TLDR is by using NPM and Nodejs. So we need to first install these two components on our system. Ubuntu system users can install NPM and Nodejs by using the following command.

sudo apt-get install nodejs npm

CentOS users will need to first enable Yum's EPEL repository.  Run the following command to install Epel repository, once it is active, then we will be able to install nodejs and npm using YUM.

yum install epel-release -y

Run the following command on CentOS system to install Node and NPM.

sudo yum install nodejs npm

Alright, run following command on your system now to complete the installation process for TLDR.

sudo npm install -g tldr

Congratulations, you have successfully equipped your Linux system with an easy to understand command manuals.

TLDR examples

The syntax to get help using TLDR is pretty simple, use the following format.

tldr Command

Where replace "Command" with actual utility or command name you are trying to get documentation for.

The documentation for "ls" command looks like as shown below when tried via TLDR.

# tldr ls

List directory contents.

- List files one per line:
ls -1

- List all files, including hidden files:
ls -a

- Long format list (permissions, ownership, size and modification date) of all files:
ls -la

- Long format list with size displayed using human readable units (KB, MB, GB):
ls -lh

- Long format list sorted by size (descending):
ls -lS

Isn't it extremely easy and descriptive way? here is how tar command's documentation looks like:

# tldr tar

Archiving utility.
Optional compression with gzip / bzip.

- Create an archive from files:
tar cf target.tar file1 file2 file3

- Create a gzipped archive:
tar czf target.tar.gz file1 file2 file3

- Extract an archive in a target folder:
tar xf source.tar -C folder

- Extract a gzipped archive in the current directory:
tar xzf source.tar.gz

- Extract a bzipped archive in the current directory:
tar xjf source.tar.bz2

- Create a compressed archive, using archive suffix to determine the compression program:
tar caf target.tar.xz file1 file2 file3

Updating TLDR

TLDR is continuously adding more and more documentation to it,  if you don't find details for any command /utility in TLDR, you can update it by using the following command. It is important to keep TLDR updated so you may have most up-to-date information available.

tldr --update

Using Online ( Web-based) TLDR

Yes, you read it right :) you can also view the documentation/help for Linux command using the online version of TLDR. TLDR developers have a web URL which you can use to search for the documentation or help for any Linux utility/command.  Head to the following URL and simply type your desired command/utility name and press "Enter", you will be presented with community documentation of the searched command and it is pretty eye candy interface.

Hope you enjoyed this article, we have discussed the installation and usage process for TLDR command in this tutorial. You can also use the online version of this utility to improve your daily Linux command line working productivity. It saves you a lot of time and provides you much-needed information in extremely easy and detailed way possible. Try it today! do let us know in the comments section about your experience with this utility.

About Aun Raza

Professional Linux administrator with a passion for Linux web blogging. I have been administrating Linux servers from last seven years and have been involved in Technology blogging from last five years. I love traveling, playing indoor games and watching movies.

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    1. Hi Jim

      It appears nodejs is not properly working on your system. If nodejs is installed, try adding its symlink:

      ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node