16

I am using Git bash on Windows 7. It provides me with a way to use most of the commands that I used to use on the bash shell on my Ubuntu machine. But the man and the info commands do not work. Is there a way to get these (incredible) documentation commands working on the Git bash shell on windows?

2

You could use the online documentation.

Linux man pages online & GNU Info Pages

  • are there any programs that will connect to these web pages from the command line and display the result? so that I can still type info grep on the shell and get the results there? – Prasanth Jun 10 '11 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Prasanth perhaps you can do a wget <URL> & then grep it. – Sathyajith Bhat Jun 13 '11 at 4:36
  • or he could do this curl "http://man.he.net/?topic=<command_name>&section=all". replace the <command_name> with the command you're looking for – mr5 Jun 1 '17 at 8:31
7

It may be a bit overkill, but you could download Cygwin which would include bash, man, and info readers like pinfo.

The cygwin installer would let you customize your install to be a pretty small subset of cygwin.

  • 1
    Not overkill in the slightest; it seems fairly common that someone will want a Unixy experience on Windows and install Git Bash mistakenly thinking that's the way to get one. Cygwin, meanwhile, actually provides one, probably to the maximal extent possible or very nearly so. – Aaron Miller Aug 21 '13 at 17:56
6

You can get man pages working on Git's bash environment, but it's probably more convenient to consider other alternatives that take less work.

I also don't have much rep on SuperUser, so I'm sad to say I can't really give all the links I need to in the response. I re-posted my response on Tumblr.

In summary:

  • Git's bash is a part of the msysGit project.
  • msysGit is a fork of the MinGW and MSYS project
  • You'll need either msysGit or MinGW to install MinGW-get
  • You'll need MinGW-get to install Groff
  • You'll need Groff to run these scripts to give you a man command from within the msys bash shell
  • With those scripts in place, you can read man pages. You'll just need to download them to the path you've indicated in the scripts.

Good luck.

  • 2
    You can install man with MinGW-get install msys-man. Man is also available as a windows binary: sourceforge.net/projects/ezwinports/files (found via the FAQ: mingw.org/wiki/FAQ#toc10). That page also has groff. Either would probably run faster than those scripts. – Sam Hasler Feb 18 '14 at 9:53
  • @SamHasler msys-man is great. Thanks for the tip, I don't know how I missed that. – Dave Feb 24 '14 at 19:11
3

I have stitched together some of the other answers to get a man command you can use like you would natively. Just stick the following in your .bashrc, and either source it, or re-open your terminal.

function man {
    local section=all
    if [[ "$1" =~ ^[0-9]+$ ]]; then section="$1"; shift; fi
    local doc="$(curl -v --silent --data-urlencode topic="$@" --data-urlencode section="$section" http://man.he.net/ 2>&1)"
    local ok=$?
    local pre="$(printf '%s' "$doc" | sed -ne "/<PRE>/,/<\/PRE>/ { /<PRE>/ { n; b; }; p }")"
    [[ $ok -eq 0 && -n "$pre" ]] && printf '%s' "$pre" | less || printf 'Got nothing.\n' >&2
    return $ok
}

It also supports requesting particular man sections, for example man 3 printf for the system call.

Weaknesses: The source (man.he.net) isn't exactly a RESTful API, and it returns 200 even when nothing is found, so it's hard to give accurate error messages. Instead, this just prints "Got nothing", no matter what the problem was. This can probably be improved. Also, the resulting page contains html entities, such as &lt; instead of <, which makes some usage strings ugly.

2

In addition to Sathya's answer, you could also do this in bash for Windows:

curl -v --silent "http://man.he.net/?topic=<command_name>&section=all" 2>&1 | sed -n "/<PRE>/,/<\/PRE>/p"

Just replace the <command_name> with the command you're looking for.

Example output for the command ls:

<PRE> SYNOPSIS ls [OPTION]... [FILE]...

DESCRIPTION List information about the FILEs (the current directory by default). Sort entries alphabetically if none of -cftuvSUX nor --sort is speci- fied.

   Mandatory  arguments  to  long  options are mandatory for short options
   too.

   -a, --all
          do not ignore entries starting with .

   -A, --almost-all
          do not list implied . and ..

   --author
          with -l, print the author of each file

   -b, --escape
          print C-style escapes for nongraphic characters

   --block-size=SIZE
          scale   sizes   by   SIZE   before   printing    them.     E.g.,
          `--block-size=M'  prints sizes in units of 1,048,576 bytes.  See
          SIZE format below.

   -B, --ignore-backups
          do not list implied entries ending with ~

   -c     with -lt: sort by, and show, ctime (time of last modification of
          file  status  information)  with -l: show ctime and sort by name
          otherwise: sort by ctime, newest first

   -C     list entries by columns

   --color[=WHEN]
          colorize the output.   WHEN  defaults  to  `always'  or  can  be
          `never' or `auto'.  More info below

   -d, --directory
          list  directory entries instead of contents, and do not derefer-
          ence symbolic links

   -D, --dired
          generate output designed for Emacs' dired mode

   -f     do not sort, enable -aU, disable -ls --color

   -F, --classify
          append indicator (one of */=&gt;@|) to entries

   --group-directories-first
          group directories before files.

          augment  with  a  --sort option, but any use of --sort=none (-U)
          disables grouping

   -G, --no-group
          in a long listing, don't print group names

   -h, --human-readable
          with -l, print sizes in human readable format (e.g., 1K 234M 2G)

   --si   likewise, but use powers of 1000 not 1024

   -H, --dereference-command-line
          follow symbolic links listed on the command line

   --dereference-command-line-symlink-to-dir
          follow each command line symbolic link that points to  a  direc-
          tory

   --hide=PATTERN
          do  not  list implied entries matching shell PATTERN (overridden
          by -a or -A)

   --indicator-style=WORD
          append indicator with style WORD to entry names: none (default),
          slash (-p), file-type (--file-type), classify (-F)

   -i, --inode
          print the index number of each file

   -I, --ignore=PATTERN
          do not list implied entries matching shell PATTERN

   -k     like --block-size=1K

   -l     use a long listing format

   -L, --dereference
          when showing file information for a symbolic link, show informa-
          tion for the file the link references rather than for  the  link
          itself

   -m     fill width with a comma separated list of entries

   -n, --numeric-uid-gid
          like -l, but list numeric user and group IDs

   -N, --literal
          print  raw entry names (don't treat e.g. control characters spe-
          cially)

   -o     like -l, but do not list group information
          enclose entry names in double quotes

   --quoting-style=WORD
          use  quoting style WORD for entry names: literal, locale, shell,
          shell-always, c, escape

   -r, --reverse
          reverse order while sorting

   -R, --recursive
          list subdirectories recursively

   -s, --size
          print the allocated size of each file, in blocks

   -S     sort by file size

   --sort=WORD
          sort by WORD instead of name: none -U, extension  -X,  size  -S,
          time -t, version -v

   --time=WORD
          with  -l,  show time as WORD instead of modification time: atime
          -u, access -u, use -u, ctime -c, or  status  -c;  use  specified
          time as sort key if --sort=time

   --time-style=STYLE
          with  -l, show times using style STYLE: full-iso, long-iso, iso,
          locale, +FORMAT.  FORMAT is interpreted like `date';  if  FORMAT
          is  FORMAT1&lt;newline&gt;FORMAT2, FORMAT1 applies to non-recent files
          and FORMAT2 to recent files; if STYLE is prefixed with `posix-',
          STYLE takes effect only outside the POSIX locale

   -t     sort by modification time, newest first

   -T, --tabsize=COLS
          assume tab stops at each COLS instead of 8

   -u     with  -lt:  sort  by, and show, access time with -l: show access
          time and sort by name otherwise: sort by access time

   -U     do not sort; list entries in directory order

   -v     natural sort of (version) numbers within text

   -w, --width=COLS
          assume screen width instead of current value

   -x     list entries by lines instead of by columns

   -X     sort alphabetically by entry extension

   -Z, --context
          print any SELinux security context of each file

   Using color to distinguish file types is disabled both by  default  and
   with  --color=never.  With --color=auto, ls emits color codes only when
   standard output is connected to a terminal.  The LS_COLORS  environment
   variable can change the settings.  Use the dircolors command to set it.

Exit status: 0 if OK,

   1      if minor problems (e.g., cannot access subdirectory),

   2      if serious trouble (e.g., cannot access command-line argument).

AUTHOR Written by Richard M. Stallman and David MacKenzie.

REPORTING BUGS Report ls bugs to bug-coreutils@gnu.org GNU coreutils home page: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/&gt; General help using GNU software: <http://www.gnu.org/gethelp/&gt; Report ls translation bugs to <http://translationproject.org/team/&gt;

COPYRIGHT Copyright (C) 2011 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html&gt;. This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

SEE ALSO The full documentation for ls is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and ls programs are properly installed at your site, the com- mand

          info coreutils 'ls invocation'

   should give you access to the complete manual.

GNU coreutils 8.12.197-032bb September 2011
<STRONG><A HREF="/man1/LS">LS(1)</A></STRONG></PRE>

1

The answer, from this question, might be helpful:

Gives you info for the command right in the bash window.

Git command Quick Reference

git [command] -help

Opens the online info for the command in your browser.

Git command Manual Pages

git help [command]
git [command] --help
  • In the future it will be expected you cite and quote the relevant information when you provide a link. You should also learn how to properly format your answers. – Ramhound Nov 8 '16 at 15:37
  • This appears to only be for Git commands. These are not necessarily the same as their non-git counterparts. For instance git grep does not support the -R option. git-scm.com/docs/git#_git_commands – Lorem Ipsum Oct 22 '18 at 13:44
0

If anyone else is trying to get man to work on Windows and is using Msys2, here is what I found:

I got very close by using the answer above which says to install groff (available via pacman) and then use the script here, which has at its core the call to groff -Tascii -mandoc -P-c.

But I could not get it to work on my man pages (found in /usr/share/man) unless I uncompressed the gz files first!

This was not an acceptable solution, so I looked further and found that by running

pacman -Ss -man

that there are three packages (currently) that have the prefix of "man-". (see them here).

I tried the one called man-db, it works, and now I have ability to run man in the regular expected fashion.

  • Today I am able to simply run pacman -S man and install proceeds as expected – Toby Jun 12 '18 at 11:07

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