Command line users know how to read the manual: Enter “man” followed by the name of a command – you will get a detailed explanation. These manuals are useful but detailed, and use hundreds of words to explain every detail of a command.
This is fine if you want to know everything but are mostly looking for a specific use. The project tldr Instead, crows sources succinct explanations and let any application look it up by typing “tldr” followed by the name of the command. It’s perfect for a quick refresher and is supported on Linux and Mac systems.
Use tldr to quickly look up what a command does
Let’s say you’ve forgotten the intricacies of using it
cd, the command to switch folders. You could type
man cd, but the results won’t be easy.
When you’ve installed tldr, enter
tldr cd instead of this. You only see the most important points.
It is easy to imagine that this would be useful. Forgot how to update packages in Ubuntu? Just type
Or maybe you can’t remember exactly how to unmount drives with under macOS:
Your idea: it’s a quick way to look up what almost any command does. I couldn’t find many common commands that weren’t supported, but when I did Check out the posts page to learn how to submit your own abstracts.
Install tldr on macOS and Ubuntu
Installing tldr on macOS is easy with Homebrew, the package manager for macOS. Install homebrew then use the command
brew install tldr and you’re done. You can use tldr right away!
I had a little more trouble on Ubuntu as tldr isn’t offered in any repository at the time of writing. But it’s not difficult to get this to work with a little work.
First install NodeJS and the Node Package Manager (nps):
sudo apt install nodejs npm
Next, use npm to install tldr:
sudo npm install -g tldr
You should now be able to use tldr, but I had problems on Ubuntu 16.04: I saw an error that there is “no such file or directory” as a node. The solution was to create a symlink:
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node
Do that and tldr should be able to run in Ubuntu. As always, these steps may vary depending on the Linux distribution you are using.
… or just use the web version
Using tldr from the command prompt makes sense because that’s where you type your commands. But it is not necessary: there is a great web version available at tldr.ostera.io, and well worth bookmarking if you can’t install the versions above.
There’s even an edit link in case you see an error. Enjoy!