Utilities

Excellent Utilities: tldr – simplified and community-driven man pages

This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

Tl;dr or tldr stands for “too long; didn’t read.” While this internet acronym can criticize a piece of writing as overly long, it can sometimes be used in a constructive way. The tldr project is such an example.

The tldr project is a collection of community-maintained help pages for command-line tools that aims to be a simpler, more approachable complement to traditional man pages.

Installation

On a fresh installation of Ubuntu 21.04, we use npm, a package manager for the JavaScript programming language. to install tldr’s client. First we need to install npm.

$ sudo apt install npm

Next we install tldr using npm.

$ sudo npm install -g tldr

We’ve only tested the Node.js client, as it’s the most mature client developed. But there are command-line clients, GUIs, web-based clients, and even clients which integrate with other software.

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Summary


Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
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4 comments

  1. I love tldr. Somewhat surprised it wasn’t included earlier. I found it indispensable when I was starting out. The manual pages are find when you know what you are doing but are a pretty lame introduction.

  2. I always recommend my students consult tldr and cheat.sh before exploring other documentation. Personally I prefer tealdeer, it’s written in Rust, and probably the quickest implementation.

    1. I think you are referring to tealdeer. Like tldr, neither needs a network connection to use it (except to update the cache). I often have an unreliable net connection. the tools get round this issue, I can still keep learning

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