rtfm -- Acronym for Read The F*cking Manual

	Person1: "How do I...?"
	Person2: "RTFM" 
	Person1: "huh?"

	RTFM is often used as a response to technical questions. Unfortunately,
	many people don't even know how to *find* the manual, let alone 
	understand it.

	If someone tells you to RTFM, they could mean any of the 
	(1)	The manual says it better than I do, please look there.
	(2)	I'm too busy to answer you right now; try to find the answer 
	(3)	I don't know the answer to your question.
	(4)	I've been asked this question too many times and I'm irritable. 
		Find the answer yourself.

	There are a number of options available when you have been told to 

	(1)	Try the man pages.  (Or info, or --help)
		This is useful if you know the name of the command or 
		application you are using.  Type "man " (without the quotes) 
		followed by the name of the command.  For more information on 
		man, (which is short for "manual") type "man man" (without the

		If you don't know the exact command you need, try using apropos
		or man -k to get a list of commands that do have man pages 
		available. (eg "man -k rename")

		Also, sometimes there is more than one man page with the same 
		name that might be listed like this: "hiccup(8)" To get to that
		particular page, use "man 8 hiccup".

		Similarly, you can use the "info" command to get more 
		information on some applications, (type "info info" to learn 
		more about info) and you can often use the --help or -h flag 
		(eg "man --help") to get a quick summary of options.

	(2)	Look for other documentation on your machine.  
		Try looking in /usr/doc or /usr/doc/HOWTO or other 
		documentation directories.  (The location of the documentation
		will vary depending on how your system is setup.)

	(3)	Look at the Linux Documentation Project.
  		It can be found at  In fact, this is
		probably easier than looking for documentation on your system.

	(4)	Search the web.  
		Try looking through archives to see if anyone else has asked 
		the same question.  I suggest using Google 
		( for websearches or searching 
		newsgroups using, but there are many
		other ways to do it.

		If your queries are coming up with information that doesn't 
		help you, try including the search terms like "HOWTO", "FAQ" or 

		If you're using a specific application, make sure to look up 
		the webpage for that application.  And try to look at the 
		homepage for your distribution (Eg:,,, etc.).  Often
		they have search engines of their own.

	(5)	Rephrase your query.
		Maybe what you asked was too broad or wasn't well understood. 
		Rather than just asking exactly the same thing again, try to 
		explain yourself further, telling people what you've tried and
		what documentation you've already read.  Ask if anyone knows 
		of a good HOW-TO or can direct you to a webpage.  As a rule, 
		the more information you give about your problem the more 
		likely someone is to be able to help, and people are much more
		willing to help you if you're showing that you're really 
		interested in learning.

		If you've posted on a public forum, often there are many people
		listening to your query, so give them a chance to respond 
		before giving up hope!

	(6)	Ask a knowledgeable friend.
		If you know someone, they're more likely to feel guilty about 
		brushing you off and telling you to read the manual.  It's not
		a bad idea to offer to make them dinner or do them a favour as
		a thank you!  

	man, info, help,

	Many people are told to "RTFM" before they know what it stands for, nor
	where to find the appropriate manual.  This page is intended to help.

	Terri Oda (terri (a) compiled this man page with the help of
	the members of the lists at