The original man page was written by Ross Paterson.
Richard Stallman contributed his usual invaluable insights to the overall process.
Certain options are available in all of these programs.
Rather than writing identical descriptions for each of the programs, they are described here.
(In fact, every GNU program accepts (or should accept) these options.) Normally options and operands can appear in any order, and programs act as if all the options appear before any operands.
For example, ‘ command’s options must appear before its operands, since in some cases the operands specify a command that itself contains options.
Most programs that accept long options recognize unambiguous abbreviations of those options.
For example, ‘’ operand is not really an option, though it looks like one.
It stands for a file operand, and some tools treat it as standard input, or as standard output if that is clear from the context.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.
This manual is a work in progress: many sections make no attempt to explain basic concepts in a way suitable for novices.