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Re: Question about Getting MIDI Output

From: David Boersma
Subject: Re: Question about Getting MIDI Output
Date: Sat, 20 Apr 2002 13:07:05 +0200 (MET DST)

Hello Mel,

> But I am not sufficiently familiar with Unix-style command-line syntax to
> make the task of following them as easy as I would like it to be.  Have you
> any suggestions for a quick way for one to familiarize oneself with this
> syntax?

* About learning 'shell' or 'command line syntax':

I myself learned working with the shell in an evolutionary way: starting
with only the 'ls', 'rm', 'mv' commands, and gradually learning more by
"spying" while working together with other people and reading other
people's shell scripts, etc.. The hard but systematic way to learn is by 
using 'man' and 'apropos'. The man command (short for manual), invoked as 
for instance

prompt> man lilypond

gives you a short description what lilypond can do, how you should use it, 
and what 'command line options' you have. If you want the computer to do 
something but do not know which command to use, you could try the command

prompt> apropos keyword

which gives you a list of all man-pages of commands whose functionality 
matches 'keyword'. This command can give both magic and frustrating 

There are probably quite a few shell tutorials on the web and because of
the subject I think most of them are also viewable with a text/braille
interface (which I assume is what you use). Via I found a
reference to (yes, that's on the
website of the Linux Users group of Malta, an island in the Mediterranean
Sea; linux on the beach!). I checked this link with the 'lynx' program.
That is a text-based webbrowser, probably you use it already.

(I checked the link also with a graphical browser and I have to say that
IMHO the lynx version actually looks *better* than the graphical version)

It (the shell tutorial) does a good job describing many aspects of (using
the) shell. It explains how to 'redirect' output from a program to a file,

prompt> ls -l /usr > usrlist.txt

makes a long-format list of all files in the /usr directory and the ">"  
sign takes care that the output is not shown on the screen but stored in a
new file "usrlist.tex". Unfortunately, they do not tell you that this only 
refers to the 'standard' output. There is also 'error' output, which is 
still printed to the screen with ">". If you would like to redirect *all* 
output to file, you should use ">&" instead. That is what you might use 
the next time you encounter a problem with running ly2dvi:

prompt> ly2dvi >& lilyoutput.txt

Then you can send the lilyoutput.txt as an attachment to the mailing list
(and of course you have first checked the mailing list archive and the
documentation at

Of course there are many more shell tutorials on the web. There actually
several kinds of shells; so before picking a tutorial check whether you
have a 'C shell' (csh) or a Bourne (Again) shell (sh, bash), or yet
another shell. With Google I found for bash a comprensive tutorial, which looks good to me, but
probably it's better if other people on this list post a few links for
tutorials which they found very instructive. For the case at hand it would
be handy if you first checked that the link is comfortably viewable in a
textbrowser, i.e. essential info should never be hidden in screenshots
etc. and the site should preferrably not use frames.

Well, I wrote a long story. Maybe I have elaborated on things that you
already knew quite well, I hope some of the other things are useful.

David Boersma

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