Meta Demo Help Page

The Meta Demo is a "proof of concept" implementation of some of the ideas contained in the Meta Project. At this point, the demo covers only the standard FreeBSD distribution. For additional information on the demo (and Meta itself), see the Meta Demo Info Page.

Each browser page displays information about a specific path name or manual page. This includes both descriptive text and links to (putatively) related items. Because of resource limitations, we are not yet able to display the items themselves. So, use the browser to find useful resources, then display them on your local system.

To get to the web page for an arbitrary path name (e.g., /usr/bin/vi) or man page (e.g., vi(1)), enter it into the "Target" form at the top of the page and hit the "return" key. Alternatively, you can append a full path name onto the Meta Demo's base URL for a given release. In the case of FreeBSD 4.2, for example, the URL for information on /usr/bin/vi would be

The links that show up on the returned page can be used to visit other pages. Because the demo does not show all of the pages that might be relevant for a given starting page (that way lies madness :-), it is quite possible that new pages will contain a differing set of links.

Several links appear at the top of each page. The comment link brings up a pre-addressed mailer window, allowing you to submit comments, questions, or suggestions about the current page. The help link brings up the page that you are currently reading. The search link brings up a keyword-searching page. The searching is done in the manner of whatis(1), save that multiple words may be specified (returned lines match all specified words).

In some situations (e.g., /dev/*, font directories), there are far too many possible names to detail. Fortunately, there are often naming conventions that can be used to mechanize name recognition. To see a demonstration of rule-based name parsing, try specifying an arbitrary device name, as:

While you're on the page, try the regular expressions link. The page it brings up provides expanded, annotated versions of the regular expressions that match names of related device nodes.