pg: A little underfeatured, a little overweight

I held back pg from the list of coreutils extras last week, because I wanted to take a closer look and see if I was misusing it.

pg is a pager, but it seems terribly rudimentary. Perhaps that’s because I usually rely on most, which has quite a lot of features.


At the same time though, pg seems to be taking up a rather large chunk of memory, for what it does.


That’s about the lowest value I could get for pg‘s memory usage, and on the grand scale of things, 380Kb is not a terrible number. After all, most needs about four times that to display the same file.

But it does point out some of pg‘s shortcomings, in particular its lack of (or my inability to find) a way to move backward in a file. There are keypresses for the end of a file, for previous and next files, but I can’t get pg to roll back in the current file.

I might be overlooking it, but even aside from all its other quirks, it’s a dealbreaker for me. A one-way pager is not really any better than ls with CTRL+S or maybe SHIFT+Page_Up. Actually, come to think of it, SHIFT+Page_Up would be an improvement over pg. 🙄

So I leave it at that. If I’m being terrifically obtuse and overlooking the obvious answer, please let me know. In the mean time I’m going to keep banging my head against the wall, because it feels good when I stop. :\

3 thoughts on “pg: A little underfeatured, a little overweight

  1. thisnameisfalse

    Hi, manpage of pg(1) gives you the navigation keys, but in a obtuse language. See USAGE section.

    “ENTER”: advance one page, relative movement
    “-1+ENTER”: backwards one page, relative movement
    “-7+ENTER”: backwards seven pages, relative movement
    “1+ENTER”, “2+ENTER”… go to page 1, page 2… absolute movement
    “1d+ENTER”, “5d+ENTER”: go to halfpage 1, halfpage 5… absolute movement


    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Thank you, that makes so much more sense when you explain it that way. I read that man page three or four times and still couldn’t get it to move backwards. Thanks. 😉

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