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I've been checking out source codes of some Linux software. For instance, if I were to run cd /usr/bin and type sudo nano libreoffice, I would see the LibreOffice source code.

However most programs are different. For instance sudo nano cmatrix shows a lot of junk with few recognizable strings of text. It does state at the bottom of nano "Converted from Mac format". I'm not sure what that means, and I don't see it every time I see junk like this.

How can I see the source code of a program like this, or can't I?

Note I'm looking in /usr/bin based on this diagram. Also, note that this isn't restricted to nano. I've also tried vi, but I prefer nano.

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    The libreoffice file you're looking at happens to be a shell script. On the other hand, the majority of the files in /usr/bin are binaries and can't be viewed by a text editor. To get source code, you'll have to download the source; e.g., apt-get source cmatrix. – dsstorefile1 Mar 22 '18 at 2:29
  • also /usr/bin/libreoffice is not the source code for libre office. – ravery Mar 22 '18 at 2:32
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  • It is most likely compiled...However, you can find the source code for LibreOffice... there --> github.com/LibreOffice – NerdOfCode Mar 22 '18 at 2:56
  • If you do file cmatrix you'll probably see that this file is a binary (ELF). – muclux Mar 22 '18 at 6:42
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That is not the "source code" for libreoffice, it's just a shell script that sets up the environment and starts the real libreoffice.

If you install the apt-src package, you can use it to download the actual source of ubuntu packages. Read man apt-src.

  • Or use apt-get source directly. – muru Mar 22 '18 at 2:36

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