tap is a very useful command. If you run "tap" by itself, it lists
the available applications that are not built into the system. It will
not list applications such as Adobe Acrobat (acroread) and Mozilla
Firefox (firefox) that are more closely tied to the operating system but
it will list most other installed applications. The application
descriptions will typically be short but you can usually tell what they
are. If not, you can try the applications out to determine what the
application is, version number, etc.
tap is used to set up the environment to run an application. It
often has a message included to explain something about the application
you have selected. The message will pop up whether you run the
application from the command line or using a menu. The message may be
very detailed with lots of useful information or it may be quite short
depending upon who wrote the entry and what they were trying to inform
the user about.
If you run "tap mathematica" for example, tap will set up the
environment for Mathematica to run and it will display a message
indicating that other versions of Mathematica may be available and to
run "math" to run command line Mathematica or "mathematica" to get the
If you use a particular piece of software often from the command
line, add "tap -q <software-name>" to your .bashrc.mine and/or
.cshrc.mine which will run tap automatically for you for each terminal
you start up.