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The more I learn about man pages, the more amazed I am by what the man program can do. (Unfortunately, I am not nearly as amazed by the content of the man pages.)

See man man

Among other things, man is apparently the thing that drives the apropos ( man -k printf is the equivalent of apropos -r printf ) and the whatis ( man -f smail is the equivalent of whatis -r smail ) commands. Also, you can find introductory man pages (of some sort) with man -a intro .

Oops, wait, the man -a intro isn't as good as I hoped — it cycles through several (not terribly helpful pages) named intro, but does not find, for example, pages like rcsintro. (And now that I look at the command, I remember that the -a option finds essentially all pages (in all the sections 1 thru 9) named intro. Don't know if there is a way to use a wild card (short of, perhaps, a shell script, like for %f in *intro ... (making that up, not sure at all that's even close to proper syntax).)

< the original page>

I've installed a few programs as precompiled binaries in tarballs. The question arises, how do you install the man pages?

Now I see the light — man is the man page pager program. Thus you can view any file that contains text marked up using gnroff markup. If you put those files in specific directories (like /usr/share/man/man1), they are accessed just like the "normal" man pages (i.e., you can call them up like man ls (or even man man)). If you don't put them in those directories, you can issue man with a specific file name and path. man is able to handle compressed files, e.g., /usr/man/man1/netpipes.1.gz.




A Workaround

Until I know how and where to "officially" install a man page, a workaround is to simply use the man executable to view the .man file, like so:

$man <path><man_file_name>


$man ./nc.man

or, you can use gnroff, like

4 gnroff -man ./nc.man

(gnroff doesn't seem to exist on my system).

Official Location

/usr/share/man, /usr/man, maybe others. There might be a MANPATH, but I haven't found it on my Knoppix 3.2 install, yet man finds pages in both /usr/share/man and /usr/man (and maybe others??).

HTML Output

man -H <man_page_name> will generate an HTML version of the page and display it in the default browser specified by the environment variable $BROWSER:

rhk@system5:~$ BROWSER="konqueror"
rhk@system5:~$ export BROWSER
rhk@system5:~$ set | grep BRO


_See Resource Recommendations.


  • (rhk) [[][]]; ; ; —
  • man man
  • Linux Programmer's Reference; Richard Petersen; 2nd Edition; ISBN 0-07-212355-9, pp 242-~248


  • () RandyKramer - 27 Jun 2003
  • If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and if you've used a comment marker (your initials in parenthesis), include it before your WikiName.

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Topic revision: r5 - 2003-07-04 - RandyKramer
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