Man pages (after the Unix command man, what english manual, manual ' is ) are a collection of help and documentation pages on Unix and related operating systems. You will be searched using the commands you and whatis and output. For rapid screening, a separate index, the so-called Whatis database created. Man pages are generated with the help of specially designed macro package is dripping with the Unix system tools.


Outline Sections

Man pages are in large parts not expressly by the POSIX standard ( IEEE Std 1003.1 ) standardized, but the standardization was done merely for the absolute minimum. However, it has a similar on most Unix derivatives division into so-called Sections (chapters, sections ) introduced, the modeled on the original division into eight sections.

Example is the Sections on AIX (title in C locale ):

  • ( 2) system calls and kernel services
  • ( 3) Subroutines
  • ( 4) Special Files, Device Drivers and Hardware
  • ( 5) Configuration Files
  • (6 ) Games
  • ( 7) Miscellaneous Commands

Structure of individual man pages

A similar informal convention as the chapters has come to be also in the construction of each item. Strong of this Convention only soft systems from which derive their system commands from the GNU Initiative (Linux, FreeBSD, etc. ), because the GNU project tried man pages through in their eyes better alternatives ( Texinfo ) replace. Nevertheless, there are man pages for programs which do not supply this kind of documentation, as such have been created for specific Linux distributions ( the Debian project requires that all programs must have a man page ); in many cases these are, however, only short descriptions, sometimes out of date, usually only available in English, in addition, they are not included with every system.

A man page is typically divided into the following areas, bracketed sections are optional:











On manpages in certain sections is usually in the form of entry title (N) referred to, where N is the number of the section, about syslogd ( 1) or syslogd ( 8). For most programs, there is only one section. If not specified section number when calling you, the first section finds.

The man pages are as individual documents by default in / usr / share / man, in a specified directory hierarchy, the locale ( local-language translations of the principle in written English documents), section, etc. maps. Most of the implementations of you even the environment variable MANPATH is understood, but their use is not expressly covered by the POSIX standard.

By means of the command apropos ( a usual shell alias for man-k ), one can search the database by Keyword Whatis. The return is a list of found items including section number, which can be passed as an argument a renewed call to you then.