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NAME

       whatis - display manual page descriptions

SYNOPSIS

       whatis  [-dlhV]  [-r|-w]  [-s  section] [-m system[,...]] [-M path] [-L
       locale] [-C file] name ...

DESCRIPTION

       Each manual page has a short description available within  it.   whatis
       searches   the   manual   page  names  and  displays  the  manual  page
       descriptions of any name matched.

       name may contain wildcards (-w) or be a regular expression (-r).  Using
       these  options, it may be necessary to quote the name or escape (\) the
       special characters to stop the shell from interpreting them.

       index databases are used during the search,  and  are  updated  by  the
       mandb  program.   Depending  on your installation, this may be run by a
       periodic cron job, or may need to be  run  manually  after  new  manual
       pages  have  been  installed.   To  produce  an  old  style text whatis
       database from the relative index database, issue the command:

       whatis -M manpath -w â€â€™*â€â€™ | sort > manpath/whatis

       where manpath is a manual page hierarchy such as /usr/man.

OPTIONS

       -d, --debug
              Print debugging information.

       -v, --verbose
              Print verbose warning messages.

       -r, --regex
              Interpret each name as a regular expression.  If a name  matches
              any  part  of  a  page  name, a match will be made.  This option
              causes whatis to  be  somewhat  slower  due  to  the  nature  of
              database searches.

       -w, --wildcard
              Interpret   each  name  as  a  pattern  containing  shell  style
              wildcards.  For a match to be made, an expanded name must  match
              the  entire page name.  This option causes whatis to be somewhat
              slower due to the nature of database searches.

       -l, --long
              Do not trim output to the terminal width.  Normally, output will
              be  truncated  to  the terminal width to avoid ugly results from
              poorly-written NAME sections.

       -s section, --section section
              Search only the given manual section.  If section  is  a  simple
              section,   for   example   "3",   then  the  displayed  list  of
              descriptions will include pages in sections "3", "3perl",  "3x",
              and  so  on;  while  if  section  has  an extension, for example
              "3perl", then the list will only include  pages  in  that  exact
              part of the manual section.

       -m system[,...], --systems=system[,...]
              If  this  system  has  access to other operating system’s manual
              page names, they can be accessed using this option.   To  search
              NewOS’s manual page names, use the option -m NewOS.

              The  system  specified  can  be a combination of comma delimited
              operating system names.  To  include  a  search  of  the  native
              operating  system’s  manual  page names, include the system name
              man in the argument  string.   This  option  will  override  the
              $SYSTEM environment variable.

       -M path, --manpath=path
              Specify   an   alternate  set  of  colon-delimited  manual  page
              hierarchies to search.  By default,  whatis  uses  the  $MANPATH
              environment variable, unless it is empty or unset, in which case
              it will determine an appropriate manpath  based  on  your  $PATH
              environment  variable.   This  option  overrides the contents of
              $MANPATH.

       -L locale, --locale=locale
              whatis will normally determine your current locale by a call  to
              the   C   function   setlocale(3)   which  interrogates  various
              environment  variables,  possibly  including  $LC_MESSAGES   and
              $LANG.   To  temporarily override the determined value, use this
              option to supply a locale string directly to whatis.  Note  that
              it  will  not  take  effect  until the search for pages actually
              begins.   Output  such  as  the  help  message  will  always  be
              displayed in the initially determined locale.

       -C file, --config-file=file
              Use  this  user  configuration  file  rather than the default of
              ~/.manpath.

       -h, --help
              Print a help message and exit.

       -V, --version
              Display version information.

EXIT STATUS

       0      Successful program execution.

       1      Usage, syntax or configuration file error.

       2      Operational error.

       16     Nothing was found that matched the criteria specified.

ENVIRONMENT

       SYSTEM If $SYSTEM is set, it will have the same effect  as  if  it  had
              been specified as the argument to the -m option.

       MANPATH
              If  $MANPATH  is  set,  its  value  is interpreted as the colon-
              delimited manual page hierarchy search path to use.

       MANWIDTH
              If $MANWIDTH is set, its value is used  as  the  terminal  width
              (see  the  --long option).  If it is not set, the terminal width
              will be calculated using an ioctl(2) if available, the value  of
              $COLUMNS, or falling back to 80 characters if all else fails.

FILES

       /usr/share/man/index.(bt|db|dir|pag)
              A traditional global index database cache.

       /var/cache/man/index.(bt|db|dir|pag)
              An FHS compliant global index database cache.

       /usr/share/man/.../whatis
              A traditional whatis text database.

SEE ALSO

       apropos(1), man(1), mandb(8).

AUTHOR

       Wilf. (G.Wilford@ee.surrey.ac.uk).
       Fabrizio Polacco (fpolacco@debian.org).