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6.50. Man-DB-2.5.7

The Man-DB package contains programs for finding and viewing man pages.

Approximate build time: 0.4 SBU
Required disk space: 22 MB

6.50.1. Installation of Man-DB

First apply the following patch to fix problems when viewing some man pages:

patch -Np1 -i ../man-db-2.5.7-fix_man_assertion-1.patch

Prepare Man-DB for compilation:

./configure --prefix=/usr --libexecdir=/usr/lib \
    --docdir=/usr/share/doc/man-db-2.5.7 --sysconfdir=/etc --disable-setuid \
    --with-browser=/usr/bin/lynx --with-vgrind=/usr/bin/vgrind \

The meaning of the configure options:


This disables making the man program setuid to user man.


These three parameters are used to set some default programs. lynx is a text-based web browser (see BLFS for installation instructions), vgrind converts program sources to Groff input, and grap is useful for typesetting graphs in Groff documents. The vgrind and grap programs are not normally needed for viewing manual pages. They are not part of LFS or BLFS, but you should be able to install them yourself after finishing LFS if you wish to do so.

Compile the package:


To test the results, issue:

make check

Install the package:

make install

6.50.2. Non-English Manual Pages in LFS

The following table shows the character set that Man-DB assumes manual pages installed under /usr/share/man/<ll> will be encoded with. In addition to this, Man-DB correctly determines if manual pages installed in that directory are UTF-8 encoded.

Table 6.1. Expected character encoding of legacy 8-bit manual pages

Language (code) Encoding Language (code) Encoding
Danish (da) ISO-8859-1 Croatian (hr) ISO-8859-2
German (de) ISO-8859-1 Hungarian (hu) ISO-8859-2
English (en) ISO-8859-1 Japanese (ja) EUC-JP
Spanish (es) ISO-8859-1 Korean (ko) EUC-KR
Estonian (et) ISO-8859-1 Lithuanian (lt) ISO-8859-13
Finnish (fi) ISO-8859-1 Latvian (lv) ISO-8859-13
French (fr) ISO-8859-1 Macedonian (mk) ISO-8859-5
Irish (ga) ISO-8859-1 Polish (pl) ISO-8859-2
Galician (gl) ISO-8859-1 Romanian (ro) ISO-8859-2
Indonesian (id) ISO-8859-1 Russian (ru) KOI8-R
Icelandic (is) ISO-8859-1 Slovak (sk) ISO-8859-2
Italian (it) ISO-8859-1 Slovenian (sl) ISO-8859-2
Norwegian Bokmal (nb) ISO-8859-1 Serbian Latin (sr@latin) ISO-8859-2
Dutch (nl) ISO-8859-1 Serbian (sr) ISO-8859-5
Norwegian Nynorsk (nn) ISO-8859-1 Turkish (tr) ISO-8859-9
Norwegian (no) ISO-8859-1 Ukrainian (uk) KOI8-U
Portuguese (pt) ISO-8859-1 Vietnamese (vi) TCVN5712-1
Swedish (sv) ISO-8859-1 Simplified Chinese (zh_CN) GBK
Belarusian (be) CP1251 Simplified Chinese, Singapore (zh_SG) GBK
Bulgarian (bg) CP1251 Traditional Chinese, Hong Kong (zh_HK) BIG5HKSCS
Czech (cs) ISO-8859-2 Traditional Chinese (zh_TW) BIG5
Greek (el) ISO-8859-7    



Manual pages in languages not in the list are not supported.

6.50.3. Contents of Man-DB

Installed programs: accessdb, apropos (link to whatis), catman, lexgrog, man, mandb, manpath, whatis, and zsoelim
Installed directories: /usr/lib/man-db, /usr/share/doc/man-db

Short Descriptions


Dumps the whatis database contents in human-readable form


Searches the whatis database and displays the short descriptions of system commands that contain a given string


Creates or updates the pre-formatted manual pages


Displays one-line summary information about a given manual page


Formats and displays the requested manual page


Creates or updates the whatis database


Displays the contents of $MANPATH or (if $MANPATH is not set) a suitable search path based on the settings in man.conf and the user's environment


Searches the whatis database and displays the short descriptions of system commands that contain the given keyword as a separate word


Reads files and replaces lines of the form .so file by the contents of the mentioned file