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Linux 2.6 - man page for whatis (linux section 1)

WHATIS(1)				Manual pager utils				WHATIS(1)

       whatis - display manual page descriptions

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

       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.  Depend-
       ing 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 '*' | sort > manpath/whatis

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

       -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 list, --sections list, --section list
	      Search only the given manual sections.  list is a colon- or comma-separated list of
	      sections.  If an entry in list is a simple section, for example "3", then the  dis-
	      played  list of descriptions will include pages in sections "3", "3perl", "3x", and
	      so on; while if an entry in list 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 set-
	      locale(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.

       0      Successful program execution.

       1      Usage, syntax or configuration file error.

       2      Operational error.

       16     Nothing was found that matched the criteria specified.

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

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

	      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

	      A traditional global index database cache.

	      An FHS compliant global index database cache.

	      A traditional whatis text database.

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

       Wilf. (G.Wilford@ee.surrey.ac.uk).
       Fabrizio Polacco (fpolacco@debian.org).
       Colin Watson (cjwatson@debian.org). 				    2011-04-13					WHATIS(1)

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