catman(8) System Manager's Manual catman(8)
catman - Creates or rebuilds formatted reference pages and the whatis database
/usr/sbin/catman [-M search_path] [-cnpvw] [section...]
Creates formatted versions of reference pages only in the set of directories specified by search_path. The search_path argument has the
form of a colon-separated list of directory names. The default search path (assuming MANPATH has not been set) is the following:
The -M option, unlike the MANPATH setting, overrides the default placement of the whatis database (in /usr/share/man). When the -M
option is included in a command that builds the whatis database, catman creates the database in the first directory included in
Refer to the man(1) reference page for more information on the MANPATH variable. See DESCRIPTION for a list of locale directives
that can be included in search_path. Uses the gzip command to compress preformatted output files. The -c option has no effect when
used with the -w option. Prevents creation of the whatis database. Displays what would be done instead of doing it. Displays the
name of each reference page file as it is being processed. Causes only the whatis database to be created. No reformatting is done.
Specifies one or more reference page sections whose corresponding directories are to be searched for files. If you do not specify this
parameter, the command searches for reference page source files in all section directories encountered in its search path.
The section operand affects creation of preformatted files, not the whatis database. The catman command always searches all section
directories in its search path when creating the whatis database.
The catman command creates formatted versions of the online reference pages from the nroff source files. The command also creates from the
NAME entries in source files the whatis database that is used by the whatis and apropos commands.
When catman is invoked, each reference page is examined and those whose preformatted versions are missing or out of date are created by
nroff using the -man macro package. See man(5).
An argument not starting with a - (single minus sign) is assumed to be a list of the reference sections to look in. If you do not specify a
list, catman formats all reference pages in the search path. In general, sections are referenced by a single digit in the range 1 through
8. But, you can use any section allowed by the man command. The list of sections is applied to all reference page areas in the search
If a .../man/cat? directory does not exist for a section, catman creates the directory.
The command recognizes and appropriately processes either compressed or uncompressed source files. By default, the command creates format-
ted files in uncompressed form; however, you can specify the -c option to direct catman to compress its output files. When catman processes
an uncompressed source file, any corresponding pointers are generated as symbolic links. When catman processes a compressed source file,
any corresponding pointers are generated as hard links. Refer to man(1) for more information, including restrictions, that apply to point-
ers and compressed files.
A reference page source file can include a multicharacter 7-bit ASCII subsection suffix appended to its name, following the section charac-
ter. The subsection suffix, if it exists, must start with a letter. The formatted reference page file also includes the subsection suffix
in its name.
The catman command assumes that reference page source files can contain unprocessed tables and equations. Therefore, it automatically pro-
cesses source files through tbl and neqn before invoking nroff. When catman processes a compressed file, the command automatically exe-
cutes the gunzip -c command to uncompress the file before piping output to the other commands.
Processing reference pages always invokes nroff with the -Tlp option to format output for the term(4) lp device. See RESTRICTIONS for
information appropriate for printers and some display devices.
When you view preformatted reference page files directly with the more command, you should invoke more with the -svf options. The vf
options ensure that the pages display properly in cases where the nroff lp device driver generates special device control codes.
The following locale directives can be included in the pathnames in search_path: The current locale name, for example, ja_JP.eucJP, that is
defined for the LC_MESSAGES environment variable. The same as %L except that any "@" modifier on the locale name is removed. The language
element of the current locale name, for example, ja. The territory element of the current locale name, for example, JP. The codeset ele-
ment from the current locale name, for example, eucJP. A single % (percent sign) character.
These directives allow catman to use the current locale setting to find translated source files and create translated output files
in an appropriate and predictable location. Refer to the i18n_intro(5) reference page for more information about locales and asso-
ciated environment variables.
The following subsections discuss restrictions associated with both catman and its input and output files.
Reference Page Pointers
Refer to man(1) for introductory information on reference page pointers and general pointer restrictions.
When processing reference page files, the catman command changes its directory to each reference page area in the search path. Some refer-
ence pages assume this change of directory. Therefore, an attempt to format uncompressed reference pages can fail if any directives speci-
fying partial pathnames do not start with man?/.
Optional Section Directories
The /usr/share/man/man? directories for sections C, L, F, n, l, p, o, and 0 are optional. Only your system administrator can create them.
Once they are created, however, catman will create the corresponding .../man/cat? directories whenever it receives a request to format
reference pages in one of those sections.
The whatis Database
The whatis (man -f) and apropos (man -k) commands fail unless the whatis database exists in the /usr/share/man directory or, if the command
includes the -M option, in the search path specified with that option.
The operating system can optionally install a /usr/share/man/whatis file that is useful during system configuration tasks. However, you
must recreate this file manually if you install reference pages that are not included in subsets for the operating system product; other-
wise, entries for the additional reference pages are not included in the whatis database.
You create or recreate the whatis file when you invoke catman without specifying the -n option. You can also specify the -w option to cre-
ate the whatis file without creating or updating preformatted reference pages in the cat? directories.
An update installation procedure or a setld command that processes reference page subsets for the operating system itself may selectively
remove or add specific whatis database entries to help keep the database up to date. However, this feature is of limited use in making
sure that the whatis database remains current with respect to the reference pages that are actually available on the system. As already
mentioned, selective update is not supported by most of the optional software products that can load reference pages to the system. Fur-
thermore, selective update has database location dependencies. For selective update to work, the whatis entries for all operating system
product reference pages (including those for CDE) must reside in /usr/share/man/whatis. In other words, automatic and selective revision
of the whatis database does not work correctly if the whatis database is rebuilt in a directory other than /usr/share/man or if the system
administrator creates a CDE-specific whatis database in the /usr/dt/share/man directory.
Therefore, do not rely on automatic update of the whatis database to ensure that its entries reflect the current set of reference pages
installed on the system. It is strongly recommended that you always use the catman command to manually rebuild the database as the last
task following a completed series of software product installations.
Default Formatting Is Not Appropriate for All Devices
The catman command formats reference pages for the nroff lp device. The lp device driver, as supplied by the operating system, is set to
generate output for Compaq Computer Corporation video terminals, but not for all printers or third-party terminals. If your system adminis-
trator changes the supplied setting for the lp device, all preformatted reference page files created by man or catman should be deleted and
then reformatted for the new lp device.
Preformatted reference pages may not be in a format suitable for printing on your hardcopy printers. To format a reference page for a spe-
cific printer, move to the reference page area and issue a command such as the following: % cd /usr/share/man % gunzip -c man1/ls.1.gz |tbl
|neqn |nroff -Tdevice -man -h | lpr -Pmyprinter
Replace the device argument with /usr/share/lib/term/tabdevice, where device is the name of a device listed in term(4). The lpr device set-
ting, because it supports primitive line printers, is least likely to cause problems that are related to escape sequences that the device
cannot handle. On the other hand, if the reference page has tables and the device is not capable of reverse line movements, column entries
intended to be in the same row may not align correctly.
Preformatted reference pages also might not be in a format suitable for display on video terminals from other vendors. To format a refer-
ence page for a specific display device, move to the reference page directory and issue a command such as the following: % cd
/usr/share/man % gunzip -c man1/ls.1 |tbl |neqn |nroff -Tdevice -man -h | more -svf
Replace the device argument with /usr/share/lib/term/tabdevice, where device is the name of a device listed in term(4).
Success. An error occurred.
To create or update compressed preformatted files for reference pages and also create or rebuild the whatis database, enter: catman -c To
create uncompressed preformatted files only for sections 1, 2, and 3, enter: catman 123
This command also creates or rebuilds the whatis database. The new database contains entries for reference pages in all sections
(not just 1, 2, and 3) that are found in the search path. To create or rebuild the whatis database without creating or updating
formatted files, enter: catman -w To create compressed preformatted files for all reference pages in the search path but not rebuild
the whatis database, enter: catman -c -n
Main reference page area Directories containing source files for most reference pages Directories containing preformatted files for most
reference pages Reference page area for the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) Directories containing source files for CDE reference pages
Directories containing preformatted files for CDE reference pages Local (site-specific) reference page area Directories containing source
files for local reference pages Directories containing preformatted files for local reference pages The whatis database created or modified
by catman unless the -M option is specified Command script to make the whatis database Program used by the mkwhatis command to extract data
from reference pages
Commands: man(1), neqn(1), nroff(1), tbl(1)
Files: term(4), man(5), rsml(5)