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SuSE 11.3 - man page for whatis (suse section 1)

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WHATIS(1)				Manual pager utils				WHATIS(1)

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.  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.

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 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.

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).

2.5.2					    2008-05-05					WHATIS(1)
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