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whatis



SYNOPSIS

       whatis [-dhV] [-r|-w] [-m system[,...]] [-M path] 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.  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.

       -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.

       -m system[,...], --systems=system[,...]
              If  this  system has access to other operating sys­
              tem'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


EXIT STATUS

       0      Successful program execution.

       1      Usage, syntax or configuration file error.

       2      Operational error.

       16     No  manual pages were found that matched the crite­
              ria 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.


FILES

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

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

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


SEE ALSO

       apropos(1), man(1).


AUTHOR

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

2.4.1                   07 September 2001               whatis(1)
  

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