WHATIS(1) Manual pager utils WHATIS(1)
whatis - display manual page descriptions
whatis [-dhV] [-r|-w] [-s section] [-m system[,...]] [-M path] [-C
file] name ...
Each manual page has a short description available within it. whatis
searches the manual page names and displays the manual page descrip
tions 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 com
whatis -M manpath -w * | sort > manpath/whatis
where manpath is a manual page hierarchy such as /usr/man.
Print debugging information.
Print verbose warning messages.
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
Interpret each name as a pattern containing shell style wild
cards. 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.
-s section, --section section
Search only the given manual section. If section is a simple
section, for example "3", then the displayed list of descrip
tions 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 man
-m system[,...], --systems=system[,...]
If this system has access to other operating systems manual
page names, they can be accessed using this option. To search
NewOSs 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 oper
ating systems manual page names, include the system name man in
the argument string. This option will override the $SYSTEM
-M path, --manpath=path
Specify an alternate set of colon-delimited manual page hierar
chies to search. By default, apropos uses the $MANPATH environ
ment variable, unless it is empty or unset, in which case it
will determine an appropriate manpath based on your $PATH envi
ronment variable. This option overrides the contents of $MAN
-C file, --config-file=file
Use this user configuration file rather than the default of
Print a help message and exit.
Display version information.
0 Successful program execution.
1 Usage, syntax or configuration file error.
2 Operational error.
16 No manual pages were 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-delim
ited manual page hierarchy search path to use.
A traditional global index database cache.
An alternate or FSSTND compliant global index database cache.
A traditional whatis text database.
Fabrizio Polacco (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2.4.3 2005-07-03 WHATIS(1)