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MAN.CONF(5)                 BSD File Formats Manual                MAN.CONF(5)

NAME
     man.conf -- configuration file for man(1)

DESCRIPTION
     The man(1), apropos(1), whatis(1) and makewhatis(8) commands search for
     manual pages or their database files as specified by the man.conf file.
     Manual pages are normally expected to be preformatted (see nroff(1)) and
     named with a trailing ``.0''.

     The man.conf file contains two types of lines.

     The first type of line is a ``section'' line, which contains a section
     name followed by one or more directory paths.  The directory paths may
     contain the normal shell globbing characters, including curly braces
     (``{}''); to escape a shell globbing character, precede it with a back-
     slash (``\'').  Lines in this format specify that manual pages for the
     section may be found in the following directories.

     Section lines may contain either absolute directory paths or relative
     directory paths (but not both).  Relative directory paths are treated as
     a list of subdirectories to append to the current directory search path.
     Section lines with absolute directory paths (starting with ``/'') com-
     pletely replace the current directory search path with their content.
     Absolute directory paths named with a trailing slash character are
     expected to contain subdirectories of manual pages, (see the keyword
     ``_subdir'' below) instead of man pages.  These subdirectories are
     searched instead of the directory.

     Before searching any directory for a manual page, the man(1) command
     always searches the subdirectory with the same name as the current
     machine type, if it exists.  No specification of these subdirectories is
     necessary in the man.conf file.

     Section names are unrestricted except for the reserved words specified
     below; in general, you should avoid anything with a leading underscore
     (``_'') to avoid future incompatibilities.

     The section named ``_default'' is the list of directories that will be
     searched if no section is specified by the user.

     The second type of line is preceded with a ``keyword''.  The possible
     keywords and their meanings are as follows:

     _build    Man file names, regardless of their format, are expected to end
               in a ``.*'' pattern, i.e. a ``.'' followed by some suffix.  The
               first field of a _build line lists a suffix which indicates
               files which need to be reformatted or manipulated in some way
               before being displayed to the user.  The suffix may contain the
               normal shell globbing characters (NOT including curly braces
               (``{}'')).  The rest of the line must be a shell command line,
               the standard output of which is the manual page in a format
               which may be directly displayed to the user.  Any occurrences
               of the string ``%s'' in the shell command line will be replaced
               by the name of the file which is being reformatted.

     _crunch   The ``_crunch'' section is used by catman to know how to crunch
               cat pages which originally were compressed man pages: The first
               field lists a suffix which indicates what kind of compression
               were used to compress the man page.  The rest of the line must
               be a shell command line, used to compress the formatted pages.

     _subdir   The list (in search order) of subdirectories which will be
               searched in any directory named with a trailing slash (``/'')
               character.  This list is also used when a path is specified to
               the man(1) utility by the user, using the MANPATH environment
               variable or the -M and -m options.

     _suffix   Man file names, regardless of their format are expected to end
               in a ``.*'' pattern, i.e. a ``.'' followed by some suffix.
               Each field of a _suffix line is a suffix which indicates files
               which do not need to be reformatted or manipulated in any way,
               but which may be directly displayed to the user.  Each suffix
               may contain the normal shell globbing characters (NOT including
               curly braces (``{}'')).

     _version  The version of the configuration file.

     _whatdb   The full pathname (not just a directory path) for a database to
               be used by the apropos(1) and whatis(1) commands.  The pathname
               may contain the normal shell globbing characters, including
               curly braces (``{}''); to escape a shell globbing character,
               precede it with a backslash (``\'').

     Multiple specifications for all types of lines are cumulative and the
     entries are used in the order listed in the file; multiple entries may be
     listed per line, as well.

     Empty lines or lines whose first non-whitespace character is a hash mark
     (``#'') are ignored.

FILES
     /etc/man.conf  Standard manual directory search path.

EXAMPLES
     Given the following man.conf file:

           _version        BSD.2
           _subdir         cat[123]
           _suffix         .0
           _build          .[1-9]  nroff -man %s
           _build          .tbl    tbl %s | nroff -man
           _default        /usr/share/man/
           sect3           /usr/share/man/{old/,}cat3

     By default, the command ``man mktemp'' will search for
     ``mktemp.<any_digit>'' and ``mktemp.tbl'' in the directories
     ``/usr/share/man/cat1'', ``/usr/share/man/cat2'', and
     ``/usr/share/man/cat3''.  If on a machine of type ``vax'', the subdirec-
     tory ``vax'' in each directory would be searched as well, before the
     directory was searched.

     If ``mktemp.tbl'' was found first, the command ``tbl <manual page> |
     nroff -man'' would be run to build a man page for display to the user.

     The command ``man sect3 mktemp'' would search the directories
     ``/usr/share/man/old/cat3'' and ``/usr/share/man/cat3'', in that order,
     for the mktemp manual page.  If a subdirectory with the same name as the
     current machine type existed in any of them, it would be searched as
     well, before each of them were searched.

SEE ALSO
     apropos(1), machine(1), man(1), whatis(1), whereis(1), fnmatch(3),
     glob(3), makewhatis(8)

BSD                              June 26, 2001                             BSD