*BASH User Commands Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS Server coreutils
WHATIS(1)                     Manual pager utils                     WHATIS(1)

       whatis - display manual page descriptions

       whatis  [-dlhvV]  [-r|-w]  [-s section] [-m system[,...]] [-M path] [-L
       locale] [-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,  and  are  updated  by  the
       mandb  program.   Depending  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 data-
       base 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.

       -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  data-
              base searches.

       -w, --wildcard
              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.

       -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 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-
              ual 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 oper-
              ating 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 hierar-
              chies to search.  By default, whatis 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-

       -L locale, --locale=locale
              whatis will normally determine your current locale by a call  to
              the  C function setlocale(3) which interrogates various environ-
              ment 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

       -h, --help
              Print a help message and exit.

       -V, --version
              Display version information.

       0      Successful program execution.

       1      Usage, syntax or configuration file error.

       2      Operational error.

       16     Nothing was 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.

              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.

              A traditional global index database cache.

              An FHS compliant global index database cache.

              A traditional whatis text database.

       apropos(1), man(1), mandb(8).

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

2.5.7                             2010-02-16                         WHATIS(1)