[arch-dev-public] [Fwd: Re: replace man with man-db?]

Jan de Groot jan at jgc.homeip.net
Mon Dec 22 16:21:55 EST 2008

This is what I got from the upstream man-db maintainer.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Colin Watson <cjwatson at debian.org>
To: Jan de Groot <jan at jgc.homeip.net>
Cc: arch-dev-public at archlinux.org
Subject: Re: [arch-dev-public] replace man with man-db?
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 18:20:51 +0000

On Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 07:03:19PM +0100, Jan de Groot wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-12-22 at 18:57 +0100, Andreas Radke wrote:
> > What's your opinion? Should we stay with "man" and fix what will be
> > reported or satisfy the replacement request.
> > 
> > I'd like to stay with our man until we can't fix something.
> If we want to switch to man-db, note that we have to update the man
> database after installing a package with manpages.

No, this is completely incorrect. It's no more true for man-db than for

Both man and man-db maintain a database that's used by whatis and
apropos. With man, you update it with makewhatis; with man-db, you
update it with mandb. If you don't mind whatis and apropos being out of
date until the database is next updated by a cron job or whatever, then
it's absolutely fine to leave the database alone. You do *not* need to
update man-db's database in order to read manual pages using man.

In Debian, I arranged for the database to be updated after package
installation once we gained the dpkg triggers mechanism so that this
could be done reasonably non-intrusively, but this is a nicety. We got
by just fine without doing that for well over a decade, and if it
weren't the case that it's now really quite straightforward in Debian to
keep the database up to date I'd be entirely happy to carry on the old

> I'm not comfortable with updating every package in our repository with
> such a command.

It's entirely reasonable for you to be uncomfortable with that, but
there's no reason why this should have the slightest bearing on whether
you use man-db or man.


More information about the arch-dev-public mailing list