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I hope my question isn't too trivial, but I've never actually needed to know this before.

In which directory can I find the files of the man pages, i.e. the read-only text file opened when you type man foo? I assume different distros may keep them in slightly different places, so if it makes any difference I run Ubuntu 10.04.

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up vote 30 down vote accepted

Use manpath to see the directories used by your system, and man --where --all foo to find a specific manual page of foo.

The standard location is /usr/share/man according to Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, and /usr/man is usually a symlink to that directory.

Other locations can be defined in /etc/manpath.config or /etc/man_db.conf (exact location varies). For example, /usr/local/share/man is almost always included.

In addition, man tries to find manual pages for every directory specified in $PATH – for example, if you added /opt/plan9/bin to $PATH, man will automatically search /opt/plan9/man and /opt/plan9/bin/man.

If the $MANPATH environment variable is set, however, it will override all other sources.

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They should be under /usr/share/man.

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In the files that end with .gz when using whereis:

whereis man


man: /usr/bin/man /usr/bin/X11/man /usr/local/man /usr/share/man /usr/share/man/man1/man.1.gz /usr/share/man/man7/man.7.gz

Example with grep:

whereis grep


grep: /bin/grep /usr/share/man/man1/grep.1.gz
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