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I have a minimal installation of CentOS 5.7 32-bit on a VM.

The apropos command always returns "nothing appropriate"

[root@localhost ~]# apropos man
man: nothing appropriate

Even after I run updatedb. It works on another CentOS server I have.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try executing 'makewhatis' as root. That updates the man page database, and creates it if it doesn't already exist, which it may not on a fresh installation.

'updatedb' updates the database for 'locate', and probably isn't related to this issue.

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If using CentOS7 the command 'mandb' has replaced makewhatis. – Kentgrav Jul 22 '15 at 0:35

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