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I was trying to learn more about grep (as my coworkers suggested) since I rarely used it and needed to refresh my Unix knowledge. However, when I typed man grep, the following message was displayed:
No manual entry for grep
This occurred for many commands, each stating that there is no manual entry for that particular command.

I was wondering if there was a way to view all man pages (or at least their titles)? I want to know if perhaps there are no man pages on this machine.


Clarification: I am not using a regular distribution of Unix. I don't have Ubuntu or anything like this. The man command is there, but no manual pages seem to exist. Someone (I do not know who) installed this version of Unix a long time ago on this machine.

Clarification 2
I am not interested in manual pages themselves; I know I can google them. I want to know, however, if there are man pages installed on this machine.

Attempted Solutions
man -dD: Response was What manual page do you want?
man -k: Response was apropos what?

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migrated from Jul 20 '12 at 20:11

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I'm not using a regular distribution of Unix. I'm using someone's version from a time long ago, and as such certain features are not present. – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:20
better luck on can you post the output of uname -a? – Giacomo Jul 20 '12 at 15:25
@rjack I might go on as per your suggestion and delete this question. I want to wait a little bit before that. Also, sadly I cannot post the output; while I agree this would be very useful information, it would constitute a breach of contract on my part. – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:27
I'm not sure why people are marking this question down. Not every system works like your newbie friendly Ubuntu. Some systems especially old distros might need you to set up the man pages yourself, or not even have them installed if you are inheriting the system. If you are marking this down because you are disdaining from some feeling of technical superiority, just answer the question or leave it alone. You've probably never been a new user on a system that didn't have man pages installed. – BillR Jul 20 '12 at 15:27
@BillR Thanks for backing me up. I don't know why this question was downvoted so much. As you say, I'm suspecting that the man pages were not installed. However, I don't know how to verify that... – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:30
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try doing the 'man grep' command on another server, preferrably a test or dev server. Our sysadmins OFTEN de-install the man pages for space and security reasons on our production servers.

If you are NOT a sysadmin, there is little you can do to tell whether the man pages are installed on most UNIX servers besides just looking for them. A few common locations to see if they are enven installed are: /usr/share/man /usr/local/man /usr/lib/man

A life-saver for me was a book entitled: "Unix in a Nutshell" published by OReilly. It has a lot of information on many of the UNIX command utilities.

Good luck.

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Indeed those three folders were empty (or rather contained empty folders). Thanks for your help! – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:35

Sounds like the man pages were not installed.

Assuming you can't reinstall the man pages you could read them online:

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How would I know if the man pages are not installed? – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:29
Look in /usr/share/man /usr/local/man /usr/lib/man. If they're all empty they're not installed. – prospectofdeath Jul 20 '12 at 15:32
man -k

That should list all available man pages on your system. The following page may also be of use to you. It's the linux man page for grep, so not quite sure why it's not visible to you on your system.

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When I type "man -k", I get the response "apropros what?". Do you know what this means? – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:23
man -dD

Will display where your man pages are installed. Look into those directories and you'll see each man page file listed (e.g. ping.8.gz for ping).

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I tried that, and all I got was "What manual page do you want?" in response... – Nathan Sabruka Jul 20 '12 at 15:23
Then your man configuration thinks there are no man pages installed. We would need more info on your setup to fix. Might be more appropriate for ServerFault. – Matt S Jul 20 '12 at 15:34

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