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apropos unicode
Pango::ScriptIter (3pm) - used to break a string of Unicode into runs by text
Unicode::CharName (3pm) - Look up Unicode character names
Unicode::Map (3pm)   - (unknown subject)
Unicode::Map8 (3pm)  - Mapping table between 8-bit chars and Unicode
Unicode::MapUTF8 (3pm) - Conversions to and from arbitrary character sets and...
Unicode::String (3pm) - String of Unicode characters (UTF-16BE)
URI::_punycode (3pm) - encodes Unicode string in Punycode  

man Unicode::CharName | head
Unicode::CharName(3pm)User Contributed Perl DocumentatioUnicode::CharName(3pm)

From a quick google search I believe it has some thing to do with perl. It is still not clear what (3pm) is.

Is it part of man, is it a reference to the perl documentation. How do I access it.

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The text in the parentheses are the section number (and subsection name) of the man pages. In your case "3pm" means the pages are in section "3" (library functions) and there in the subsection "pm" (perl modules).

Background information:

Man pages are categorized in sections to differentiate topics with the same name in different contexts. For example the man page for time exists in 3 sections: section 1 (general commands), section 2 (system calls), and section 7 (misc).

Read the wikipedia entry on man pages or the man page for man (man man) for a common list of sections.

To see in what sections a topic exists you can use the command whatis. Here is the output of whatis time on my system:

$ whatis time
time (1)             - run programs and summarize system resource usage
time (7)             - overview of time and timers
time (2)             - get time in seconds

If you do man time then man will display for first man page it finds. In this case it will show you the man page from section 1 (general commands), which is most likely what you want. You can tell man to show you the man pages from other sections like this: man 7 time.

Read the man page for man (man man) for more information about how man should search in specific sections. Note that most man pages exists in only one section.

Misc info:

Here is a one liner to see the different subsections of section 3 (library calls):

$ ls -1 /usr/share/man/man3/ | tr '.' ' ' | awk '{print $(NF - 1)}' | sort | uniq -c

And the output on my system:

   3766 3
     25 3blt
    265 3caca
     16 3curses
    107 3form
     97 3menu
    130 3nas
    464 3ncurses
     82 3o
    627 3pm
      2 3readline
    963 3ssl
     38 3tiff
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In that context, the text in brackets is a man section number.

Occasionally the word for a command is the same as the word for a C subroutine and both are documented by man pages. The section number allows you to distinguish between them.

$ apropos signbit
signbit              (3)  - test sign of a real floating point number
signbit              (3p)  - test sign
$ man 3 signbit
$ man 3p signbit

In this case there is a Linux function and a POSIX function.

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how do I access page / section 3p or 3pm –  nelaar Nov 27 '12 at 10:06
1  
@nelaar: see above. The syntax is man [section] subject –  RedGrittyBrick Nov 27 '12 at 10:14
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