man page

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A man page (short for manual page) is software documentation. It contains documentation about programs, libraries, system calls and configuration files.


sys-apps/man-db is part of the system set and so already installed on your system.

app-text/man-pages, which provides many basic man pages, is also part of the system set. If you want localized man pages, set the LINGUAS variable in your /etc/portage/make.conf, e.g. for German:



Most packages install additional man pages. If you want to suppress their installation, add the following feature to your /etc/portage/make.conf:


FEATURES="... noman ..."



Man pages can be viewed with man:

  • man 5 ebuild - Shows the ebuild man page of section 5.
  • man ebuild - Shows the ebuild man page of section 1. When there is more than on man page with same name, the first found will be shown.

man uses your pager. Default is less. The default pager can be setup with eselect pager.

You navigate in a man page with the arrow keys. You scroll pagewise with the Page up and Page down keys. You can search with the / key followed by the search term.

A more thorough explanation can be found in the Navigate subpage.


KDE Konqueror can render man pages. Enter in the address bar man:/ followed by the man page name, e.g.: man:/ebuild. If you want to view a specific section, add the section in parentheses, e.g.: man:/ebuild(5).


apropos (part of sys-apps/man) can search the whatis database for strings, e.g.:

user $ apropos portage [color]    (5)  - custom color settings for Portage
ebuild               (1)  - a low level interface to the Portage system