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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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catman — create cat and whatis files for online manpages


/usr/sbin/catman [-A alt-path] [-p] [-m] [-n] [-w] [-z] [sections]


The catman command creates the formatted versions of the online manpages from nroff-compatible source files. Each manpage in the man*.Z and man* directories is examined, and those whose formatted versions are missing or out-of-date are recreated. catman formats the most recent of the entries, compresses it, and puts it into the appropriate cat*.Z directory.

If any changes are made, catman recreates the /usr/share/lib/whatis database. By default, the /usr/share/lib/whatis database is overwritten. If the MANPATH environment variable is set to a nondefault set of paths, the old database file is saved in /usr/share/lib/whatis.old so that, if desired, the system administrator may merge them together.

By default, catman searches the man*.Z and man* subdirectories under the following directories:

/usr/share/man /usr/contrib/man /usr/local/man

If MANPATH is set in the environment, the directories given in MANPATH are checked instead of the default. See environ(5) for a description of the MANPATH environment variable.

Before running catman, remove any existing cat* directories. If the -z option is used, cat*.Z directories should be removed instead. If both cat*.Z and cat* directories exist, man(1) updates both directories and more space is used.

Any command-line parameters not starting with - are interpreted as a list of manpage sections (directories) to search. For example:

catman 123

restricts updating to manpage sections 1, 2, and 3 (directories man1, man2, and man3).


catman supports the following options:


Create a merged /usr/share/lib/whatis database; i.e., information on new manpage entries (added since the last time catman was run) is merged into the current database rather than overwriting it. Ignored if selected with the -n option.


Prevent creation of /usr/share/lib/whatis.


Print what would be done instead of doing it.


Cause only the /usr/share/lib/whatis database to be created. No manpage reformatting is done.


Put the formatted entries in the cat* directories rather than in the cat*.Z directories.

-A alt-path

Perform actions based on the given alternate root. With this option, alt-path will be prefixed to all directory paths, including default paths, the paths defined by MANPATH, and the path to /usr/share/lib/whatis.


Environment Variables

MANPATH defines parent directories to be used when searching man* and man*.Z directories.


If unformatted manpages (those in the ../man* subdirectories) have been removed since the last time catman was run, information in the /usr/share/lib/whatis database may be lost. The -m option may be used to override this, but may result in repeated lines in the database for the same manpage.


Create uncompressed cat* files for sections 1 and 1m of the manual, but don't create the /usr/share/lib/whatis database:

catman -z -n 11m

Run catman from a server to create cat* entries for a diskless client under the alternate root /export/shared_roots/OS_700:

catman -A /export/shared_roots/OS_700

This will create cat* manpages under:

/export/shared_roots/OS_700/usr/share/man/ /export/shared_roots/OS_700/usr/contrib/man/ /export/shared_roots/OS_700/usr/local/man/

and a whatis file in:


Create cat* entries for an application and merge the information with the /usr/share/lib/whatis database:

MANPATH=/opt/langtools/man catman -m

Note that you may wish to save MANPATH before doing this, so as not to lose your current MANPATH.


catman was developed by HP and the University of California, Berkeley.



Unformatted (nroff-compatible source) manpage files [compressed].


Formatted manpages [compressed].






Database of manpage entry summaries; utilized by the man -k command.


Command to make whatis database.

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