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MAKEWHATIS(8) System Manager's Manual MAKEWHATIS(8)


makewhatiscreate a whatis.db database


makewhatis [-pv] [manpath ...]

makewhatis [-pv] -d manpath files ...

makewhatis [-pv] -u manpath files ...

makewhatis [-pv] -t files


makewhatis extracts the NAME lines from compiled or raw man(1) pages and creates a whatis.db database (that is, a subject index) for use with apropos(1), whatis(1), and man(1)'s -k option. If manpath is unspecified, makewhatis by default creates databases for each directory prefixed by the _whatdb keyword in /etc/man.conf. Man pages compressed with compress(1) and gzip(1) are uncompressed before processing.
If the -d option is used, makewhatis merges the description of files with an existing whatis.db database in manpath.
If the -u option is used, makewhatis removes the description of files from an existing whatis.db database in manpath.
By default, makewhatis is relatively silent. If the -v is used, makewhatis will be more verbose about manpages with problems. If the -p option is used, makewhatis is less forgiving and warns about incorrect man pages.
The -t option can be used to check a set of potential man pages without changing any whatis.db database.


index to man pages in directory
man configuration information


apropos(1), man(1), whatis(1), man.conf(5)


A makewhatis utility first appeared in 2BSD. It was rewritten in perl(1) for OpenBSD 2.7.
The dir argument first appeared in NetBSD 1.0; the options -dptu in OpenBSD 2.7; and the option -v in OpenBSD 4.9.


Bill Joy wrote the original BSD makewhatis in February 1979.
Marc Espie started the Perl version in 2000.


makewhatis should parse /etc/man.conf and deal with extra configuration information.
The use of heuristics to retrieve subjects from most man pages is not 100% accurate.
January 22, 2012 OpenBSD-5.1