man-db is a totally free and open source command-line software that implements the standard UNIX documentation system on Linux-based operating systems. This documentation system is accessed by users through the man command that’s available on almost all Linux distributions.
Instead of using flat-text databases, the program has been designed in such a way that it can use the Berkeley DB database for implementing the UNIX documentation system. It can be used to easily read man pages.
Almost any command-line program uses options to enable various functionality that is built into the software. These command-line options can be viewed at a glance by adding the ‘--help’ option to the end of the command (e.g. mandb --help).
Among some of its man-db’s command-line options, we can mention the ability to create databases from scratch, rather than updating an existing one, to use a custom configuration file, to update only the entry for the given filename, to check manual pages for correctness, as well as to only produce user databases.
Getting started with man-db
The program is written entirely in the C programming language, which means that it is fast, and distributed only as a universal sources archive in the TAR format. Download the archive from Softpedia or via the official homepage of the project (see link below), save the file on your computer, extract its contents and open a terminal emulator so you can compile the software.
In the Linux Terminal window, first use the ‘cd’ command to navigate to the location of the extracted archive files (e.g. cd /home/softpedia/Desktop/man-db-2.7.1), then execute the ‘./configure && make’ command to configure and compile the program, and finally run the ‘make install’ command as root or the ‘sudo make install’ command as a privileged user to install it.
Officially supported GNU/Linux distributions
Currently, the man-db program is officially supported with pre-built binary package on the Arch Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Ubuntu, SuSE, Dragora GNU/Linux and Gentoo Linux kernel-based operating systems. It has been successfully tested on 64-bit and 32-bit hardware architectures.