Summary of the man extension problem

From: Yoo Ho Cho (
Date: Thu Oct 17 1991 - 21:36:03 CDT

Thanks to all who replied.

The problem I had was to use an extension such as 2a so that
my manX directory ( where X is 1, 2... ) could have the files

and get man to recognize this.

Many suggested I switch to Tom Christiansen's Perl based version
of man. I am now using this program. It works well, and for
my site, this is a very workable solution. xman also works
well enough. But for something you are going to distribute, you
really want the thing to work with "standard" man.

A few people sent me a list of working combinations for the
file extensions. This is the most comprehensive one I received.
>From Wed Oct 9 14:57:36 1991
Subject: Re: Manual page file extensions

> 1. Is this occuring only on my machine ? ( I doubt this one because
> of the second machine test, but that wasn't a Sun )

My Suns running 4.1.1 check the extensions
1, 1b, 1c, 1g, 1m, 1p, 1r, 1s, 1v, 1w
2, 2b, 2v, 2w
3, 3b, 3c, 3f, 3j, 3k, 3l, 3m, 3n, 3p, 3r, 3s, 3v, 3w, 3x
4, 4b, 4f, 4m, 4n, 4p, 4s, 4v
5, 5b, 5v
7, 7b, 7v
8, 8b, 8c, 8v, 8s
l, n, o, p
But only in the proper directory !! (i.e. in $MANPATH/manX/xor.X )
I can't help you for the other two questions, but I'm looking
forward to the summary !

Eckhard R"uggeberg
Mathematisches Institut der Universit"at G"ottingen
Bunsenstr. 3 - 5
3400 G"ottingen


Others have suggested modifying sources ( BSD sources for man, the
macro definition file, etc. ). These are again solutions that can
be pursued at my site, but not an easily distributable one.

Our solution involves keeping the nroff sources with the non-standard
extensions and linking each to a file with a "standard" extension.
All of this exists in a separate directory from the standard man pages.
The final step is to set MANPATH. It works well enough for now.

Anyway, in closing, I think the responses suggested the
following guidelines :
1- If possible, stay within the usable man extensions
2- If not, look at other versions of man ( the Perl man, xman )
3- If you are lucky enough to have sources available, fix man

Again, thanks to all who responded.

Y.H. Cho

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