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Configuring apropos and whatis - (The windex file)
by Jeff Hunter, Sr. Database Administrator
Many UNIX users are familiar with the apropos and whatis commands.
The whatis command is used to display a one-line summary about a keyword as in the following example:# whatis scsi scsi scsi (4) - configuration files for SCSI target drivers
The apropos command is used to locate commands by keyword lookup. The apropos utility displays the man page name, section number, and a short description for each man page whose NAME line contains keyword as in the following example:# apropos IDE dad dad (7d) - driver for IDE disk devices uata uata (7d) - IDE Host Bus Adapter Driver
Before using either the apropos, whatis, or make -k commands, it is necessary to create the system generated index file: /usr/share/man/windex. Failing to have this file generated will result in the following error when attempting to use any of the above commands:# apropos IDE /usr/share/man/windex: No such file or directory
To create the /usr/share/man/windex, use the catman, as in the following example:# /usr/bin/catman -wThis utility will search the MANPATH and create the windex file. If you would like to specify which directories yourself, you can use the -M switch.