The state of online indices of manual pages used to be a sad one. Existing
sites used to only offer you a single version of a man page: From one
origin, and often only in a single language. Most didn't even tell you where
the manual actually originated from, making it very hard to determine
whether the manual you found actually applied to your situation and even
harder to find a manual for a specific system. Additionally, some sites
rendered the manuals in an unreadable way, didn't correctly handle special
formatting - like tables - or didn't correctly display non-ASCII characters.
Nowadays there are many good alternatives, but Manned.org was one of the sites created in order to improve situation. This site aims to index the manual pages from a variaty of systems, both old and new, and allows you to browse through the various versions of a manual page to find out how each system behaves. The manuals are stored in the database as UTF-8, and are passed through groff to render them in (mostly) the same way as they are displayed in your terminal.
This website is open source (MIT licensed) and written in a combination of Perl and Rust. The entire PostgreSQL database is available for download (see "Database download" below).
You can link to specific packages and man pages with several URL formats. These URLs will keep working in the future, so you should not have to worry about eventual dead links.
The following URLs are available to refer to an individual man page:
Currently, the last three URLs will perform a redirect to the
appropriate permalink URL, but this may change in the future.
In all URLs where an optional
.<section> can be provided,
the search is performed as a prefix match. For example, /cat.3 will provide the
cat.3tcl man page if
cat.3 version is available. Linking to the full
section name is also possible: /cat.3tcl. If no
section is given and multiple sections are available, the lowest section
number is chosen.
Linking to individual packages is also possible. These pages will show a listing of all manual pages available in the given package.
Note that this site only indexes packages that actually have manual pages; Linking to a package that doesn't have any will result in a 404 page.
All man pages are fetched right from the (binary) packages available on the
public repositories of Linux distributions. In particular:
Only packages for a single architecture (i386 or amd64) are scanned. To my
knowledge, packages that come with different manuals for different
architectures either don't exist or are extremely rare. It does happen that
some packages are not available for all architectures. Usually, though,
every package is at least available for the most popular architecture, so
hopefully we're not missing out on much.
The repositories are scanned for new packages on a daily basis.
This site is backed by a PostgreSQL database containing all the man pages.
Weekly dumps of the full database are available for download at
Be warned that the download server may not be terribly reliable, so it is advisable to use a client that supports resumption of partial downloads. See wget's -c or curl's -C.
The database schema is "documented" at schema.sql in the git repo. Note that these dumps don't constitute a stable API and, while this won't happen frequently, incompatible schema changes or Postgres major version bumps may occur.
Suggestions for new (or old) systems to index are welcome.
It would be great to index a few more non-Linux systems such as other BSDs, Solaris/Illumos and Mac OS X. Unfortunately, those don't always follow a binary package based approach, or are otherwise less easy to properly index.
In general, systems that follow an entirely source-based distribution approach can't be indexed without compiling everything. Since that is both very resource-heavy and open to security issues, there are no plans to include manuals from such systems at the moment. So unless someone comes with a solution I hadn't thought of yet, there won't be any Gentoo manuals here. :-(
This site isn't nearly as awesome yet as it could be. Here's some ideas that would be nice to have in the future:
All manual pages are copyrighted by their respective authors. The manuals have been fetched from publically available repositories of free and (primarily) open source software. The distributors of said software have put in efforts to only include software and documentation that allows free distribution. Nonetheless, if a manual that does not allow to be redistributed has been inadvertently included in our index, please let me know and I will have it removed as soon as possible.