Steve also wrote about MANPATH.  See below.

I'm running these tests on an outdated Ubuntu 9.10 box, but I expect that 
the results apply wherever GNU is being used.

I also saw a lot of that stuff.  It was a lot to wade through and it never 
got to the basic point.  Apparently, manpath is automatically figuring out 
that if /whatever/bin is in $PATH and /whatever/man exists, then it adds 
/whatever/man to the output of manpath.  I have not set $MANPATH or used a 
~/.manpath or changed /etc/manpath.config, yet I get this:

$ echo $HOME

$ echo $PATH

$ manpath

Note that my $HOME/bin is in $PATH, but $HOME/man does not exist, and 
$HOME/man is not listed in the ouptput of manpath.  However, 
$HOME/local/bin is in $PATH, $HOME/local/man exists and $HOME/local/man is 
in the output of manpath.

In other words, I don't have to do anything to get what I want from this.

More testing to confirm the theory:

$ mkdir -p blorf/{bin,man}

$ export PATH=/home/mbmiller/foo/bin:$PATH

$ echo $PATH

$ manpath

In other words, it works even when the directories are empty.


On Wed, 18 Sep 2013, Steve Trapp wrote:

> Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 21:59:59 -0500
> From: Steve Trapp <stevetrapp at>
> To: tclug-list at
> Subject: Re: [tclug-list] setting $INFOPATH and $MANPATH in bash
> Mike Miller-
> I use Debian. Your mileage may vary if you use something else...
> 1. Under "man man", it says the following for option < -C > of man:
>       -C file, --config-file=file
>              Use  this  user  configuration  file  rather than the default
>       of ~/.manpath.
> 2. Under "man man", in the < FILES > section, it says:
>       /etc/manpath.config
>              man-db configuration file.
> 3. There is a "man manpath" that tells you about the manpath command.
> 4. There is a "man 5 manpath" (i.e., section < 5 > of the manual pages)
>   which describes the format of the < man-db > configuration files (like
>   <~/.manpath> from #1, and </etc/manpath.config> from #2.
> 5. I have a very short sample <~/.manpath> that I'll share with you:
>      MANPATH_MAP /home/steve/bin /home/steve/doc/man
>   I store my own binaries into /home/steve/bin. I have a nonstandard
>   place (in my opinion) to put the man pages, namely, /home/steve/doc/man
>   instead of /home/steve/man.
>   I am not sure whether I'd need the ~/.manpath if I'd have
>   used /home/steve/man OR not. This is left as an exercise for Mike
>   Miller. :)
> 6. I get the feeling that the MANPATH environment variable is being
>   deprecated (i.e., phased out).
> 7. These seven points constitutes my entire knowledge of manpath/MANPATH.
>   No googling required?! :)
> Hope this helps,
> -Steve
> On Wed, 18 Sep 2013 20:04:28 -0500 (CDT),
> Mike Miller <mbmiller+l at> wrote:
>> The docs aren't very clear on how this is accomplished.  It looks like
>> I'm doing $PATH correctly, and after that it looks like $MANPATH gets
>> fixed up automatically because the manpath program figures out the
>> correspondence of bin directories with man directories.
>> $INFOPATH is more obscure.  It looks like if I create $INFOPATH in the
>> environment, it adds listed directories to the path for info, but info is
>> finding more directories from some other source.  It also doesn't find
>> info directories automatically by correspondence with bin directories
>> listed in $PATH.
>> Google results are surprisingly unhelpful.  Any ideas?
>> Mike
>> _______________________________________________
>> TCLUG Mailing List - Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
>> tclug-list at
> -- 
> Name: Steve Trapp
> Homepage:
> Email: stevetrapp **AT** comcast **DOT** net
> Locale: en_US.UTF-8 | Location: Upper Midwest