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Ubuntu Linux install development / system library functions man pages (manual)

I am little surprised to find that Ubuntu Linux skips development man pages by default on cloud-based images. A quick search using apt-cache pointed out that I need to install the manpages-dev package on a Ubuntu Linux. It includes manual pages about using GNU/Linux for development. The manpages-posix-dev package includes manual pages about using a POSIX system for development. The man-db package is the on-line manual page i.e. actual man command to view man pages on a Ubuntu or Debian Linux.

Install development man pages on Ubuntu/Debian Linux

Type the following apt-get command to install various packages to view man pages for C standard library functions in Ubuntu or Debian system:
$ sudo apt-get install manpages-dev man-db manpages-posix-dev
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Installing man pages on a Ubuntu or Debian Linux system

Fig.01: Installing man pages on a Ubuntu or Debian Linux system

How do I view man pages?

To view library calls (functions within program libraries), enter:
$ man 3 function-name
$ man 3 putc
$ man 3 strlen
$ man 3 printf
$ man 3 scanf
$ man 2 execve
$ man 2 fork

The number 3 or 2 indicates the section numbers of the manual as follows:

  • 2 : System calls (functions provided by the kernel)
  • 3 : Library calls (functions within program libraries)

See man page sections for more info:
$ man man

See also

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Pankaj August 10, 2007, 10:06 am

    hey thanks for this help

    • masheekasalam June 19, 2011, 3:29 pm

      they r asking what is ur sudo password

  • SteveC October 20, 2007, 3:09 am

    Gutsy Gibbon:

    root@zuul:~# apt-get install manpages-dev
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Package manpages-dev is not available, but is referred to by another package.
    This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
    is only available from another source
    E: Package manpages-dev has no installation candidate


    This linux not windows. No man pages? Completely unacceptable.

  • nixCraft October 20, 2007, 5:30 am


    I just installed the same, w/o problem.

  • Peter January 17, 2009, 7:54 am

    The same problen I’m facing which Gutsy wrote.

  • Angelo Borsotti September 18, 2009, 2:03 pm

    However, the manpage-dev are not compete either:

    $ man sigwait
    No manual entry for sigwait

    I have tries to find out where these manpages are, but have not found them yet.

  • Angelo Borsotti September 18, 2009, 2:10 pm

    Found: man sigwait is in:

    sudo apt-get install manpages-posix-dev

  • Frank April 2, 2010, 8:19 pm

    exactly the tip that I needed. thanks!

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