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 so far... add one
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8 comments… add one
  • Pankaj Aug 10, 2007 @ 10:06

    hey thanks for this help

    • masheekasalam Jun 19, 2011 @ 15:29

      they r asking what is ur sudo password

  • SteveC Oct 20, 2007 @ 3:09

    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 Oct 20, 2007 @ 5:30


    I just installed the same, w/o problem.

  • Peter Jan 17, 2009 @ 7:54

    The same problen I’m facing which Gutsy wrote.

  • Angelo Borsotti Sep 18, 2009 @ 14:03

    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 Sep 18, 2009 @ 14:10

    Found: man sigwait is in:

    sudo apt-get install manpages-posix-dev

  • Frank Apr 2, 2010 @ 20:19

    exactly the tip that I needed. thanks!

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