[conspire] help accessing manpages

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Mar 30 00:11:58 PDT 2010

Quoting Ken Bernard (kenbernard at gmail.com):

> Hi everyone, I am setting up TinyMe linux on a Pentium M Dell laptop
> (Latitude D600) which has been handed down to (lucky) me. The laptop
> is lightweight and the display is large enough to make it good  to
> carry around. The display is  much better than the tiny ones on
> netbooks.
> I have a kind of major problem. TinyMe linux did not ship with
> manpages. I have downloaded the GNU manpages and ran "make install".
> The manpages have been installed in /usr/share/man/ but I can only
> read tlhem with this unsuitable  method.
> I can only access  man entries  this way:
> cat /usr/share/man/man*/man_ page.#  |  less

Wow, you have something of a crippled OS, there.  

What you really need, of course, is the "man" utility, /usr/bin/man,
whose upstream maintenance site is here:  http://man-db.nongnu.org/  In
theory, you could compile it for (or on?) your mini-system.  It
apparently requires the BerkeleyDB flatfile database, these days (or GNU
gdbm, equivalently).  I suspect it also requires groff, the GNU
implementation of the traditional troff text-formatter.  It definitely
requires "less" as the pager.

What you really should be asking yourself, though, is whether your
Pentium M can't run a real distribution instead of TinyMe.  Given that
TinyMe doesn't _even_ furnish manpages or a man utility, it's really not
anything like a complete, real system.

You may have heard this before from me, and I know that some other
members of this mailing list have.  Sorry about the repetition:  There
seems to be a persistent misconception that low-spec hardware is
inadequate to run any Linux distributions other than toy ones.  This is
simply not true.  It bothers me that I keep hearing it!

If you have at least 128 MB RAM on the machine -- or can within economic
feasibility add RAM to reach at least 128 MB -- then you can install and
run real Linux distributions (Debian, Slackware, AntiX MEPIS, for
starters).  Details:  Please see my posts to BerkeleyLUG's forum, here:

Please note that my posts to BerkeleyLUG's forum concerned Pentium MMX
200 MHz machines, which are quite a bit older and cruftier than your
Pentium M, a series of CPUs that came out about five years later and
were something of a hybrid between the (old) PIII processors and the
(incoming) Pentium 4 ones.  It was pretty routine for Pentium M boxes to 
ship with at 512 MB, so I suspect your probably have something on that
scale, and are really wasting your time fooling with TinyMe, in my

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