This site contains thousands of staticly generated manpages which have been extracted from the packages of the different Debian releases, and they are updated periodically. Most users running a Debian system can just look at the manpages of the programs they have installed using the man command. This service makes it possible to access and browse through manual pages without the need to install the program.
This repository exists thanks to the following individuals:
- Antoine Beaupré (anarcat)
- Antoine implemented debmans. Unaware of debmans, debiman was started independently a few weeks after debmans. The two projects validated each other in that they chose the same overall approach and renderer. Ultimately, Antoine recommended we deploy debiman, which at the time was more feature-complete.
- Javier Fernández-Sanguino (jfs)
- Javier is the long-time maintainer of manpages.debian.org and made it possible that we deploy debiman, providing helpful feedback along the way.
- Michael Stapelberg (stapelberg)
- Michael implemented debiman and liased with DSA to get this new service up and running in January 2017.
- Lea Küchler
- Lea created the debiman logo and error page artwork.
- The mandoc developers
- debiman uses the mandoc UNIX manpage compiler toolset to convert manpages to HTML. Without the impressive work of the mandoc authors, we would not be able to serve manpage HTML versions that are up to today’s quality standards.
- Debian System Administrators (DSA)
- DSA is maintaining the machine which serves this repository.
- Bytemark Hosting
- Bytemark is providing hardware and hosting for the machine which serves this repository.
This service has been running as an official Debian service since August 2007.
The first beta of this service was setup by Frank Lichtenheld, in 2004, as a fix for Debian Bug #264589. It was setup as an un-official service (manpages.debian.net).
Following this beta, another beta instance of this service was setup and announced by Javier Fernández-Sanguino in August 2007. This version used a Perl CGI script (man-cgi) derived from the interface used by FreeBSD and developed by Wolfram Schneider. It was first installed in the Spanish Debian official mirror (ftp.es.debian.org) and lacked internationalization support. The source code for the service was made available SVN repository of the Debian Documentation Project and was improved to provide internationalisation support.
Following several issues with the first server it was moved (in May 2010) to paganini.debian.org, still as an unofficial server. When paganini.debian.org went down (in October 2013) it was moved to glinka.debian.org and was converted into an official service (see announcement).
The service run smoothly from then until 2016, when it suddenly saw a large demand increase, partially due to robots blidnlessly following links and hammering the server where the service was installed (apparently as a consequence of links in Apache unconfigured default sites introduced because of Debian Bug #821313). The CGI script was modified several times between server downtimes at glinka.debian.org to try to fix this. Unfortunately, this was insufficient and the service was down from August 2016 to December 2016.
Different Debian developers started working independently on alternatives to provide a more efficient service. Antoiné Beaupré built debmans (using Python) and Michael Stapelberge built debiman (using Golang).
The service was restored, still using a CGI script, to manziarly.debian.org in December 2016. In January 2017, debiman was setup and the service was modified to a static repository, removing the dependency on the original script. It has been running as such since.
There are other sources for manpages online which you can use as alternatives to this service. These include:
- Specific to some distributions or OS:
- http://man.cx/ - provides the manpages of the Debian testing distribution.
- Ubuntu Manpage repository.
- Fedora Online Manpages repository
- OpenBSD manual pages.
- FreeBSD manual pages.
- Generic interfaces: