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WHEREIS(1) User Commands WHEREIS(1)


whereis - locate the binary, source, and manual page files for a command


whereis [options] [-BMS directory... -f] name...


whereis locates the binary, source and manual files for the specified command names. The supplied names are first stripped of leading pathname components and any (single) trailing extension of the form .ext (for example: .c) Prefixes of s. resulting from use of source code control are also dealt with. whereis then attempts to locate the desired program in the standard Linux places, and in the places specified by $PATH and $MANPATH.
The search restrinctions (options -b, -m and -s) are cumulative and always applied for the next name patterns specified on command line. The first search restrinction resets the search mask. For example
whereis -bm ls tr -m gcc
searchs for "ls" and "tr" binaries and man pages, and "gcc" man pages only.
The options -B, -M and -S resets search paths for the next name patterns. For example
whereis -m ls -M /usr/share/man/man1 -f cal
searchs for "ls" man pages in all default paths, but for "cal" in /usr/share/man/man1 directory only.


Search for binaries.
Search for manuals.
Search for sources.
Only show the command names that have unusual entries. A command is said to be unusual if it does not have just one entry of each explicitly requested type. Thus 'whereis -m -u *' asks for those files in the current directory which have no documentation file, or more than one.
-B list
Limit the places where whereis searches for binaries, by a whitespace-separated list of directories.
-M list
Limit the places where whereis searches for manuals, by a whitespace-separated list of directories.
-S list
Limit the places where whereis searches for sources, by a whitespace-separated list of directories.
Terminates the directory list and signals the start of filenames. It must be used when any of the -B, -M, or -S options is used.
Output list of effective lookup paths the whereis is using. When non of -B, -M, or -S is specified the option will out hard coded paths that the command was able to find on system.


To find all files in /usr/bin which are not documented in /usr/man/man1 or have no source in /usr/src:
$ cd /usr/bin
$ whereis -u -ms -M /usr/man/man1 -S /usr/src -f *


By default whereis tries to find files from hard-coded paths, which are defined with glob patterns. The command attempst to use contents of $PATH and $MANPATH environment variables as default search path. The easiest way to know what paths are in use is to add -l listing option. Effects of the -B, -M, and -S are display with -l.


The whereis command is part of the util-linux package and is available from Linux Kernel Archive
March 2013 util-linux