[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Census of services - manpages.debian.net

According with the list introductions [1], I would like to present
manpages.debian.net, it is a man-cgi interface for Debian.

A Man-CGI interfaces is a simple web interface that allows the user to 
search for the manpages for an operating system either using 'exact' lookups
or doing searches within the text (an 'apropos' search)
and provides it in "pretty" HTML form to the user.  The service was created to
solve #264589 ('www.debian.org: Online manpages, preferably linked by

The Debian manpage interface currently allows users to search by name,
Debian distribution (from lenny to experimental) and section. It provides
manpages in both the original (english) language as well as
internationalized, if available. It does not (yet) provide a way to search by
package names.

The man-cgi interface used by manpages.debian.net is derived from the
interface used by FreeBSD [2] and developed by Wolfram Schneider. All the
source code for the service, including the man-cgi program but also
documentation, an installation "step-by-step" as well as sample configuration
files for common web servers is available at the SVN repository of the Debian
Documentation Project at

The service has been running since August 2007, so it has been in operation
for 4 years now. It used to run in an official mirror (in Spain) but
since the server had issues [3] in the past (disk failure) it was moved (may
2010) to paganini.debian.org and has been running there since.

I have not investigated in depth how many end-users access this interface. Based
on the web stats, the site receives ~5.000 to ~10.000 unique visitors monthly
(average of ~200 daily views).

Although wiki.debian.org points to it (and most of the access to the
interface seems to come from there), the longstanding issue #264589 is
still open since the main site does not (and has since been changed to ask
'packages.debian.org' to point to the manpages).

Other long-standing issues with this service are:

- Make it an official service (i.e. 's/net$/org/')
- Improve the search service to make it possible to search by package
- Fix the code that extracts the manpages to make it possible to serve
  manpages of packages that provide the same files (i.e. they Conflict:
  because the programs have the same names)

This and other issues people could help with are described in the TODO file

Best regards,

Javier Fernandez-Sanguino

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-services-admin/2011/08/msg00001.html
[2] http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi
[3] http://lists.debian.org/debian-doc/2009/06/msg00022.html
[4] http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/ddp/man-cgi/TODO?view=log

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: