man-db without cache update (no cron or systemd *.timer)

Jan Chaloupka jchaloup at
Thu Oct 16 08:35:13 UTC 2014

Forwarding Colin's response

On Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 09:47:41AM -0500, Chris Adams wrote:
> Once upon a time, Jan Chaloupka <jchaloup at> said:
> > there has been a discussion about if we need cache for man-db for users
> > which use man pages or update system only from time to time and thus
> > don't need to update cache every day. man-db as it is now depends on
> > systemd which brings another set of packages. The use case is "I just
> > want to read man page. So I install man which on the other hand download
> > another set of packages. I want to read man page and it downloads systemd.".

Have you considered installing the timer file, but without the
dependency?  If systemd is there, it could use it, otherwise not.  That
would make a whole lot more sense to me than creating another package,
and would be my recommendation.

> On the majority of systems these days, is it really an issue to cache
> man pages anymore?

That's not what the timer unit in question is for!  It updates the
database of which manual pages are present and their descriptions, not
rendered pages.  You need it for apropos and whatis to work.

(I would also recommend arranging to update the database any time
packages that ship manual pages are installed or removed, but I don't
know whether this is a straightforward thing to do with your package
management infrastructure.  In Debian we do this with dpkg triggers.)

> Maybe the time has come to just stop caching man pages at all, or at
> least make that functionality optional (and non-default)?

It's been optional for many years, is I believe generally off in Fedora
given that you don't install mandb set-id, and is unrelated to this


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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