CATMAN(8) System Manager's Manual CATMAN(8)


catmanformat all manual pages below a directory


catman [-I os=name] [-T output] srcdir dstdir


The catman utility assumes that all files below srcdir are manual pages in mdoc(7) and man(7) format and formats all of them, storing the formatted versions in the same relative paths below dstdir. Subdirectories of dstdir are created as needed. Existing files are not explicitly deleted, but possibly overwritten.
The options are as follows:
-I os=name
Override the default operating system name for the mdoc(7) Os and for the man(7) TH macro.
-T output
Output format. The output argument can be ascii, utf8, or html; see mandoc(1). In html output mode, the fragment output option is implied. Other output options are not supported.


Since this version avoids fork(2) and exec(3) overhead and uses the much faster mandoc parsers and formatters rather than groff, it may be about one order of magnitude faster than other catman implementations.


The catman utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
Possible errors include:
Except for memory exhaustion and similar system-level failures, failures while trying to open, read, parse, or format individual manual pages, to save individual formatted files to the file system, or even to create directories do not cause catman to return an error exit status. In such cases, catman will simply continue with the next file or subdirectory.


mandoc(1), mandocd(8)


A catman utility first appeared in FreeBSD 1.0. Other, incompatible implementations appeared in NetBSD 1.0 and in man-db 2.2.
This version appeared in version 1.14.1 of the mandoc toolkit.


The first catman implementation was a short shell script by Christoph Robitschko in July 1993.
The NetBSD implementations were written by J. T. Conklin <> in 1993, Christian E. Hopps <> in 1994, and Dante Profeta <> in 1999; the man-db implementation by Graeme W. Wilford in 1994; and the FreeBSD implementations by Wolfram Schneider <> in 1995 and John Rochester <> in 2002.
The concept of the present version was designed and implemented by Michael Stapelberg <> in 2017. Option and argument handling and directory iteration was added by Ingo Schwarze <>.


All versions of catman are incompatible with each other because each caters to the needs of a specific operating system, for example regarding directory structures and file naming conventions.
This version is more flexible than the others in so far as it does not assume any particular directory structure or naming convention. That flexibility comes at the price of not being able to change the names and relative paths of the source files when reusing them to store the formatted files, of not supporting any configuration file formats or environment variables, and of being unable to scan for and remove junk files in dstdir.
Currently, catman always reformats each page, even if the formatted version is newer than the source version.
March 18, 2017 OpenBSD 5.8