. . . And how can I fix that? :-) I'm running RHEL 5 and when I try to view man pages as a regular user, they are blank. I've tried man man > manman.txt; cat manman.txt and there is no output, i.e., the file has no length. I try sudo man man and I see beautiful man page output.

I've looked at the permissions under /usr/share/man and they look okay. The directories are all o+rwx and the files are o+r.

I've tried . . .

[me@host01 ~]$ sudo man -w man
[me@host01 ~]$ man /usr/share/man/en/man1/man.1.gz

. . . and that's blank also.

  • Does e.g. man su work for you? Jul 28, 2014 at 21:35
  • @FaheemMitha Nope. That's blank also.
    – hourback
    Jul 28, 2014 at 21:36
  • As a non-root user, what does zcat /usr/share/man/en/man1/man.1.gz produce? A man page or an error message? Jul 28, 2014 at 21:48
  • 2
    Sounds like you've messed up the environment variables for the pager that man uses to display its contents. unix.stackexchange.com/questions/23394/…
    – slm
    Jul 28, 2014 at 22:48
  • 1
    I agree with slm. Try man -M /usr/share/man/en/man1 man and see if that works. If it does, then your MANPATH isn't properly defined for your regular user.
    – Warwick
    Jul 28, 2014 at 23:36

1 Answer 1


I have to give this one to my co-worker who discovered that the permissions on /tmp were incorrect:

[user@host01 ~]$ ls -ld /tmp
drwxr-xr-x 7 root root 4096 Jul 28 18:44 /tmp

And we know they should be set with 1777:
[root@host01 ~]# ls -ld /tmp
drwxrwxrwt 7 root root 4096 Jul 28 18:44 /tmp

Found this out when I tried to run nroff.
[user@host01 ~]$ nroff
mktemp: cannot create temp file /tmp/man.n10337: Permission denied
/usr/bin/nroff: line 50: ${TMPFILE}: ambiguous redirect
XXX WARNING: old character encoding and/or character set

Now, I'm really stumped as to how that happened! But anyway. . . .

Thank you for all of the good comments, folks! You've helped me learn more about how man pages work.

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