I am trying to better understand the Linux's online manual. I thought I understood it, but then came across this. Why is postfix under User Commands (1) and not System Administration tools and Daemons (8)?

[Michael@devserver postfix]$ man man
       The standard sections of the manual include:
       1      User Commands
       8      System Administration tools and Daemons


[Michael@devserver postfix]$ man postfix

       postfix - Postfix control program

       postfix [-Dv] [-c config_dir] command

       This command is reserved for the superuser. To submit mail, use the Postfix sendmail(1) command.

       The postfix(1) command controls the operation of the Postfix mail system: start or stop the master(8) daemon, do a health check, and other maintenance.
  • I suspect it started out with some user-facing functionality, and now moving it to a different man page section is a lot of hassle for very little benefit. – tripleee May 13 '17 at 13:11
  • @tripleee Thanks. Good to know that I am not along, and if it was created today, should have been (8). – user1032531 May 13 '17 at 13:13

The Postfix mail system includes a host of commands and daemons, not just the postfix command.

It appears that the authors of Postfix has decided that user-accessible commands should be in section 1, no matter if they are for system administration purposes or not:

  • postalias(1), create/update/query alias database
  • postcat(1), examine Postfix queue file
  • postconf(1), Postfix configuration utility
  • postfix(1), Postfix control program
  • postfix-tls(1), Postfix TLS management
  • postkick(1), trigger Postfix daemon
  • postlock(1), Postfix-compatible locking
  • postlog(1), Postfix-compatible logging
  • postmap(1), Postfix lookup table manager
  • postmulti(1), Postfix multi-instance manager
  • postqueue(1), Postfix mail queue control
  • postsuper(1), Postfix housekeeping
  • mailq(1), Sendmail compatibility interface
  • newaliases(1), Sendmail compatibility interface
  • sendmail(1), Sendmail compatibility interface

In section 8, you'll find only daemons, i.e. things you're not supposed to run manually:

  • anvil(8), Postfix connection/rate limiting
  • bounce(8), defer(8), trace(8), Delivery status reports
  • cleanup(8), canonicalize and enqueue message
  • discard(8), Postfix discard delivery agent
  • dnsblog(8), DNS black/whitelist logger
  • error(8), Postfix error delivery agent
  • (etc. etc.)

There are also manuals in section 5 ("file formats").

Their rationale for this is

Each Postfix manual page is numbered after a section of the UNIX manual: examples are mailq(1) or access(5). Unfortunately, there is no single universal method to organize manual pages; each UNIX flavor appears to be different.

See all Postfix manuals for further information.

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