In man pages, where can I find a detailed description of the environment variables that are listed when env command is run?

I have tried man env but it only provides me one example for TZ environment variable

  • You probably can't find a description of all of them, simply because any application is free to define & use environment variables of its own. For instance, on my system, there are environment vars that belong to my editor, MPI, CUDA, Java, QT, and more. – jamesqf Nov 30 '18 at 17:30

On Linux, man 7 environ describes a number of common environment variables, and gives references to other man pages which describe them in more detail. Equivalents exist on other systems; see for example the FreeBSD version. (Historically, Unix V7 had an equivalent in section 5; the BSDs have had this in section 7 since at least BSD4.3.)

In general, to look through all the man pages which mention a given environment variable, you can use man -K, which runs a full-text search in all the installed man pages’ sources, with the -w and -i options (which respectively list man pages instead of viewing them, and match the strings’ case):

man -Kiw TZ
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    See also Alt+/ in info to recursively search info pages from the info directory (Alt+} for next entry). – Stéphane Chazelas Nov 30 '18 at 13:32
  • 4
    Also info -k ENV_VAR_NAME to look for that in all info indexes. Or even better: within info: Alt+x index-apropos – Stéphane Chazelas Nov 30 '18 at 13:35

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