I use kernel.org docs to read about kernel functions. Now I am trying to make possible reading manuals for kernel-mode functions, such as printk with man 9 printk. The section 9 is used for this purpose: from man man section descriptions:

9 - Kernel routines [Non standard]

Running make mandocs at /usr/src/linux/ throws this:

make: *** No rule to make target 'mandocs'.  Stop.

(I think mandocs is obsolete or was removed). I cannot find man9 packages on my Gentoo GNU/Linux system. Also, I tried to install those manpages on Debian 11 virtual machine, but it fails too.

How can I install/make/download those non-standard manpages for kernel functions to be able to run man printk to get docs without having to search documentation online or browsing header files?

I know that similar questions were already asked (this and this), but they are deprecated (no make mandocs now).

1 Answer 1


During May 2017, Linux kernel documentation migrated to use ReST instead of DocBook (commit). During the final steps of that migration, the make mandocs target was removed from kernel Makefile system (commit).

Apparently nobody has missed the manpage format enough to submit patches for a process that would build the kernel functions man pages from the new ReST documentation source format.

Note that you can run make htmldocs, make latexdocs, make pdfdocs or make epubdocs to get a local version of the kernel documentation in HTML, LaTeX, PDF or EPUB formats.

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