I recently installed TeX-Live and attempted to add its man to the manpath. It didn't work and couldn't find entries, and I didn't care too much. However, (I suppose) after a system restart, the man command isn't working altogether.

:~$ man man
bash: /mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux/man: cannot execute binary file: Exec format error

I don't know why it is looking for the TeX Live's version.

:~$ whereis man
man: /usr/bin/man /usr/local/man /usr/share/man /mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux/man /usr/share/man/man7/man.7.gz /usr/share/man/man1/man.1.gz

I had modified both ~/.bashrc and /etc/manpath.config based on this accepted answer, both of which I restored back. I tried sourceing the new bashrc file, logging out and in, or restarting the system, but I cannot seem to get the man working again.

What is the problem here, how can I restore the man, and what can I be overlooking? To be clear, I don't care about successfully adding TeX Live to the man page, I just want to get my man command functional again.

EDIT: Additional informations

Here is the path variables: (I broke the output int multiple lines and erased colons to have it easier to read here.)

:~$ echo $PATH

The topmost one should be the one I need to build latex projects, so I suppose it shouldn't cause the problem.

Also, echo $MANPATH doesn't print anything.

When it comes to what I did, I didn't do anything but modifying these two files.

I added the following lines to $HOME/.bashrc

PATH=/mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux:$PATH; export PATH
MANPATH=/mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/texmf-dist/doc/man:$MANPATH; export MANPATH
INFOPATH=/mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/texmf-dist/doc/info:$INFOPATH; export INFOPATH

And then I added the following line at the end of the section # set up PATH to MANPATH mapping in the /etc/manpath.config

MANPATH_MAP /mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux    /mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/texmf-dist/doc/man

I then run source ~/.bashrc, and tried to access man pages of some random TeX stuff, and encoutered with a message stating that the related entry was not found. Hence, even though it wasn't working with TeX, the man command was functional still.

I believe I left it here, and noticed that the problem I described few days later. As I said, I undid everything I mentioned above.

Because some time has passed, and I didn't necessarily know what I was doing especially with the manpath.config file, I might have done something else, but I don't recall doing anything else. If you have suggestions of potential actions that can cause a problem like this, or a way of solving this regardless, (which doesn't involve reinstalling the linux or anything, of course) I will appreciate.

  • 1
    type man (or type -a man) will likely be more diagnostic as to what your bash shell is seeing than whereis man Feb 26, 2022 at 14:47
  • @steeldriver It lists the first three results of whereis man in reverse order. I don't know what to do with that though.
    – aulven
    Feb 26, 2022 at 15:00
  • 1
    Please add echo "$PATH" and its result to your question. Also explain how you "attempted to add its man to the manpath" (I see you've linked to a question, but please state here which commands you ran.) If you undo the changes you made you'll find it all works once more. Feb 26, 2022 at 17:21
  • @roaima I edited the post, hopefully I provided necessary information, beyond that, even if I did something, which I probably didn't, I don't recall doing it. I feel like there should be an easy way of fixing this.
    – aulven
    Feb 26, 2022 at 22:16
  • 1
    When you do echo $PATH, do you really get newlines between most of the directories, or have you edited the output? I would expect a list of :-delimited directory paths, not lines of directory paths.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 26, 2022 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


"MANPATH" controls where the man command looks for man pages, if you want something unusual. Leave it unset to use the default locations. See man man when you get this fixed.

"$PATH" is a colon-separated list of directories where your shell looks for executable programs (if what you typed isn't an alias, function, or builtin).
By placing the /mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux first in your PATH, you're letting texlive provide the (non-working) man command. See man bash when fixed.
Put texlive at the end of PATH. Change the .bashrc line to:


And logout/login to start fresh.

For more detail on using the "colon-separated" list as a bash datatype, I use Stephen Collyer's bash_path_funcs, described in Linux Journal way back in 2000:

https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3645 https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3768 https://www.linuxjournal.com/article/3935

The addpath function adds an entry to a path only if it is not there in the first place. delpath -n deletes all non-existent directories from a path.

You can get the pathfunc.tgz file from https://web.archive.org/web/20061210054813/http://www.netspinner.co.uk:80/Downloads/pathfunc.tgz

  • If the tex man command has the wrong architecture / is missing libraries / plain isn't working, then it's likely that none of the commands will work. So just remove the directory from $PATH completely Feb 26, 2022 at 22:47
  • @roaima Actually latexmk was working before I started messing with the manpath and I was able to build tex files. Although now after changing the bashrc content as shown above, it decided not to. Frankly I have no idea how I ended up here.
    – aulven
    Feb 27, 2022 at 6:04
  • Well, I suspect I slightly corrupted my hard drive as I did a disk level restoration from a Windows machine shortly after installing texlive for irrelevant reasons, I think this is why I get binary errors. Not that it matters at this point nor is it related the question, still wanted to state that in case you are wondering how I managed this.
    – aulven
    Feb 27, 2022 at 7:53

Remove this line to restore your executables:

PATH=/mnt/HDD/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux:$PATH; export PATH

Remove the other two lines to restore the documentation search paths for man and info respectively.

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