This thread What do the numbers in a man page mean? answers the question of the significance of the numbers between parentheses within a man page. My question is related.

I have a local installation of a package called ffmpeg. The build folder has the typical bin, lib, etc. and then the folder:

man/man1/ with the following files:

ffmpeg-bitstream-filters.1  ffmpeg-scaler.1  libavdevice.3
ffmpeg-codecs.1             ffmpeg-utils.1   libavfilter.3
ffmpeg-devices.1            ffmpeg.1         libavformat.3
ffmpeg-filters.1            ffplay.1         libavutil.3
ffmpeg-formats.1            ffprobe.1        libswresample.3
ffmpeg-protocols.1          ffserver.1       libswscale.3
ffmpeg-resampler.1          libavcodec.3

My questions are:

  1. Why is there a subfolder under man called man1? Why not just in man? And why the suffix 1?
  2. Which path should I add to MANPATH? The one pointing to man ? or man/man1?
  3. What do the suffices in the files above mean? Are they the same numbers within parentheses described in the thread I mentioned above?
  1. The suffixes (such as 1) correspond to the numbers mentioned in "What do the numbers in a man page mean?". The represent sections of the manual.

  2. "Which path should I add to MANPATH? The one pointing to man?" Yes (ie, not one of the inner man1, man2, etc. directories).

  3. These have the same significance as the directory suffixes from #1. Notice man1 contains all .1 files, man2 all .2 files, etc.

  • 1
    Thanks @goldilocks. Oddly, your answer to Q3 is not consistent with the file hierarchy I have for ffmpeg (I have .2 and .3 files under man1). Any thoughts why? – Amelio Vazquez-Reina Jul 8 '13 at 15:31
  • 1
    Probably, laziness. Do the section headers in parentheses match the suffix? (You can view a man page file directly with, eg. man ./ffmpeg.2, presuming there is such a file in ./; the .gz man pages are fine this way too.) Anyway, if the page names are unique (so there is no possible ffmpeg-foobar.1, ffmpeg-foobar.2) then there can be no conflict -- I would guess the only issue might be if someone did a man 2 ffmpeg-foobar when ffmpeg-foobar.2 is in man1, depending on how the man system decides and finds a page by section. Try it. – goldilocks Jul 8 '13 at 15:47

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