man2html(1) General Commands Manual man2html(1)
man2html - format a manual page in html
man2html [options] [file]
man2html converts a manual page as found in file (or stdin, in case no
file argument, or the argument "-", is given) from man-style nroff into
html, and prints the result on stdout. It does support tbl but does
not know about eqn. The exit status is 0. If something goes wrong, an
error page is printed on stdout.
This can be used as a stand-alone utility, but is mainly intended as an
auxiliary, to enable users to browse their man pages using a html
browser like lynx(1), xmosaic(1) or netscape(1).
The main part of man2html is the troff-to-html engine written by
Richard Verhoeven (email@example.com). It adds hyperlinks for the fol‐
(The first of these can be tuned by options - see below.) No lookup is
done - the links generated need not exist. Also an index with internal
hyperlinks to the various sections is generated, so that it is easier
to find one's way in large man pages like bash(1).
When reading from stdin, it is not always clear how to do .so expan‐
sion. The -D option allows a script to define the working directory.
Strip the last two parts from the pathname, and do a chdir(dir)
before starting the conversion.
The -E option allows the easy generation of error messages from a cgi
Output an error page containing the given error message.
The general form of a hyperlink generated for a man page reference is
with a default as shown above. The parts of this hyperlink are set
using the various options.
-h Set method:cgipath to http://localhost.
Set method:cgipath to http://host.domain:port.
-l Set method:cgipath to lynxcgi:/usr/lib/man2html.
-L dir Set method:cgipath to lynxcgi:dir.
Set the man2htmlpath to use. The default is /man/man2html.
-p Set separator to '/'.
-q Set separator to '?'. This is the default.
-r Use relative html paths, instead of cgi-bin paths.
On a machine without running httpd, one can use lynx to browse the man
pages, using the lynxcgi method. When some http daemon is running,
lynx, or any other browser, can be used to browse the man pages, using
the http method. The option -l (for `lynxcgi') selects the former be‐
haviour. With it, the default cgipath is /usr/lib/man2html.
In general, a cgi script can be called by
and the environment variables PATH_INFO and QUERY_STRING will be set to
<more_path> and <query>, respectively. Since lynxcgi does not handle
the PATH_INFO part, we generate hyperlinks with `?' as a separator by
default. The option -p (for `path') selects '/' as a separator, while
the option -q (for `query') selects '?' as a separator.
The option -H host will specify the host to use (instead of localhost).
A cgi script could use
man2html -H $SERVER_NAME
if the variable SERVER_NAME is set. This would allow your machine to
act as a server and export man pages.
There are many heuristics. The output will not always be perfect. The
lynxcgi method will not work if lynx is not configured for it. There
may be problems with security.
Richard Verhoeven was the original author of man2html. Michael Hamil‐
ton and Andries Brouwer subsequently improved on it. Federico
Lucifredi <firstname.lastname@example.org> is the current maintainer.
lynx(1), man(1), hman(1)
1 January 1998 man2html(1)