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#26 2013-11-10 10:04:49

Registered: 2013-09-24
Posts: 4

Re: Longest man page you've seen?

OK, its 5 years later, here are the real stats, if we ARE including info in this debate (since you can use info2man these days) the real winners/losers would go like this, I'm only mentioning the ones mentioned here and the ones I think are the real heavy weights. This question is somewhat dated though now that info pages seem to have absorbed many of the previously big man pages and now they have left behind "smaller versions" of the originals in their man pages, autoconf, for example does this (and so does GCC). So some of these numbers may be off but the man page length is right, here's the dirt:
gcc - 14,302
mplayer - 7,802
fvwm - 7,215
bash - 4,198
cvs - 3,373
wireshark - 2,898
wireshark-filter - 364
zsh - [no man page at all, anymore]
autoconf - 62
vlc - 59

and i threw in the info page's line counts, for good measure (and comparison):

zsh - 34,514
autoconf - 24,889
gcc - 17,572
mplayer - 9,262
fvwm - 9,080
bash - 5,467
cvs - 3,257
wireshark - 3366
wireshark-filter - 413
vlc - 65

So, it looks like GCC is the winner for the man page competition, and zsh is the winner in the
info competition. I hope this helps people who come to this page. I just hate out-of-date information and couldn't resist updating this thread a bit. smile smile (and we all know how -nix information is rapidly changing constantly, so this kind of updating is needed from anyone and everyone!)

NOTE: Command Line Help for VLC is 5,126 lines long (the long version, -H), which does not include the banner, which adds an extra line or two to that.

PS: Just a quick tip, if you are looking this up for programming purposes and are trying for a ballpark figure on sizes of pages you should use when preloading etc, the largest uncompressed man/info page I've com across (to date) is the autoconf page, which is 1144510 bytes (about 1.09 Megabytes) long. In practice you should always anticipate 3-4 times the largest file you can find, my software always uses the x10 rules because I'm paranoid, if anyone ever writes a 10MB man page, i'll be REALLY upset smile but with info i dont think that will happen. Zsh, for example is HUGE, but is cut up into 5 separate files so the files themselves are not so big.

Last edited by osirisgothra (2013-11-10 10:10:01)


#27 2013-11-11 20:23:35

From: America/Santiago
Registered: 2011-06-11
Posts: 1,001

Re: Longest man page you've seen?

info page you says:

$ info ponysay | wc -l

That tool is a joke
but they infopage aren't for noobs

I'm currious about 'non-programming programs' whit really long manpages or infopages

Well, I suppose that this is somekind of signature, no?


#28 2013-11-11 21:06:09

From: Twin Cities, MN
Registered: 2012-06-22
Posts: 1,489

Re: Longest man page you've seen?

osirisgothra wrote:

zsh - [no man page at all, anymore]

… wat.

% man zsh|wc -l

All the best,


"All errors are ᴘᴇʙᴋᴀᴄ errors—It's just a matter of narrowing down which keyboard and chair." -Trilby


#29 2013-12-11 20:34:47

From: New York, NY
Registered: 2012-01-07
Posts: 97

Re: Longest man page you've seen?

I believe it was afterboot(8) on OpenBSD. The only thing that kept me from saying "tl;dr" was the fact that I had an insatiable appetite to install a BSD system and FreeBSD struck me as cliche while NetBSD was meant for my toaster. It did help me out quite a bit though, and I did get up and running.

e: I want to get up and going with PKGBUILDs again, but I burned out after reading afterboot(8). I don't think I have the stomach for anything that isn't the glorious ArchWiki.

Last edited by shaunsingh14 (2013-12-11 20:36:52)

Before you run for help, always consult the All-Knowing ArchWiki
New to GNU/Linux? Read this to succeed with Linux. … did=153396


#30 2013-12-15 20:07:53

From: $(pwd)
Registered: 2013-07-09
Posts: 545

Re: Longest man page you've seen?

I guess emacs built-in help doesn't count, so...=P

Oh dear, really impressed with wireshark-filter.


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