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Does /etc/profile need to set MANPATH?

I've been working on getting man-db in a state where I can submit a package for it. I had been baffled by the failure of one of the tests that was dealing with overriding the man_db.conf file, so had been struggling to get a version that passes everything before I submitted it.

I finally discovered that the root cause was that MANPATH was being set from /etc/profile and that this value was conflicting with the test and causing it to fail. Unsetting MANPATH allowed the test to succeed[1].

My question is then, is it necessary to set this value? Is it something required by the current version of man that we're using? If so, man-db seems to override this necessity as it makes considerable effort to work out a reasonable manpath on it's own.

Perhaps this discussion belongs in cygwin-apps. I'll be happy to take it elsewhere.

[1] The failure of this test also seems to me to indicate an upstream bug. If MANPATH is set, man-db always ignores the data in the man_db.conf file, even if the conf file is specified on the command line. Worse, man-db actually reads the conf file, but then ignores the data. Perhaps this is working as designed, but if so, the design seems flawed from my perspective. From my research, this does not appear to be a Cygwin specific issue, although I haven't yet tried to reproduce it on a Linux system.

Chris J. Breisch

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