[ANNOUNCEMENT] Updated: man-db-2.6.7-2

Michael DePaulo mikedep333@gmail.com
Fri Aug 15 22:15:00 GMT 2014

On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Yaakov Selkowitz
<yselkowitz@cygwin.com> wrote:
> On 2014-08-15 07:22, Michael DePaulo wrote:
>>> This release removes the cache database generation from the postinstall
>>> step
>>> due to its often excessive length.  Users will need to manage the
>>> database
>>> themselves with mandb(1) in order to use whatis/apropos(1).
>> IMHO, this sounds like a serious decrease in Cygwin's usability.
>> How do Linux distributions handle this? Linux distros install many
>> more packages by default, so doesn't their cache database generation
>> typically take much longer?
> Exactly why they don't seem to do it during postinstall either.  For
> example, in Fedora this is handled by a cron job.  A future release may add
> that functionality, but it is clear that postinstall is the wrong place for
> it.

I disagree, but I need to read more about the subject in order to have
a well-informed opinion.

>> Also, should documentation (or perhaps the info a user sees when they
>> start Cygwin for the 1st time) be updated?
> How so?
> Yaakov

Consider the example of where I work. After I install the corporate IT
department's SCCM "package"/"script" for Cygwin (1.7.16, last updated
August 2012), I am greeted by this message every time I start the
Cygwin Terminal:
Your group is currently "mkpasswd".  This indicates that your
gid is not in /etc/group and your uid is not in /etc/passwd.

The /etc/passwd (and possibly /etc/group) files should be rebuilt.
See the man pages for mkpasswd and mkgroup then, for example, run

mkpasswd -l [-d] > /etc/passwd
mkgroup  -l [-d] > /etc/group

Note that the -d switch is necessary for domain users.
I can get rid of the message if do I run those commands.

However, here's what happens if I do run them:

mkpasswd -l -d
takes 9m29.159s
outputs 37062 lines

mkgroup -l -d
takes 4m26.470s
outputs 36866 lines

(I have to run those commands with admin rights, but fortunately mandb
does not require admin rights because of user DBs.)

I am not suggesting that users see a mandb message every time they
launch cygwin. But I am suggesting that that users see it when they
1st launch cygwin. They already see this message:
Copying skeleton files.
These files are for the users to personalise their cygwin experience.

They will never be overwritten nor automatically updated.

'./.bashrc' -> '/home/mike//.bashrc'
'./.bash_profile' -> '/home/mike//.bash_profile'
'./.inputrc' -> '/home/mike//.inputrc'
'./.profile' -> '/home/mike//.profile'
Also, users who are particularly reliant on the apropos command
probably don't know about running the mandb command. It's analogous to
users launching the Windows "Help and Support" Center, but its search
bar returning 0 results they haven't run another utility 1st.


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