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whereis - locate the binary, source, and manual page files for a command


whereis [options] [-BMS directory... -f] name...


whereis locates the binary, source and manual files for the specified command names. The
supplied names are first stripped of leading pathname components and any (single) trailing
extension of the form .ext (for example: .c) Prefixes of s. resulting from use of source
code control are also dealt with. whereis then attempts to locate the desired program in
the standard Linux places, and in the places specified by $PATH and $MANPATH.

The search restrictions (options -b, -m and -s) are cumulative and apply to the subsequent
name patterns on the command line. Any new search restriction resets the search mask.
For example,

whereis -bm ls tr -m gcc

searches for "ls" and "tr" binaries and man pages, and for "gcc" man pages only.

The options -B, -M and -S reset search paths for the subsequent name patterns. For

whereis -m ls -M /usr/share/man/man1 -f cal

searches for "ls" man pages in all default paths, but for "cal" in the /usr/share/man/man1
directory only.


-b Search for binaries.

-m Search for manuals.

-s Search for sources.

-u Only show the command names that have unusual entries. A command is said to be
unusual if it does not have just one entry of each explicitly requested type. Thus
'whereis -m -u *' asks for those files in the current directory which have no
documentation file, or more than one.

-B list
Limit the places where whereis searches for binaries, by a whitespace-separated
list of directories.

-M list
Limit the places where whereis searches for manuals and documentation in Info
format, by a whitespace-separated list of directories.

-S list
Limit the places where whereis searches for sources, by a whitespace-separated list
of directories.

-f Terminates the directory list and signals the start of filenames. It must be used
when any of the -B, -M, or -S options is used.

-l Output the list of effective lookup paths that whereis is using. When none of -B,
-M, or -S is specified, the option will output the hard-coded paths that the
command was able to find on the system.


To find all files in /usr/bin which are not documented in /usr/man/man1 or have no source
in /usr/src:

cd /usr/bin
whereis -u -ms -M /usr/man/man1 -S /usr/src -f *


By default whereis tries to find files from hard-coded paths, which are defined with glob
patterns. The command attempts to use the contents of $PATH and $MANPATH environment
variables as default search path. The easiest way to know what paths are in use is to add
the -l listing option. Effects of the -B, -M, and -S are displayed with -l.


enables debug output.


The whereis command is part of the util-linux package and is available from Linux Kernel
Archive ⟨ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/⟩.

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