What is the deal with mandb and stray cats?
The man page for
mandb refers to stray cats:
-s, --no-straycats Do not spend time looking for or adding information to the databases regarding stray cats.
There is no explanation of what a stray cat is. What’s up?
From the Glossary in
/usr/share/doc/man-db/man-db-manual.txt (source is manual/glossary.me):
A formatted manual page suitable for viewing on a vt100-type terminal.
stray cat page
A cat page that does not have a relative manual page on the system, i.e.
only the cat page was supplied or the manual page was removed after the
cat page had been created.
A cat page is a particular type of man page. It is faster to display than a normal man page, but requires more hard drive space. They are created by using the
catman command. This reads the ‘regular’ man pages and produces new pages with a different internal structure, called cat pages. If you create cat page(s) and then remove the original man page(s), you’ll have “stray” cat page(s).