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As the title asks, is it possible to install only the man page for a package - without installing the package itself? If so - what apt options are needed to make this happen?

I've reviewed man apt, man apt-get, man apt-preferences & done a brief online search. I didn't find anything that addressed this specific question.

This search result came closest. Running apt-cache search manpages revealed a few selected manuals, but not, for example, how to get the manpage for watchdog.

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  • I have never heard of such an option. I think few man pages (if any) are large enough to warrant a package separate to the application. – joan Jan 11 at 9:22
  • Depending on the info you are trying to get you could use something like TLDR pages github.com/tldr-pages/tldr. Also, your question does describe the use case but the web will also offer up the webpage (though getting the correct version can be difficult. – Steve Robillard Jan 11 at 9:27
  • You could also do it manually or script it (download, ensure the correct format and move to correct directory) most man page authoring tutorials will cover this.. – Steve Robillard Jan 11 at 9:35
  • @SteveRobillard: I found an answer that seems to work: debman. It's not ideal, but it seems to have gotten the job done in this case. – Seamus Jan 11 at 9:55
  • @joan: I hadn't either until just now. I posted this as a question w/ no answer, then almost immediately stumbled on something that seems to work. – Seamus Jan 11 at 9:57
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This answer turned up in a slightly different search. The link provided in the answer is apparently an obsolete page now. However, the following yielded a result that may answer the question:

$ apt-cache search debman
debian-goodies - Small toolbox-style utilities for Debian systems 

$ sudo apt-get install debian-goodies

So far, so good... man debman exists (as does debman -h), but not very clear IMHO. Nevertheless, this seems to have gotten the job done:

$ debman -p watchdog watchdog
Get:1 http://mirror.sjc02.svwh.net/raspbian/raspbian buster/main armhf watchdog armhf 5.15-2 [82.5 kB]
Fetched 82.5 kB in 1s (102 kB/s) 

Followed by man watchdog :

WATCHDOG(8) System Manager's Manual WATCHDOG(8)

NAME
watchdog - a software watchdog daemon

SYNOPSIS
watchdog [-F|--foreground] [-f|--force] [-c filename|--config-file filename] [-v|--verbose] [-s|--sync] [-b|--softboot] [-q|--no-ac‐ tion]

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