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Why do we have a default activated man-db.timer?




System: Testing

Hi!

With the migration of man-db 2.8.5-1 into testing about a month ago I
get bothered once a day with a lot of useless lines in syslog:
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: Purging old database entries in /usr/share/man...
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: Processing manual pages under /usr/share/man...
> [...]

Only to come to the same result day after day after day:
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: 0 man subdirectories contained newer manual pages.
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: 0 manual pages were added.
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: 0 stray cats were added.
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey mandb[3543]: 0 old database entries were purged.
> Feb 10 00:00:51 osprey systemd[1]: man-db.service: Succeeded.

Thankfully Francois filed a bug earlier:
<https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=920628 <https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=920628>>

which got fixed upstream:
<https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/man-db.git/commit/?id=a4206c27060357cc78219a54349624e0d0675aff <https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/man-db.git/commit/?id=a4206c27060357cc78219a54349624e0d0675aff>>

So the messages will go away for me in a couple of days.
Problem solved. :-)

BUT wait...
I was wondering why do we have man-db.timer in the first place?
and
Why is it activated by default?

Manpages in my system changes if I install, remove or update packages.
And I think this will be the case for the majority of debian users.

Shouldn't it be enough to have package install/remove/update event
hooks for updating man-db instead? This renders a daily update job
pretty useless in my opinion.

Do I miss something obvious?

On the other side the man-db packages can come with a default disabled
timer for folk who need it f.ex. who install packages without dpkg/apt
and so on.

What do you think?

Tom