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This question already has an answer here:

My man command seems to have disappeared.

Typing man <something> returns

The program 'man' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install man-db

however man-db is already installed and reinstalling it does nothing. Typing which man doesn't find anything.

xman works, so the actual man pages are there: it seems the front-end driver has gone missing. How can I download the front-end driver or recreate a copy of it (I seem to recall it's a small shell script).

Running Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS on a Dell laptop with x86 processor

/usr/bin/man doesn't exist - that's essentially the problem.

I did try uninstalling man-db (as root) in order to reinstall it, but it won't let me. It gets a permission failure. I thought root could do anything, but apparently not....

marked as duplicate by mikewhatever, muru, WinEunuuchs2Unix, Zanna, Charles Green Oct 3 '17 at 14:27

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    Can you check the output of ls -l /usr/bin/man. It should have 755 permissions, owned by root. – mikewhatever Oct 1 '17 at 8:54
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    What did you do before this issue? – George Udosen Oct 1 '17 at 8:55
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    Please edit your question to include the actual commands you are using to try to reinstall / uninstall the package - and the complete error messages – steeldriver Oct 1 '17 at 11:35
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Well, the (rather horrible) workaround was to download the Ubuntu 14.04 install image, create an install DVD, boot it up on another machine, copy /usr/bin/man across, chmod it to 755, and I have a working man command again. There ought to be an easier way to recreate a file which has somehow got corrupted or gone missing, such as forcing a reinstall of the package.

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    There is: sudo apt-get install --reinstall ... – muru Oct 3 '17 at 8:40

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