How to get regular stuff working

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Man pages

Not all man-pages are in Alpine, but this will get you most of the way there:

   apk add man man-pages mdocml-apropos less less-doc
   export PAGER=less

The above only provides core man pages. Other packages typically don't include their own man pages (nor other documentation). Rather, they provide an associated package that carries such stuff. For example:

   $ apk add curl
   $ man curl
   man: No entry for curl in the manual.
   $ apropos curl | wc -l
   0    After adding curl, there are no man pages
   $ apk add curl-doc
   (1/1) Installing curl-doc (7.52.1-r2)
   Executing mdocml-apropos-1.13.3-r6.trigger
   OK: 60 MiB in 31 packages
   $ apropos curl | wc -l
   366  Now, with curl-doc installed, there's a boatload of pages!

NOTE: Not all packages separate out their documentation, but it is the Alpine Way (e.g. small footprint). Some packages don't provide any installable documentation at all, neither within themselves nor an associated doc packages. Further, appending "-doc" is merely a convention. In fact, the core man documentations are in man-pages (as in the apk add ... command, above). To find the right documentation package, try something like:

   $ apk search gcc | grep ^gcc
   gcc-doc-5.3.0-r0    Here it is!

FINALLY: If you're wondering why I've added less (and less-doc), it's because man doesn't work correctly with more (the default pager). Don't fret too much about bloating up Alpine, though - adding man pages has a bigger footprint than less ("less is more than man"???)

Operational hints

Shell @ commandline

Alpine comes with busybox by default. Busybox is an endpoint for numerous symlinks for various utilities. Though busybox is not that bad, the commands are impaired in functionality.

  • Funny characters at the console

Edit the file at /etc/rc.conf and change line 92 to:

  • Bash

It is easy enough to have bash installed, but this does not mean the symlinks to busybox are gone.

Install bash with:

  apk add bash bash-doc bash-completion
  • Shell utilities (things like grep, awk, ls are all busybox symlinks)
  apk add util-linux pciutils usbutils coreutils binutils findutils grep
  • /etc/{shadow,group} manipulation requires
  apk add shadow

Disk Management

Disk management is soo much easier with udisks or udisks2


  apk add udisks2 udisks2-doc

See the mounted disks

  udisksctl status

Compiling : a few notes and a reminder

Compiling in Alpine may be more challenging because it uses musl-libc instead of glibc. Please review 'The functional differences with glibc' if you think of porting packages or just for the sake of knowing, of course.

Alpine offers the regular compiler stuff like gcc and cmake ... possible others

(unvalidated) apk packages to install so one can start building software

  apk add build-base gcc abuild binutils binutils-doc gcc-doc

a complete install for cmake looks like

  apk add cmake cmake-doc extra-cmake-modules extra-cmake-modules-doc

ccache is also available

  apk add ccache ccache-doc