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ASDF Tooling


Using asdf with rust πŸ”

As of June 22 2018 asdf does not play well with rust ...surprise, surprise. 🀷

Fortunately rust provides its own language manager πŸ‘

Homebrew can cause complications when using the official rust installer, it is adviced to use rustup provided by

asdf-vm gotchas πŸ”

When installing a specific version of ruby ie, 2.3.6 make sure to run the below command

asdf reshim ruby

After the above command is run, the shell environment should find specific gems related to that version of Ruby.

$ which rails

To fix nodejs with the current release 0.4.1 of asdf delete node and npm located in $HOME/.asdf/shims see πŸ™ˆ

My man page journey πŸ”

Q Where are man pages located on macOS?

A man pages are stored in various locations on the system.

On macOS, and Debian manpath will output all the the PATHs man looks for man pages on the system.

🚨 Setting MANPATH on either macOS or Debian is problematic because both OSes look for MANPATH entries from a supplied system file. For that reason, I am going to try and avoid setting MANPATH on both systems, but rather symlink the man pages to a directory that is writable for the current user running asdf.

Update My man page Journey

GitHub my asdf man page comment

Your gunna want to sit down πŸ›‹ for this one

Got to spend some more time working with man pages on macOS, and it appears macOS may actually be able to honor the $MANPATH env var if set properly. However, something I have noticed is that if man pages are placed in certain directories then macOS will dynamically update the search path for man pages, which is quite handy when you know how it works. πŸ‘

That said, personally πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ I'd avoid fiddling with the $MANPATH env var because I don't know how portable it would be across various environments, ie. shells, and terminals, and also systems, ie. Linux, Darwin, etc etc.

So going back to the beginning of this circle bare with me I primarily use asdf for erlang, elixir, ocaml, and ruby. Personally, I have migrated away from using asdf to manage Node.js runtimes, and Python environments with other version manager tools. So when I still need to work with erlang and elixir it's quite nice to pop open a man page to figure some stuff out, which is something I haven't been able to do when installing erlang or elixir via asdf.

So from hacking away at man pages this morning, I came to the conclusion that when I install elixir on macOS there are indeed man pages located in the install dir path;

πŸ‘‡path to where asdf installs precompiled language files for elixir on my macOS box.


add whatever major minor and patch version of elixir is installed on the system, for my use case it would be 1.7.4. The "stock" contents of a elixir 1.7.4 install on my box looks like,

╰─λ pwd                                                                                       
╰─λ l                                                                                         
total 44K
drwxr-xr-x 11 capin staff  352 Nov  4 12:18 ./
drwxr-xr-x  3 capin staff   96 Nov  4 12:18 ../
drwxr-xr-x  3 capin staff   96 Nov  4 12:18 .mix/
drwxr-xr-x 11 capin staff  352 Oct 25 03:40 bin/
drwxr-xr-x  8 capin staff  256 Nov  4 12:18 lib/
drwxr-xr-x  9 capin staff  288 Oct 25 03:41 man/
-rw-r--r--  1 capin staff  15K Oct 25 03:40
-rw-r--r--  1 capin staff  12K Oct 25 03:40 LICENSE
-rw-r--r--  1 capin staff  825 Oct 25 03:40 NOTICE
-rw-r--r--  1 capin staff 7.3K Oct 25 03:40
-rw-r--r--  1 capin staff    5 Oct 25 03:40 VERSION

and the first thing pops out to me is the man directory. There are in fact a couple of man pages within that directory that are useful for working with mix, iex, and elixir commands from a shell. However, with a stock install of asdf on macOS, /usr/bin/man is unable to locate those man pages in the directory listed above. However, extending from my previous comments, if I run

man -d iex

I'll see something like, towards the end / bottom of STDOUT


No manual entry for iex

However v2, if I remove /path/to/asdf/shims and /path/to/asdf/bin from $PATH and add /opt/Code/github/public/version-managers/asdf/installs/elixir/1.7.4/bin to my $PATH, and verify the above path to the elixir bins are indeed in my $PATH

echo $PATH

The above should output the newly added bin directory where asdf installed the elixir bins, not the symlinked shell scripts that reside in the shims directory. Now I can execute,

man -d iex

and notice how macOS uses manpath mappings to locate certain man pages for binaries located in various paths throughout the system. So noticing that, and doing a little troubleshooting, ie. trial & error I came to the conclusion if I add a share/man/man1 directory in within the elixir install path, ie.


and then run

man -d iex

I get something like the below;


not executing command:
  (cd '/opt/Code/github/public/version-managers/asdf/installs/elixir/1.7.4/share/man' && (echo ".ll 11.2i"; echo ".nr LL 11.2i"; /bin/cat '/opt/Code/github/public/version-managers/asdf/installs/elixir/1.7.4/share/man/man1/iex.1') | /usr/bin/tbl | /usr/bin/groff -Wall -mtty-char -Tascii -mandoc -c | (/usr/bin/less -is || true))

now that macOS has mapped /path/to/asdf/install/elixir/version/share/man/man1

I can read the man page for iex from within any directory on my system without having to explicitly set the path to the man page, and I did not need to fiddle with any super user; ie. root owned files on the system for man page configuration. So all in all I made some progress with understanding how man pages work on macOS. However v3, this isn't a permanent solution but rather an explanation of what is going on with man pages on macOS, and hopefully begins a dialogue of how we should get asdf to read man pages from languages, runtimes, various other utilities asdf manages.

cheers 🍻

man page directory layout πŸ”

Directory Section Name
man1 (1) User Commands
man2 (2) System Calls
man3 (3) Subroutines
man4 (4) Devices
man5 (5) File Formats
man6 (6) Games
man7 (7) Miscellaneous
man8 (8) Sys. Administration
manl (l) Local
mann (n) New
mano (o) Old

My man page journey hacking away at asdf πŸ”

The main asdf script located in $HOME/.asdf/bin/ and respectively called asdf relies on bash pulling it in from the current env.

Updated help.txt to reflect the coming changes, ie.

asdf install <name> <version> --with-docs

install flag.

Most if not all asdf commands are shell script functions

My man page journey working with bash πŸ”

To check a bash script for syntax errors, but not run the script

bash -n mr_fancy_script

Useful Links πŸ”

Medium πŸ”

TODOs πŸ”

  • figure out a sane way to get man pages working with languages installed via asdf