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           alternatives  [options] --install link name path priority [--slave link
           name path]...  [--initscript service]
           alternatives [options] --remove name path
           alternatives [options] --set name path
           alternatives [options] --auto name
           alternatives [options] --display name
           alternatives [options] --config name


           alternatives creates, removes, maintains and displays information about
           the symbolic links comprising the alternatives system. The alternatives
           system is a reimplementation of the Debian alternatives system. It  was
           rewritten primarily to remove the dependence on perl; it is intended to
           be a drop in replacement for Debian's update-dependencies script.  This
           man page is a slightly modified version of the man page from the Debian
           It is possible for several programs  fulfilling  the  same  or  similar
           functions  to  be  installed  on a single system at the same time.  For
           example, many systems have several  text  editors  installed  at  once.
           This gives choice to the users of a system, allowing each to use a dif-
           ferent editor, if desired, but makes it difficult for a program to make
           a  good choice of editor to invoke if the user has not specified a par-
           ticular preference.
           The alternatives system aims to solve this problem.  A generic name  in
           the  filesystem  is shared by all files providing interchangeable func-
           tionality.   The  alternatives  system  and  the  system  administrator
           together  determine  which  actual  file  is referenced by this generic
           name.  For example, if the text  editors  ed(1)  and  nvi(1)  are  both
           installed on the system, the alternatives system will cause the generic
           name /usr/bin/editor to refer to /usr/bin/nvi by default.   The  system
           administrator  can  override  this and cause it to refer to /usr/bin/ed
           instead, and the alternatives system will not alter this setting  until
           explicitly requested to do so.
           The generic name is not a direct symbolic link to the selected alterna-
           tive.  Instead, it is a symbolic link to a  name  in  the  alternatives
           directory,  which  in turn is a symbolic link to the actual file refer-
           enced.  This is done so that the system administrator's changes can  be
           confined  within  the  /etc directory: the FHS (q.v.) gives reasons why
           this is a Good Thing.
           When each package providing a file with a particular  functionality  is
           installed,  changed or removed, alternatives is called to update infor-
           mation about that file in the  alternatives  system.   alternatives  is
           system  will  not  change the links; it will leave all the decisions to
           the system administrator.
           Link groups are in automatic mode when they are first introduced to the
           system.   If  the  system  administrator  makes changes to the system's
           automatic settings, this will be noticed the next time alternatives  is
           run  on  the  changed link's group, and the group will automatically be
           switched to manual mode.
           Each alternative has a priority associated with it.  When a link  group
           is  in  automatic  mode,  the alternatives pointed to by members of the
           group will be those which have the highest priority.
           When using the --config option,  alternatives  will  list  all  of  the
           choices for the link group of which given name is the master link.  You
           will then be prompted for which of the choices  to  use  for  the  link
           group. Once you make a change, the link group will no longer be in auto
           mode. You will need to use the --auto option in order to return to  the
           automatic state.


           Since  the activities of alternatives are quite involved, some specific
           terms will help to explain its operation.
           generic name
                  A name, like /usr/bin/editor, which refers, via the alternatives
                  system, to one of a number of files of similar function.
                  Without any further qualification, this means a symbolic link in
                  the alternatives directory: one which the  system  administrator
                  is expected to adjust.
                  The name of a specific file in the filesystem, which may be made
                  accessible via a generic name using the alternatives system.
           alternatives directory
                  A directory, by default /etc/alternatives, containing  the  sym-
           administrative directory
                  A directory, by default /var/lib/alternatives, containing alter-
                  natives' state information.
           link group
                  A set of related symlinks, intended to be updated as a group.
           master link
                  The link in a link group which determines how the other links in
                  the group are configured.


           Exactly one action must be specified if alternatives is to perform  any
           meaningful  task.   Any  number  of the common options may be specified
           together with any action.
                  Generate more comments about what alternatives is doing.
                  Don't generate any comments unless errors occur.  This option is
                  not yet implemented.
           --test Don't  actually  do anything, just say what would be done.  This
                  option is not yet implemented.
           --help Give some usage information (and say which version  of  alterna-
                  tives this is).
                  Tell  which version of alternatives this is (and give some usage
           --altdir directory
                  Specifies the alternatives directory, when this is to be differ-
                  ent from the default.
           --admindir directory
                  Specifies  the administrative directory, when this is to be dif-
                  ferent from the default.
           --install  link  name  path  priority  [--slave  slink   sname   spath]
           [--initscript service]...
                  Add a group of alternatives to the system.  name is the  generic
                  name  for the master link, link is the name of its symlink, path
                  is the alternative being introduced for  the  master  link,  and
                  priority  is the priority of the alternatives group. Higher pri-
                  orities take precendence if no alternative is manually selected.
                  sname,  slink  and  spath are the generic name, symlink name and
                  alternative for a slave link, and service is  the  name  of  any
                  associated  initscript  for the alternative.  NOTE: --initscript
                  is a Red Hat  Linux  specific  option.   Zero  or  more  --slave
                  options, each followed by three arguments, may be specified.
                  If  the  master symlink specified exists already in the alterna-
                  tives system's records, the information supplied will  be  added
                  as  a  new  set of alternatives for the group.  Otherwise, a new
                  group, set to automatic mode, will be added with  this  informa-
                  tion.   If  the  group is in automatic mode, and the newly added
                  alternatives' priority is higher than any other installed alter-
                  natives for this group, the symlinks will be updated to point to
                  appropriate alternative, or removed if there is no such alterna-
                  tive left.  Associated slave links will be updated  or  removed,
                  correspondingly.  If the link is not currently pointing to path,
                  no links are changed; only the information about the alternative
                  is removed.
           --set name path
                  The  symbolic  link  and slaves for link group name set to those
                  configured for path, and the link group is set to  manual  mode.
                  This option is not in the original Debian implementation.
           --config name
                  Present the user with a configuration menu for choosing the mas-
                  ter link and slaves for link group name. Once chosen,  the  link
                  group is set to manual mode.
           --auto name
                  Switch  the  master symlink name to automatic mode.  In the pro-
                  cess, this symlink and its slaves are updated to  point  to  the
                  highest priority installed alternatives.
           --display name
                  Display  information  about  the link group of which name is the
                  master link.  Information displayed includes  the  group's  mode
                  (auto or manual), which alternative the symlink currently points
                  to, what other alternatives are available (and their correspond-
                  ing  slave  alternatives),  and the highest priority alternative
                  currently installed.


                  The default alternatives directory.  Can be  overridden  by  the
                  --altdir option.
                  The  default administration directory.  Can be overridden by the
                  --admindir option.


           0      The requested action was successfully performed.
           2      Problems were encountered whilst parsing  the  command  line  or
                  performing the action.


           alternatives  chatters incessantly about its activities on its standard
           output channel.  If problems occur, alternatives outputs error messages
           on  its  standard error channel and returns an exit status of 2.  These
           diagnostics should be self-explanatory; if you do  not  find  them  so,
           please report this as a bug.


           This manual page is copyright 1997/98 Charles  Briscoe-Smith  and  2002
           Red  Hat,  Inc.  This is free documentation; see the GNU General Public
           Licence version 2 or later for copying conditions.  There  is  NO  WAR-


           ln(1),  FHS, the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.  alternatives.c chkcon-
           fig.c COPYING leveldb.c leveldb.h Makefile ntsysv.c ook
                                    27 January 2001         UPDATE-ALTERNATIVES(8)

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