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Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
Chapter 11 - Getting support for Debian GNU/Linux

11.1 What other documentation exists on and for a Debian system?

  • The Debian GNU/Linux reference covers many aspects of system administration through shell-command examples. Basic tutorials, tips, and other information are provided for many different topics ranging from system administration to programming.

    Get it from the debian-reference package, or at

  • Policy manual documents the policy requirements for the distribution, i.e. the structure and contents of the Debian archive, several design issues of the operating system etc. It also includes the technical requirements that each package must satisfy to be included in the distribution, and documents the basic technical aspects of Debian binary and source packages.

    Get it from the debian-policy package, or at

  • Documentation developed by the Debian Documentation Project. It is available at and includes user guides, administration guides and security guides for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.
  • Documentation on installed Debian packages: Most packages have files that are unpacked into /usr/share/doc/PACKAGE.
  • Documentation on the Linux project: The Debian package doc-linux installs all of the most recent versions of the HOWTOs and mini-HOWTOs from the Linux Documentation Project.
  • Unix-style `man' pages: Most commands have manual pages written in the style of the original Unix 'man' files. They are referenced by the section of the 'man' directory where they reside: e.g., foo(3) refers to a manual page which resides in /usr/share/man/man3/, and it can be called by executing the command: man 3 foo, or just man foo if section 3 is the first one containing a page on foo.

    One can learn which directory of /usr/share/man/ contains a certain manual page by executing man -w foo.

    New Debian users should note that the 'man' pages of many general system commands are not available until they install these packages:

    • man-db, which contains the man program itself, and other programs for manipulating the manual pages.
  • GNU-style `info' pages: User documentation for many commands, particularly GNU tools, is available not in `man' pages, but in `info' files which can be read by the GNU tool info, by running M-x info within GNU Emacs, or with some other Info page viewer.

    Its main advantage over the original `man' pages are that it is a hypertext system. It does not require the WWW, however; info can be run from a plain text console. It was designed by Richard Stallman and preceded the WWW.

Note that you may access a lot of documentation on your system by using a WWW browser, through `dwww', `dhelp' or `doccentral' commands, found in respective packages.

Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
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  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire