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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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Debian Reference
Chapter 1 - Preface

This Debian Reference is intended to provide a broad overview of the Debian system as a post-installation user's guide. Its target reader is someone who is willing to read shell scripts. I expect the reader to have gained basic skills in Unix-like systems prior to reading this document.

I made a conscious decision not to explain everything in detail if it can be found on a manual page, an info page, or in a HOWTO document. Instead of full explanations, I have tried to give more directly practical information by providing exact command sequences in the main text or example scripts under examples/. You must understand the content of examples before issuing commands. Your system may require slightly different command sequences.

Much of the information included consists of reminders or pointers to the authoritative references listed in References, Section 15.1.

This document originated as a "quick reference" but it grew. Nevertheless, Keep It Short and Simple (KISS) is my guiding principle.

For help with emergency system maintenance, proceed to Debian survival commands, Section 6.3 immediately.

1.1 Official document

The latest official document is in the Debian archives with the package name debian-reference-en and is also available from

The latest development version is The project is hosted at, where this document is available for download in plain text, HTML, PDF, SGML, and PostScript formats.

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