The amount of documentation that Linux comes with is just tremendous. Let us take a brief overview of what is available.
Man Pages: If you are looking for a command reference guide, then there is nothing better than the man pages. These are the manual pages for all the commands that are available on the system. Apart from commands several other topics like system calls, library calls, file formats etc. are also covered by the man pages. To get the manual page for a particular command (e.g. "find"), simply run the command "man find".
If you are using the X-Window system, then the interface is even better. Just run the command "xman", click on "Manual Page", pull down the "Options" menu and select "Search". Type in the command you want, and voila!
Info Pages: The info pages on Linux are hypertext documentation. The popularity of this kind of documentation is dwindling and most of the newer documents are in HTML format instead. Just run "info", optionally followed by the command you are interested in, and then use your cursor keys to navigate (hitting "?" will get you help). Any item starting with a "*" is a menu item that you can hit Enter on, to get more information.
Package Documentation: Several of the packages have their own documentation, README files, samples etc. are all part of the source packages. In RedHat, these are always installed in a common location, which is /usr/doc/packagename. So for example if you have fetchmail installed and the version of fetchmail is 4.5.8, then the documentation can be found at /usr/doc/fetchmail-4.5.8.
Linux Documentation Project: The Linux documentation project is a mammoth collaborative effort to create high quality documentation. These documents are contributed from all over the world and are really in-depth.
HOWTOs: These can be found at /usr/doc/HOWTO. The formats are several, including html, postscript, dvi etc. In fact one thing I like doing with the html format is to make it available at the Intranet server. Rather than disturbing the order of things what I normally do is create a symbolic link. Eg. change to the /home/httpd/html directory and then type in:
ln -sf /usr/doc/HOWTO/other-formats/html HOWTO
Now point your web browser to http://
FAQ: The directory /usr/doc/FAQ contains a few FAQs. There are not too may of these documents.
Guides: The best of the LDP documentation is available in the form of the guides. There are four guides that have become really popular, The install-guide, the system administrators guide, the network administrators guide and the Linux programmers guide. The guides are in the directory /usr/doc/LDP.
Finally, the Internet. For users in India, an invaluable support is
the mailing list linux-india. You can get more details about linux-india at http://www.linux-india.org.
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