Debian Developer's Reference Manual
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Debian is a distribution, it is made of many thousands of (free) software.
This page is about official Debian Documentation.
There are other Debian Resources
The most famous for Debian users are :
Many other Debian Documentation are available at www.debian.org/doc
At the moment, Debian doesn't have a System Administrator manual.
The most famous for Debian contributors are :
the social contract
the Debian Machine Usage Policies (dmup)
the Debian policy
Most documentation for Debian-developer (and package maintainer) are available from www.debian.org/devel/.
Official Websites of the Debian Project
On Debian.org the official Debian site, you can find a section dedicated to documentation.
Mailinglists are the main way of Debian communication
http://lists.debian.org/users.html - User mailing lists
http://forums.debian.net - Debian.net Forums
Advocacy, developers, inside information
UnofficialRepositories - a list of non official package repositories. They can be very useful.
http://alioth.debian.org - Project hosting for Open Source developers
http://mentors.debian.net - Public package repository
http://bits.debian.org - Debian Blog
http://planet.debian.org - Planet Debian, aggregating lots of Developer blogs
http://planet.debian.org/es/ - Planeta Debian, a blog aggregator in spanish
http://release.debian.org - Debian Release Management pages
http://snapshot.debian.org - Debian packages archived daily since 2002/06/04
http://backports.debian.org - Backports for the stable distribution
http://www.debian.org/News - Official news
http://db.debian.org - Debian Developer Database
http://udd.debian.org/ - Ultimate Debian Database
http://wiki.debian.org - The Official Debian Wiki
Many free and non-free books are listed on Debian website.
http://www.debian.org/doc/books - Debian Book Library
Extra books could be listed below.
There are official Debian IRC channels.
You can also use Jabber
Each software provides has its own documentation.
Under Debian (Unix), a program's documentation typically consist of (one or more of):
A manpage (type man followed by a command name).
A README file, provided by upstream. (A text file located at /usr/share/doc/pkgname/README)
A README.Debian file, provided by the Debian package maintainer. (A text file located at /usr/share/doc/pkgname/README.Debian)
Programs with a graphical user interface (Gnome, KDE...) usually comes with help page (accessible through Menu > Help).
Some program provide their documentation as html, or info page.
In the package description you can find some useful information, like a short description of the package, a link to the original website, a list of files contained, and more. The package description can be accessed at the url http://packages.debian.org/<package-name>. Or, try "aptitude show $PKG" (you may need to "apt-get update && apt-get aptitude && aptitude update" first).
One of the best places to look for help for a single package or application is to read stuff in /usr/share/doc/<package-name> (especially README.Debian). This is documentation written by developers or package maintainers. It is quite concise, but usually mentions most common problems and solutions, and new features and fixed bugs.
Bug tracking system
Many problems' solutions can be found as bug report responses. A search engine for bug reports is found on http://bugs.debian.org. Remember that if you want to search in archived (quite old) bugs you must chose "archived bugs" option. If you want to look at bugs of a specific package use http://bugs.debian.org/<package-name>.
Contribute to the documentation
This is free software, you can contribute improvements to the existing documentation
(i.e. you don't have to write your own HowTo!).
If you are interested in contributing to documentation, please check the following resources first, to get some feel for how other people contribute:
http://www.debian.org/doc/ddp (most of the Debian Documentation is available here)
https://wiki.debian.org/ (Join this wiki and add new contents/translations)
Some documentation contents are generated from the corresponding Debian package. If so, you may wish to interact with the package maintainer. Sometimes, filing a bug report for that package using the Debian Bug Tracking System (BTS) is a good idea.
If you are interested in participating in the debian-doc group, please see the team page on the Wiki