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Applies to openSUSE Leap 15.6

20 Help and documentation Edit source

openSUSE® Leap comes with several sources of information and documentation, available online or integrated into your installed system.

Product Documentation

Extensive documentation for openSUSE Leap is available at https://doc.opensuse.org. Topics covered range from deployment, upgrade and system administration to virtualization, system tuning and security, among others.

Documentation in /usr/share/doc

This directory holds release notes for your system (in the subdirectory release-notes). It also contains information of installed packages in the subdirectory packages. Find more detailed information in Section 20.1, “Documentation directory”.

Man pages and info pages for shell commands

When working with the shell, you do not need to know the options of the commands by heart. Traditionally, the shell provides integrated help by means of man pages and info pages. Read more in Section 20.2, “Man pages” and Section 20.3, “Info pages”.

Desktop help center

The help center of the GNOME desktop (Help) provides central access to the GNOME desktop documentation.

Separate help packages for certain applications

When installing new software with YaST, the software documentation is normally installed automatically and appears in the help center of your desktop. However, certain applications, such as GIMP, may have different online help packages that can be installed separately with YaST and do not integrate into the help centers.

20.1 Documentation directory Edit source

The traditional directory to find documentation on your installed Linux system is /usr/share/doc. The directory contains the release notes and information about the packages installed on your system, plus manuals and more.

Note: Contents depend on installed packages

In the Linux world, manuals and other kinds of documentation are available in the form of packages, like software. How much and which information you find in /usr/share/doc also depends on the (documentation) packages installed. If you cannot find the subdirectories mentioned here, check if the respective packages are installed on your system and add them with YaST, if needed.

20.1.1 Release notes Edit source

We provide HTML, PDF, RTF and text versions of openSUSE Leap release notes. They are available on your installed system under /usr/share/doc/release-notes/ or online at your product-specific Web page at https://doc.opensuse.org/release-notes/.

20.1.2 Package documentation Edit source

Under packages, find the documentation that is included in the software packages installed on your system. For every package, a subdirectory /usr/share/doc/packages/PACKAGENAME is created. It often contains README files for the package and sometimes examples, configuration files, or additional scripts. The following list introduces typical files to be found under /usr/share/doc/packages. None of these entries are mandatory and many packages only include a few of them.


List of the main developers.


Known bugs or malfunctions. May also contain a link to a Bugzilla Web page where you can search all bugs.

CHANGES , ChangeLog

Summary of changes from version to version. It is interesting for developers, because it is detailed.


Licensing information.


Question and answers collected from mailing lists or newsgroups.


How to install this package on your system. As the package is already installed by the time you get to read this file, you can safely ignore the contents of this file.


General information on the software. For example, for what purpose and how to use it.


Features planned for the future.


List of files with a brief summary.


Description of what is new in this version.

20.2 Man pages Edit source

Man pages are an essential part of any Linux system. They explain the usage of a command and all available options and parameters. Man pages can be accessed with man followed by the name of the command, for example, man ls.

Man pages are displayed directly in the shell. To navigate them, move up and down with Page ↑ and Page ↓. Move between the beginning and the end of a document with Home and End. End this viewing mode by pressing Q. Learn more about the man command itself with man man. Man pages are sorted in categories as shown in Table 20.1, “Man pages—categories and descriptions” (taken from the man page for man itself).

Table 20.1: Man pages—categories and descriptions




Executable programs or shell commands


System calls (functions provided by the kernel)


Library calls (functions within program libraries)


Special files (normally found in /dev)


File formats and conventions (/etc/fstab)




Miscellaneous (including macro packages and conventions), for example, man(7), groff(7)


System administration commands (normally only for root)


Kernel routines (nonstandard)

Each man page consists of several parts labeled NAME, SYNOPSIS, DESCRIPTION, SEE ALSO, LICENSING, and AUTHOR. There may be additional sections available depending on the type of command.

20.3 Info pages Edit source

Info pages are another important source of information on your system. normally, they are more detailed than man pages. They consist of more than command line options and contain sometimes whole tutorials or reference documentation. To view the info page for a certain command, enter info followed by the name of the command, for example, info ls. You can browse an info page with a viewer directly in the shell and display the different sections, called nodes. Use Space to move forward and <— to move backward. Within a node, you can also browse with Page ↑ and Page ↓ but only Space and <— takes you also to the previous or subsequent node. Press Q to end the viewing mode. Not every command comes with an info page and vice versa.

20.4 Online resources Edit source

For an overview of all documentation available for openSUSE Leap check out the product-specific documentation Web pages at https://doc.opensuse.org/.

If you are searching for additional product-related information, you can also refer to the following Web sites:

User community

openSUSE Forums

GNOME documentation

Documentation for GNOME users, administrators and developers is available at https://help.gnome.org/.

The Linux documentation project

The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) is run by a team of volunteers who write Linux-related documentation (see https://tldp.org/). It is a comprehensive documentation resource for Linux. The set of documents contains tutorials for beginners, but is mainly focused on experienced users and professional system administrators. TLDP publishes HOWTOs, FAQs and guides (handbooks) under a free license. Parts of the documentation from TLDP are also available on openSUSE Leap.

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