Applies to openSUSE Leap 15.0

16 Help and Documentation

openSUSE® Leap comes with various sources of information and documentation, many of which are already integrated into your installed system.

Documentation in /usr/share/doc

This traditional help directory holds various documentation files and release notes for your system. It contains also information of installed packages in the subdirectory packages. Find more detailed information in Section 16.1, “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 16.2, “Man Pages” and Section 16.3, “Info Pages”.

Desktop Help Center

The help center of the GNOME desktop (Help) provides central access to the most important documentation resources on your system in searchable form. These resources include online help for installed applications, man pages, info pages, and the SUSE manuals delivered with your product.

Separate Help Packages for Some Applications

When installing new software with YaST, the software documentation is usually installed automatically and appears in the help center of your desktop. However, some 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.

16.1 Documentation Directory

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

Note
Note: Contents Depends on Installed Packages

In the Linux world, many 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/docs 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.

16.1.1 SUSE Manuals

We provide HTML and PDF versions of our books in different languages. In the manual subdirectory, find HTML versions of most of the SUSE manuals available for your product. For an overview of all documentation available for your product refer to the preface of the manuals.

If more than one language is installed, /usr/share/doc/manual may contain different language versions of the manuals. The HTML versions of the SUSE manuals are also available in the help center of both desktops. For information on where to find the PDF and HTML versions of the books on your installation media, refer to the 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/.

16.1.2 Package Documentation

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 might only include a few of them.

AUTHORS

List of the main developers.

BUGS

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

CHANGES , ChangeLog

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

COPYING , LICENSE

Licensing information.

FAQ

Question and answers collected from mailing lists or newsgroups.

INSTALL

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.

README, README.*

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

TODO

Things that are not implemented yet, but probably will be in the future.

MANIFEST

List of files with a brief summary.

NEWS

Description of what is new in this version.

16.2 Man Pages

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 16.1, “Man Pages—Categories and Descriptions” (taken from the man page for man itself).

Table 16.1: Man Pages—Categories and Descriptions

Number

Description

1

Executable programs or shell commands

2

System calls (functions provided by the kernel)

3

Library calls (functions within program libraries)

4

Special files (usually found in /dev)

5

File formats and conventions (/etc/fstab)

6

Games

7

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

8

System administration commands (usually only for root)

9

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.

16.3 Info Pages

Info pages are another important source of information on your system. Usually, 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 <— will take 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.

16.4 Online Resources

In addition to the online versions of the SUSE manuals installed under /usr/share/doc, you can also access the product-specific manuals and documentation on the Web. For an overview of all documentation available for openSUSE Leap check out your product-specific documentation Web page at http:/doc.opensuse.org/.

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

SUSE Forums

There are several forums where you can dive in on discussions about SUSE products. See http://forums.opensuse.org/ for a list.

GNOME Documentation

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

The Linux Documentation Project

The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) is run by a team of volunteers who write Linux-related documentation (see http://www.tldp.org). It is probably the most 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.

You can also try general-purpose search engines. For example, use the search terms Linux CD-RW help or OpenOffice file conversion problem if you have trouble with burning CDs or LibreOffice file conversion.

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