Chapter 6. More information on Debian GNU/Linux

Table of Contents

6.1. Further reading
6.2. Getting help
6.2.1. Mailing lists
6.2.2. Internet Relay Chat
6.3. Reporting bugs
6.4. Contributing to Debian

6.1. Further reading

Beyond these release notes and the installation guide, further documentation on Debian GNU/Linux is available from the Debian Documentation Project (DDP), whose goal is to create high-quality documentation for Debian users and developers. Documentation, including the Debian Reference, Debian New Maintainers Guide, and Debian FAQ are available, and many more. For full details of the existing resources see the Debian Documentation website and the Debian Wiki website

Documentation for individual packages is installed into /usr/share/doc/package. This may include copyright information, Debian specific details and any upstream documentation.

6.2. Getting help

There are many sources of help, advice and support for Debian users, but these should only be considered if research into documentation of the issue has exhausted all sources. This section provides a short introduction into these which may be helpful for new Debian users.

6.2.1. Mailing lists

The mailing lists of most interest to Debian users are the debian-user list (English) and other debian-user-language lists (for other languages). For information on these lists and details of how to subscribe see http://lists.debian.org/. Please check the archives for answers to your question prior to posting and also adhere to standard list etiquette.

6.2.2. Internet Relay Chat

Debian has an IRC channel dedicated to the support and aid of Debian users located on the OFTC IRC network. To access the channel, point your favorite IRC client at irc.debian.org and join #debian.

Please follow the channel guidelines, respecting other users fully. The guidelines are available at the Debian Wiki.

For more information on OFTC please visit the website.

6.3. Reporting bugs

We strive to make Debian GNU/Linux a high quality operating system, however that does not mean that the packages we provide are totally free of bugs. Consistent with Debian's open development philosophy and as a service to our users, we provide all the information on reported bugs at our own Bug Tracking System (BTS). The BTS is browseable at http://bugs.debian.org/.

If you find a bug in the distribution or in packaged software that is part of it, please report it so that it can be properly fixed for future releases. Reporting bugs requires a valid email address. We ask for this so that we can trace bugs and developers can get in contact with submitters should additional information be needed.

You can submit a bug report using the program reportbug or manually using email. You can read more about the Bug Tracking System and how to use it by reading the reference documentation (available at /usr/share/doc/debian if you have doc-debian installed) or online at the Bug Tracking System.

6.4. Contributing to Debian

You do not need to be an expert to contribute to Debian. By assisting users with problems on the various user support lists you are contributing to the community. Identifying (and also solving) problems related to the development of the distribution by participating on the development lists is also extremely helpful. To maintain Debian's high quality distribution, submit bugs and help developers track them down and fix them. If you have a way with words then you may want to contribute more actively by helping to write documentation or translate existing documentation into your own language.

If you can dedicate more time, you could manage a piece of the Free Software collection within Debian. Especially helpful is if people adopt or maintain items that people have requested for inclusion within Debian. The Work Needing and Prospective Packages database details this information. If you have an interest in specific groups then you may find enjoyment in contributing to some of Debian's subprojects which include ports to particular architectures, Debian Jr. and Debian Med.

In any case, if you are working in the free software community in any way, as a user, programmer, writer or translator you are already helping the free software effort. Contributing is rewarding and fun, and as well as allowing you to meet new people it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.