If you have been using Linux for a while, chances are that you might have encounter some kind of error or you might need help with some particular type of program/command or you might need to know about topics like ACPI or APM.

If a quick Internet search (Google, Yahoo, etc) does not help you to find answers to your problems then here are some tips that may be useful to you in resolving your issue:

1. Manual Pages

Read man (manual pages). If you really want to learn about a command/tool then your first shot should be to read man pages. Suppose you want to learn about a tool called ‘apt-proxy’, just give the following command:
man apt-proxy
Also, there are examples (in most of the man pages) about the typical usage of the tool. Moreover, at the end of the pages, you will find something like “SEE ALSO”. Make sure you read those. They generally point to any configuration file that is used to configure the tool. For example, in this case, it is ‘apt-proxy.conf’ file. You can read the manual for it by issuing the command:
# man apt-proxy.conf

2. User Documentation

Another source of good documentation is the ‘/usr/share/doc’ directory. Whenever you install a package, any documentation that comes with the package is installed in there. For example, the documentation for the package ‘apt-proxy’ can be found here:
# ls /usr/share/doc/apt-proxy/
changelog.Debian.gz copyright HISTORY offline-tips README.gz TODO.gz UPGRADING

I think these are one of the most valuable hidden documentation that people generally forget to read. Many times it has personal notes/examples from Authors itself (see the file ‘offline-tips’ above). Also reference to documentation here is no where mentioned in the manual pages of that package.

3. Kernel Documentation

Suppose if you are looking for some information/theory or background on a particular topic, say for example like ACPI, AGP, DMA, VESA, etc. then the Documentation in the kernel source directory, ‘debian:/usr/src/linux-source-2.6.24/Documentation#’ is the way to go. This directory has wide range of topics and has some good examples. I would say that if you really want to have a strong grasp over Linux Kernel (theory) then I highly recommend to read topics in that.

Moreover, the documentation also gives useful hints as to where to look for help for a particular topic.

4. Ask Forums

If 1,2 and 3 above are not able to solve your problems, then I think it might be a good idea to register with some of the Linux Forums and ask your questions there.

I personally use LinxuQuestions and I have to tell that I have been quite impressed by it’s members and their knowledge and support.

5. Bug Report

Lastly, if any of the above is not able to solve your problem, then I think you should file a bug report (if possible technically) or get in touch with the author of the package or the particular topic that you are having problem with.

If you did go through 1-5 steps above, then mostly likely your problem should get solved or at least you may have find a direction or a next steep to proceed to.

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