End User Manual:Getting more info (and help!)
The previous chapters have provided a guide on how to use the graphical desktop of a typical Linux system. However, they have just scratched the surface of the features and functions of the Desktop environment and the applications therein. In this section we shall look at the resources available to a user to get more information and help.
Much of the details on how to use and exploit further the software available is available as online documentation on the system itself. (No, you don't have to be connected to the Internet to use online documentation! The term is a holdover from before the internet.) The online documentation is available in two types, the Help from the Main Menu and/or applications and the text-based Unix-style man and info commands.
The Desktop Help can be invoked from the Main Menu,
Main Menu --> Help
Invoking this will display the screen below.
The Help content is divided into several main categories. So you will need to select the appropriate category to view the help content of interest. Most of the information on how to use the Desktop can be found from the Help here. For example, to view the help information on the File Manage, select,
Desktop --> Nautilus File Manager
Help Selection in Applications
Most of the Desktop applications have a Help button in their main menubar at the top. Selecting this will give you more information on how to use the application. The Help screen for the OpenOffice.org Writer application is displayed below.
Man and Info Pages
As discussed in The Shell, from the command line interface using a shell, it is possible to access a comprehensive help system on the commands available via the man and info commands. For example, to find out more on how to use the directory listing command, ls, open up a shell and at the command prompt enter,
$ man ls
More detailed information on certain commands may be found using the info command, e.g.
$ info ls
To learn how to use the man and info commands, make use of these commands themselves e.g.
$ man info $ man man $ info info $ info man
The Internet (WWW)
There is a lot of information available on the WWW on all the software available on the system. These may be classified broadly as follows:
- Websites of specific software projects
- Websites of specific Linux distributions and/or vendors
- General Linux websites
- General Open Source websites
Websites of Specific Software
Below are links to the websites of the software applications discussed in this guide.
GNOME – www.gnome.org KDE – www.kde.org The Freedesktop Project – www.freedesktop.org OpenOffice.org – www.openoffice.org Mozilla – www.mozilla.org Ximian Evolution - www.novell.com/products/evolution/gToaster – gnometoaster.rulez.org Sane - www.sane-project.org XSane – www.xsane.org MPlayer - www.mplayerhq.hu Xine – xinehq.de XMMS - www.xmms.org gThumb – gthumb.sourceforge.net
Linux Distributions and/or Vendors
Links to specific Linux distributions and vendors are listed below. In particular the website Distrowatch should be consulted for information and links to the hundreds of Linux distributions available today.
Fedora Linux – fedora.redhat.com Debian Linux – www.debian.org Slackware Linux – www.slackware.org Redhat Linux – www.redhat.com SuSE Linux – www.suse.com Mandrake Linux – www.linux-mandrake.com ... ... ... many. many, many more ... (for links and information on many Linux and other OSS operating system distributions see the Distrowatch website below) Distrowatch – http://www.distrowatch.org
or see the LQwiki's distributions article.
General Linux Websites
Resources catering to new Linux users can be found in many of the website links below.
- Linux Online – http://www.linux.org
- Linux.com – http://www.linux.com
- Linux Headquarters – http://www.linuxhq.com
- Linxu Today – http://www.linuxtoday.com
- The Linux Documentation Project
- Linuxquestions.org - http://www.linuxquestions.org
- (our parent site)
- The Linux Standard Base Project – http://www.linuxbase.org
- Linux Journal – http://www.linuxjournal.com
- Linux Compatible - http://www.linuxcompatible.org
Free and Open Source Software Websites
In this section, general information on Open Source and Free Software may be obtained as well as news and updates.
- The Open Source Initiative – http://www.opensource.org
- The Free Software Foundation – http://www.fsf.org
- Sourceforge – http://sourceforge.net
- Newsforge – http://www.newsforge.com
- Open Source Development Network – http://www.osdn.com
- International Open Source Network – http://www.iosn.net
- (the original providers of the work this article is based on)
This article is part of the End User Manual, which is based, in whole or in part, on "User Guide to Using the Linux Desktop", by Nah Soo Hoe and Colin Charles. It was released by the copyright holders, the United Nations Development Programme’s Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (UNDP-APDIP), under the terms of the Creative Commons (attribution variant) license. The original can be found here: http://www.iosn.net/training/end-user-manual/ .
The End User Manual is intended for the use of users without prior Linux or PC experience who wish to learn how to use linux. The original authors intended for the User Guide to be as generic as possible, but in some cases, this was not possible. In these cases, Fedora was used as a baseline. All desktop directions use refer to the Gnome desktop. These choices are not intended as an endorsement of these programs.