Debian documentation

Debian is documented in the following ways:

Table of Contents

The Debian website


It is written in WML (Website Markup Language), which is itself available as a Debian package. The website contains authoritative Debian information and is almost always up-to-date. The website is the recommended documentation source for general Debian information.

More information about their website can be found here:

The Debian wiki


The wiki is based on MoinMoin. The wiki is separate from the main website since the website shouldn't be user editable. According to RecentChanges, the wiki is semi-actively edited, averaging 10-15 changes per day.

Manuals, HOWTOs, FAQs

Debian also includes some manuals, HOWTOs, FAQs and other documents.

These documents are usually written in DocBook or debiandoc. The latter is their custom SGML-based documentation format, which can be exported to HTML, LaTeX, DVI, PostScript, PDF, Texinfo, Info, DocBook, plain text (with overstrikes a la troff as well as without).

Some of these documents are quite old, however they still contain lots of useful information. They are the least up to date, with exceptions such as the Debian Policy Manual.

The more important documents are available as packages, for example:

Some information about debiandoc can be found in the debiandoc-sgml package description and in the debiandoc-sgml manual More information about the documents (including the documents themselves) can be found here:

Program documentation

Most programs included in Debian are documented using manpages, info files, and README files in the /usr/share/doc/<package>/ directory. These files are almost always up-to-date and very accurate, and some packages provide a README.Debian file which contains Debian-specific package information. For most packages, their manpages (or info files) and /usr/share/doc/<package> directory are the recommended documentation source.

Debian manpages can be read online here:, and they are also available in the individual packages.