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Newbie Questions

I'm new to Linux/Unix - still trying to decide which distribution to
go for in fact.

I've downloaded and installed the Debian base system (boot, drivers
and five base disks) to a laptop with no problems. I'd think that
installing the MAN pages would be a logical next step in my learning
curve, but how? Do they need to be installed as a package? Correct me
if I'm wrong but they _seem_ to be already there as part of the base
system, gzipped in /usr/man/man1 thru /usr/man/man8. If this is so,
how do I use them? I could easily gunzip the files in these
directories, but I can't find an actual 'man' executable file.
I'd also appreciate a brief explanation of the Debian releases. The
ftp site I used, sunsite.doc.ic.ac.uk, has directories 'stable',
'1.3.1', '1.3.1.r6', and 'bo', which with my scant understanding of
Unix all appear to be pointing to the same place. Furthermore the
'disks-i386' directory contains both 'current' and '1997-10-13'.
What's this mess all about, and what does 'bo' mean anyway? A brief
explanatory readme in these directories would be reasonable wouldn't
it, given that ftp is often ones first encounter with a Linux release?

Trivial questions at this early stage, but I'd greatly appreciate any
help. I should also say that this is probably the most helpful mailing
list I've ever read (which could be down to Debian's reluctance to
provide 'absolute beginner' help).

Many thanks in advance,

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