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I'll probably get lots of flames from this, but anyway,

I'm a newbie who got X up and running a couple of weeks ago and am gradually
getting everything to work, (eg laser printer, sound card, etc) and I really
think that this piece of information is quite useful:

I see (and have written) a great deal of newbie questions about lots of
quite simple things like 'how do I format a floppy?' and 'How do I set up my
bus mouse?' and 'my CD drive doesn't work,' etc.

Some are embarrassed about writing such questions, but everyone replies to
them politely and are happy to help.


Most of these questions are very common, so they are an unnecessary burden
on the network, etc. Also, the answers given are good but you often want
more detail, so...

The HOWTOs and MINI-howtos are here to help. I've been looking through the
/usr/doc/howto on my Debian 1.3.1 machine, and most of the questions I first
asked on this list were answered in great detail, not only were the
questions I had already asked been answered, but the answers were explained
in detail too, which I feel is very important for a new user (because it has
been important and beneficial to me).

A brilliant one was the DOS-to-linux HOWTO, which described the linux
alternatives to DOS commands such as how to format a floppy.

You can find them on a debian ftp site, or on a distribution CD if you have

just go into dselect and choose to install 'doc-debian' and 'doc-linux'.

You may already have them installed on your system: you should find them at


There's a HOWTO (or mini-HOWTO, I can't remember) that has a list and short
explanation of all the current HOWTOs and mini-HOWTOs available. It's either
in '/usr/doc/HOWTO', or /usr/doc/HOWTO/mini

There's also some mini-HOWTOs which describe processes like setting up a
bus-mouse or sound card. They are in '/usr/doc/HOWTO/mini'

I just thought that this was worth mentioning,


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