Linux for Starters: Your Guide to Linux – Getting Help – Part 11

Last Updated on May 22, 2022

This series offers a gentle introduction to Linux for newcomers.

This article explains the main ways you can get help direct from your new Ubuntu system. This is best used in conjunction with help from other sources such as friends, colleagues, forums, and other sources of information.

Most of the help facilities are already present on your Ubuntu system with the exception of tldr. But we’ll cover everything you need.

Let’s first start with the Ubuntu Desktop Guide.

Ubuntu Desktop Guide

Linux for Starters - Ubuntu Desktop Guide launchWhile Ubuntu is easy to use and learn, it’s different in many ways to Windows. Inevitably, you’ll need some help at times before you start mastering your new system. We gave a brief overview of how to navigate the desktop in Part 6 of this series. But there’s so much more to learn than we can comprehensively cover in this series.

When you boot into the desktop, there’s help immediately to hand.

On the left hand side of the desktop resides the dash. As you’ll recall, this is home to your favorite and running applications. There’s a series of icons offering quick access to launching software.

You’ll see that the bottom icon has the appearance of a question mark. A left mouse click on this icon launches the Ubuntu Desktop Guide. This guide gives you a tour of Ubuntu desktop features, answers your computer-related questions, and provides tips on using your computer effectively.

Linux for Starters - Desktop Guide
Click image for full size
  • The guide is divided into small, task-oriented topics – not chapters. This has the benefit that you’ll find answers to your questions quickly instead of wading through an entire manual.
  • Related items are linked together. “See Also” links at the bottom of some pages direct you to related topics.
  • The text input box at the top of this guide acts as a search bar, and relevant results will appear beneath it as soon as you start typing. Left-click on any result to open its page.

In the top bar of the Ubuntu Desktop window there’s an icon with three horizontal bars. This offers convenient access to a wider set of Help Documents. There’s help on various GNOME programs, together with other invaluable information such as the well-written GNOME System Administration Guide.

Let’s explore another useful resource: “Manual Pages” (Man Pages).

Page 2 – Man Pages

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Ubuntu Desktop Guide
Page 2 – Man Pages
Page 3 – tldr
Page 4 – Other commands: whatis, apropos, info, command options

All articles in this series:

Linux For Starters: Your Guide to Linux
1What is Linux? Why use Linux? What do I need?
2Choose a Linux distribution meeting your specific needs and requirements.
3Make a bootable Ubuntu USB stick in Windows.
4We show you how to install Ubuntu 21.04 on your hard disk.
5Things to do after installing Ubuntu.
6Navigating your way around the Desktop.
7Updating the system, install new software.
8Open source replacements for proprietary Windows desktop software.
9Get started with the power and flexibility of the terminal.
10We cover the basics of files and permissions.
11Getting help from your system.
12Learn all about the file system.
13Manipulating files from the shell.
14Maintain your system with these simple tips.
15Managing users on your system.
16Explore different desktops to GNOME 3.
17Gaming on Linux.
18Protect your privacy with this guide.
19Access the Windows desktop from Linux using a remote desktop client.
20Set up a virtual machine running Ubuntu as the host and openSUSE as the guest.
21Wine lets you run Windows programs on Linux without emulation.
22Extend your GNOME desktop with extensions and themes.
XUseful Linux commands.
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2 years ago

tldr is definitely worth installing. The man pages are often impenetrable to me. As you say Steve, listing every option without any order of importance is baffling to a beginner.

it has over 33,000 stars on GitHub

Jumbo Cod
Jumbo Cod
2 years ago

I suggest you take a look at explainshell

2 years ago
Reply to  Jumbo Cod

Great call