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Upgrading to F15 I've really taken a bite of the Linux apple. I'm customizing my desktop environment more than I did under F11. I've added encryption. And since my laptop is a several years old, its behind the hardware curve and does not support Gnome3.

I'm discovering packages mentioned at SuperUser and in other forums without man files (Ex, gnome-tweak-tool). And, --help will give options, but no examples. And neither explains how to best use the package or what it replaces, or why its necessary.

Is there another level of documentation I am missing? I'm not CS, so I always think I'm missed a class. (>_<) Should I look for the owner/maintainer on some place like github? Or whatever place people use for Fedora?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a common problem, as developers tend to see time spent writing documentation as productive coding time going down the drain.

There's a handful of things you can do:

First, look for other documentation - it's possible that the package has documentation, just not a manpage. Check /usr/share/doc, there may be a text file there with documentation. Also check the info command, if it's installed, it could have documentation as well. Finally, seek out the developer's web site, and try searching google. If all this fails, it's a reasonable conclusion that the documentation doesn't exist, at least not in a easily used form.

There's still something you can do - find the appropriate mailing lists associated with the project, and ask questions. Make a point to demonstrate you've already tried to find the answers and couldn't, and chances are people there will help you.

For bonus points, and serious geek cred, use the information gained through this process to write better documentation and submit it back to the developer. This will help other users that are in the same position as you.

Also, in your specific case, at least illustrates the use of the program and is the source code repository (another place for a last-ditch effort to scour for documentation).

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"write better documentation" I like the way you think. I asked for instructions to edit man pages at FedoraForums a bit ago. I believe you're on the the spirit of my question, too. My searches turn up more forum posts then documentation. Its especially frustrating between the different distros as there seems a lot more info on whatever Im not useing (>_<) – xtian Jul 17 '11 at 20:36

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