Which Linux Distro has the Best Documentation?

Which distro do you think has the best documentation? Now, I know some Arch fans will jump into gear for the Arch Wiki but this question has a bit more nuance.

let’s make it a 2 part question:

  1. which distros have the best documentation for technical value?
  2. which distros have the best documentation for the average users?

Probably the biggest issue I have with Linux altogether. As someone who has migrated several hundred people at a time for business, and several groups of people in a community to Linux, documentation along with the Linux Ecosystem is fragmented.

“Google-ing” a question, is a problem in and of itself. New users very rarely would enter “X Distro Documentation” in a search field. For someone who does not know how to ask the question, this leads you in to a rabbit hole you wish you never entered. Search results can bring up replies on mailing list, old forums post and guides dating back a decade two. this is VERY confusing.

One startling moment for me was hearing Things newbie say :
“I tried to follow the Ubuntu documentation for X application on Fedora but I couldn’t find the directory they referenced?”

“Hey! while the Arch documentation was very detailed, I couldn’t follow it for that Fedora you installed, I thought all Linux is Linux ?!”

“Where is their documentation?!”

I think distros shoulod package their documentation on the installer and have their search feature on their DE’s easily bring up their docs when needed by higlighting certain key words. i.e “kernel, boot, grub, packages, files, explorer etc.”

RHEL and Arch possibly naming the more niche distros like Gentoo and VOID would be ok, considering the install process.

Fedora ( very recently had a push to modernize their docs ),

Arch I think probably has the best technical documentation. It’s fully readable, and frequently covers the how in a way that makes it easy to apply the knowledge to different distros

I think Fedora probably has the best user friendly documentation, though Garuda is going to get there one day I think.

Very difficult. I could even say none but that would do injustice to all the volunteers putting some documentation out.

I usually use the Arch Wiki, Debian Wiki and lastly the Ubuntu documentation, in that order.
Most of the other distributions have outdated or incomplete documentation, especially niche distros.

You hit a nail on the head. We’re so used to searching for info on the web, and, I guess, we blindly assume that what we find is good and current info. (I was about to make a comment about OpenOffice, but they seem to have had a release in Oct. of this year. Didn’t know they’re still doing things.)

I run Fedora 35, and quite honestly, I haven’t even tried to find Fedora provided documentation. So far The Duck has quacked and provided all the info I needed. As far as I remember no info on Fedora hosted sites, though.

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I would say that I truly use openSUSE documentation for most of my issues. I also find that it gets updated pretty frequently as things change… I should know… cuz I do my best to keep it updated as software progresses. Outside of that, I would say Arch Wiki is great but the information is often to general so I take the less specific problem solving there and distill it down to something more usable on the openSUSE wiki, when the opportunity arises.

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I had a user call me about a forum post on Linuxquestions dating back to 2008. . . Not the only one though.

Software goes in and out of development, OpenOffice is a prime example of this.

As a long time Fedora user here, I can assure you that the documentation was hard to get to and not new user friendly as of a couple releases ago (Maybe 31+?!) The forums were revamped as well. Since then, the docs are better and they appear to have continuity now.

I really like the landing page for the docs. Prior to all this, I did a review of the docs for severeal Distros.

I checked the Ubuntu docs landing page. . . It screams “Here are our paid customer docs.” All the way at the bottoms (several rows down) is the desktop tab which leads to another page about the desktop.

Honestly, The page can be better set, it leaves much to be desired.

If I was starting all over, had a drive to learn and explore and not just “get work done”, I would use Arco Linux. They are education focused and the documentation matches that goal. Noah talked about this project 3+ years ago and I haven’t looked for it since seeing this thread pop up. I think Linux documentation is crucial and most of it is geared towards the experienced user rather than the general population.

I feel like for the most part documentation is good enough and most people have quirks that require a google search.

I think documentation on technology, like docker, is super important too. LSIO has great documentation and keeps it up to date (which is the most important thing IMO).

I actually had a small hobby cast that focused on documentation.

I actually rarely look at district docs and typically go straight for the forums. Maybe it’s time I revisit that. I installed Fedora 35 on my machine this week and others have mentioned that they have good documentation.

Not Linux but it older brother: FreeBSD :slight_smile:

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I’m not really answering to the questions here, but to me the best documented distribution has been Linux Mint. It is so intuitive and self-explanatory that it writes its own documentation without words. It’s all transmitted to me like by some magic. The official documentations are usually not available in smaller languages. This used to be a problem to me but I have learned past it.

MX puts a manual and FAQ right on the desktop. the manual is good for not just MX’s basics, but some linux basics as well. machine translated into 12 languages.

after that, debian wiki, and arch wiki are my go-tos.


MX DOES have fantastic documentation.

FreeBSD has the best “Handbook” Documentation

OpenBSD has the best “ManPage” Documentation

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No matter what distro I seem to be on, anytime I am searching for something one place always seems to pop up and that is the arch wiki. I don’t always understand what it is talking about, or it may be a bit abstract sometimes, but it always at least points me in the right direction. It is really helpful when using arch, but it helps when on non-arch distros as well.

A perfect example of the good and the bad of the Arch wiki would be the installation page. Its starts out really good and then about halfway through the process it gets really vague as to what you need to do for a particular part or at the very least doesn’t tell you that you might want to install particular parts like there should be somewhere on it that tells you that it would be a good idea to install DHCP and that if you don’t, you won’t be able to install the rest of your system once you reboot into your new installation.

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