February 18, 2010

I have created a handful of Google Custom Searches over the past couple of years. These are really handy ways of narrowing your search to a particular field, or set of websites.

When I first joined the Ubuntu Community, I found it difficult to comprehensively search Launchpad, and the Forums, and all the wiki’s, etc. So I created the Ubuntu Developer Documentation Search.

The leaders of the Ubuntu Documentation Team found it more effective than the search they were previously using, so I created the search used at the top of the official documentation site,

During the course of my daily development activities as a Canonical Ubuntu Server Developer, Ubuntu Community Member, and Upstream Free Software Maintainer, it is often useful to search for patches, bugs, or documentation in other Linux distributions, such as Debian or Fedora. While I know the available Ubuntu resources very well, I may not necessarily have Gentoo’s bugtracker or Arch’s forums at my fingertips.

Thus, I created!

For each of the seven Linux distributions where I most often find useful developer documentation:

I identified the websites providing their:

  • Documentation, Wikis, Forums, Mailing Lists, Package details/sources, and Bug trackers

Let’s walk through an example…

  1. Search for a term at, such as “ext4 corruption“. The default results are for the entire web, without narrowing the focus. Perhaps you find what you’re looking for.
  2. Next, you can focus your search by choosing one of the 7 distributions, perhaps Fedora. Now, you are only looking at results from Fedora-related websites.
  3. Finally, you can refine your search even further, by only looking at entries from, say Fedora’s Documentation.
  4. Now, if you want to broaden your search once again, you can click any of the links across the top, similar to Google’s home page, searching the Web, Images, Videos, Maps, News, or Shopping. And there’s one bonus that Google doesn’t provide across their top bar — Wikipedia 😉

Or just give it a shot yourself.

There’s also support for a browser plugin. If you click “Install the Browser Search Plugin”, you can add to your search engine tool bar (ctrl-k).

I’m using this tool every day, and it’s very much helping me tread through volumes of disparate Linux documentation resources, track down patches, and correlate bugs. I hope you might find it useful too!


p.s. If there are resources or websites that I missed (as I’m not an expert in any of these distributions besides Ubuntu, please leave a comment below!)


7 Responses to “Introducing!”

  1. Puck Says:

    Hi Dustin.

    Great site there with good features, one thing tho. What about the loco communities. Often when we need to help someone (yes, i know, this is only general help) we do search on google for our own language. This helps us with providing the answer with ease, and maybe link to another post. I do realize there may be only one site usually inside the locos, but some do have a forum and a main site too. Maybe you could get this into consideration (:


  2. Jef Spaleta Says:

    These are all custom Google searches? it would be interesting to see if similarly constructed Bing and Yahoo searches produce results of similar utility.. especially in light of Ubuntu switching to Yahoo for default search and Yahoo getting the greenlight to switch over to Bing for its search infrastructure.


  3. Dustin Kirkland Says:

    Hi Jef-

    Yes, these are all Google Custom Searches.

    Do you know if Yahoo/Bing supports users creating arbitrary custom searches? I thought that was unique to Google…


  4. uC Says:

    To think about since you asked.(opensuse places)

    Thanks for a valuable resource!

  5. Jef Spaleta Says:

    for bing this look comparable to my untrained eye:

    For Yahoo there’s this..but I’m not sure if you can overload it with multiple sites:


  6. Anonymous Says:

    Dude, it’s!

  7. TED SMITH Says:

    Added to my Firefox toolbar 🙂 Sweet.

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