This is just wrong. Do you mean the FreeCAD wiki? Please provide the link to the wiki page that advises of this, so I can scrub it.
Sorry to take so long getting back on this - life is full... I needed to make the time to go back and chase the links through the wiki so I could tell you where I found the info...
The getting started page https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Getting ... Installing
Points at the download and installing pages - it seems to say there is a .deb package...
First of all, download and install FreeCAD. See the Download page for information on current versions and updates, and the Installing page for installation instructions. There are install packages ready for Windows (.msi), Debian and Ubuntu (.deb), openSUSE (.rpm), and Mac OSX. FreeCAD is available from the package managers of many other Linux distributions. A standalone AppImage executable is also available, which will run on most recent 64-bit Linux systems. As FreeCAD is open-source, you can also grab the source code and compile it yourself.
The Download page https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Download
only shows the appimage. It cautions about out of date repositories, but also points at the 'Install on Unix' page.
Notes for GNU/Linux users
FreeCAD can be installed from most Linux distributions official repositories, but the version they provide might be quite dated and be missing many features. Instead you can download the linked AppImage above, mark it as executable and launch it without installation. Please see the Install on Unix page for more installation options, including how to get up-to-date packages for Ubuntu and derivatives.
The Installing page https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Installing
has a graphic link that takes you to the 'Install on Unix' page
Choose Your Operating System
FreeCAD is a truly multi-platform application, developed with the world-renowned Qt framework. This means FreeCAD looks and acts the same on Windows, Linux and Mac. However, the installation procedure is a little different for each operating system. Choose your operating system for details on installing FreeCAD.
'Windows' 'Linux' 'Mac'
Install on Windows Install on Linux/Unix Install on Mac
The 'Install on Unix' page https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Install_on_Unix
has two references to installing on Debian. The first just says to use apt-get to pull from the repositories -
Debian and other debian-based systems
Since Debian Lenny, FreeCAD is available directly from the Debian software repositories and can be installed via synaptic or simply with:
sudo apt-get install freecad
As I said in my first message, doing this in Stretch gets 0.16, not 0.17.... So I went further down the page, and found section 7.1 that says there is a .deb file - there is a link back to the Download page, which only has the Appimage, a graphic which starts a download of the appimage, and a link to the Ubuntu launchpad page....
I could be very wrong, but the instructions on how to add the launchpad PPA to the Ubuntu sources list and then install the latest version look almost exactly like what I've seen for installing .debs of other packages - Since the Ubuntu is a Debian derivative, I'd suspect that the Ubuntu .deb would also install on Debian... I just don't know how to add an Ubuntu PPA to the Debian Sources list...
It is somewhat of a moot point for me at this point, since I have now updated to Buster, and got 0.17 that way, (thanks again for the help) but hope this will help get the documentation better for other users...
Manual install on .deb based systems
If for some reason you cannot use one of the above methods, you can always download one of the .deb packages available on the Download page.
Linux.png Ubuntu 32/64bit AppImage-logo.png AppImage 64bit
Once you downloaded the .deb corresponding to your system version, if you have the Gdebi package installed (usually it is), you just need to navigate to where you downloaded the file, and double-click on it. The necessary dependencies will be taken care of automatically by your system package manager. Alternatively you can also install it from the terminal, navigating to where you downloaded the file, and type:
sudo dpkg -i Name_of_your_FreeCAD_package.deb
changing Name_of_your_FreeCAD_package.deb by the name of the file you downloaded.
After you installed FreeCAD, a startup icon will be added in the "Graphic" section of your Start Menu.