|Ubuntu Linux for non-geeks|
|publisher||No Starch Press|
|summary||A very good book targeted at newbies for installing and configuring Ubuntu Linux|
I recently came across a very nice book titled "Ubuntu Linux for non-geeks" authored by Rickford Grant and published by No Starch Press. What attracted me to this book was the obvious title which makes no bones about the fact that this book is targeted at non-geeks.
The book is divided into 18 chapters and 3 appendices spanning over 300 pages. The author starts the narration by imparting a good understanding of the history of Linux and the relationship between Ubuntu and Linux. In this chapter, the author clears a few doubts arising in a lay person's mind about Linux such as the difference between a distribution and an OS, the hardware requirements for running Ubuntu and so on.
In the past, I have seen Linux books using well over 50 pages just to explain the installation process but Ubuntu is famed for its simple 6 step installation. The next chapter is a very short one which gives a good illustrated explanation of the steps needed to boot Ubuntu using the latest version of Ubuntu live CD (included with the book) and install the OS on the hard disk.
The third chapter explores many common features of the Gnome desktop which is the default desktop in Ubuntu. Here the readers are introduced to different aspects of the desktop from the panels, the menus, the applets to the steps for customizing.
One thing I really like about this book is the obvious way in which each task is split into separate chapters. For example, you have a chapter explaining the file and disk management , a chapter which explains how to set up the network and log on to the internet, another for setting up your printer and scanner, still another explaining different ways of downloading and installing software and so on.
I especially liked the 8th chapter titled "Getting to know the Linux terminal and command line", where the author introduces the shell and a number of command line tools to the readers. What I found really interesting was that at the end of the chapter, the author walks you through installing and configuring so you get to try out all the commands introduced earlier.
In the 11th chapter, the author explains how to make the fonts on the Ubuntu machine look prettier and the steps needed to install different kinds of additional fonts such as Microsoft true type fonts.
Ubuntu Linux bundles with it a rich set of applications which more than meets the need of an average home user. The 13th and 14th chapter introduces some of the most popular ones such as office suites, image viewers and so on.
The next three chapters deal exclusively in setting up and configuring audio and video in Ubuntu. Considering that some of the audio/video formats are patented, it is not possible to include support for them by default in Linux. Rather, it is up to the user to get these proprietary audio and video formats to work in Linux. And through these chapters, the author explains all that needs to be done to get all audio and video formats to work in Ubuntu.
The appendix also contain a section where the author gives a list of web resources where one can find more information related to Linux — more specifically Ubuntu Linux.
This very nice book on Ubuntu Linux is clearly targeted at the neophytes who wish to take their first steps in installing and using Ubuntu. The author explains in a step-by-step manner the solutions to the problems that one might face in installing, configuring and using Ubuntu Linux.
If you are a person who has installed and used Linux in the past, this book probably doesn't cover anything new to you. Having said that, it could be an ideal gift for your grandparents, parents or even friends who wish to learn to setup and use Linux. Another positive aspect of the book which attracted me was that the narration was surprisingly devoid of any slang. One of the common mistakes that authors make when writing a book targeted at newbies is treating them like idiots and introducing a lot of slang in the narration, but Rickford Grant has stayed clear of this and his language is clear and lucid.
Ravi Kumar is a Linux enthusiast who likes to share his thoughts on all things related to GNU/Linux through his blog All about Linux.
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