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Beginning Ubuntu Linux 204

Ravi writes "Anybody who have heard about Linux would be aware of Ubuntu which is a very popular flavor of Linux created by the South African firm Canonical founded by the space tourist Mark Shuttleworth. In fact, they set the precedent of supplying free CDs of this very popular OS to any one interested in installing and trying out Linux on their machine. Recently, I got hold of this wonderful book named "Beginning Ubuntu Linux - From Novice to Professional" authored by Kier Thomas. Being a Ubuntu user myself, I was pleased to see a Linux book specifically concentrating on Ubuntu, finding its way to the book stores. This book is aimed at people who are new to Linux and who wish to start their Linux journey by installing Ubuntu on their machines. Read the rest of Ravi's review.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux - From Novice to Professional
author Keir Thomas
pages 600
publisher APress
rating 9/10
reviewer Ravi Kumar
ISBN 978-1-59059-627-2
summary A good book targeted at neophytes in Linux who wish to install and use Ubuntu on their machines

The book's 600 pages are divided into 7 parts each concentrating on a particular topic. And there are in total, 34 chapters and 4 appendices.

The first part of the book concentrates on giving a firm foundation to the readers as to what Linux is all about, its history and the benefits of using Linux over any other operating system.

From here, the author moves into explaining how to install Ubuntu on ones machine which forms the basis for the second part of this book. This part is divided into 3 chapters, one each dealing in pre-installation steps like partitioning ones hard disk, the actual installation steps and the equally important part of the most common issues faced by users before, during and after the installation and their solutions. In fact, the author lists over 18 problems that any user could encounter and gives their possible solutions.

The third part of the book which contains 6 chapters focuses on giving a fly-by tour of different aspects of Ubuntu Desktop, its various elements like menus, panels, virtual desktops and applets. I especially liked the section which listed the Microsoft Windows desktop functions and their equivalents found in Ubuntu. There is a special chapter titled "Ubuntu replacements for Windows programs" which could be an eye opener for any one interested in embracing Linux. In fact, the whole book is geared towards neophytes who are hoping to take their first steps in Linux.

Part 4 aptly named - "The Shell and Beyond" - contains 5 chapters where the author gives a sound introduction to the shell in Linux as well as takes the reader through the most useful and commonly used commands which would help a user save time. This part of the book contains a chapter on the Bash shell where the author explains the uses of the command line and how one can benefit from it. I really liked the table giving the DOS commands and their equivalents in Linux and also the section on how to disable the graphical desktop and boot into the console. And surprisingly the author explains how to do it the command line way which I found really interesting. This section is full of useful tips for people who have an affinity for the command line - like creating aliases, getting more help on the command usage, the file hierarchy in Ubuntu, file permissions and much more. The icing on the cake is the chapter named - "Cool Shell Tricks" - which contains many command line gymnastics that showcase the true power of the console in Linux. But what is amazing is that the author explains all these topics in a very simple and lucid manner which makes it easy for even a lay person to understand.

The fifth part of the book deals entirely with the topic of digital music, movies and image editing and is spread over 3 chapters. Here one gets to know the various software used to play different media formats as well as an introduction to the fine art of image manipulation using Gimp. One of the biggest drawbacks for Linux users is the lack of out-of-the-box support for popular media formats due to license restrictions. The author explains how one can enable the media players bundled with Ubuntu to play most of these media files including the ever popular mp3. By going through the chapters in this section, one gets to know more about the different audio and video formats which could be an eye opener for any tech neophyte.

What is the use of a desktop if it does not suit an office setup right? The next section comprising of 8 chapters cover how one can use Ubuntu at one's work place. The author takes the users on a trip of using OpenOffice.org office suite to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations as well as configuring an email client to send and receive emails. The last chapter in this section is exclusively dedicated to installing and running Microsoft Office in Ubuntu using Wine.

Till now if the book was dedicated more or less to new users of Linux, then in the seventh and final part of this book, the experts among us have something to look forward too. This part of the book covers the finer nuances of maintaining the Ubuntu system which includes installing and updating software, managing users and groups, ways of backing up data, and most interesting of all, steps to make the system more responsive which includes disabling unnecessary services, optimizing the hard disk, the concept of prelinking and much more.

The inclusion of 4 appendices which contain among others a glossary of Linux terms, the bash shell command index, information on getting further help online as well as a synopsis of the different flavors of Ubuntu makes this book a perfect guide for new users in Linux.

Having said that, even though at first glance, a person who is well versed in Linux might be tempted to pass it on as a book for newbies; on close scrutiny, one will find interesting nuggets and tips which even an expert would not have known. One example of this is the part where the author explains how one can configure Ubuntu to communicate and transfer data with one's bluetooth enabled cell phone. And it is to the authors credit that all these technical topics are explained in clear and simple language. The book is interspersed with images and screen shots making it easier to visualize the steps being explained. All in all a good book which is both informative and entertaining at the same time, and which would appeal to anybody interested in installing and using Ubuntu Linux on ones machine.

The author, Keir Thomas has been writing about computers, operating systems,and software for a decade. He has edited several best-selling computer magazines, including LinuxUser & Developer, PC Utilities, and PC Extreme, and worked as part of the editorial staff on a range of other titles. He was formerly Technical Group Editor at Live Publishing. Throughout Keir's career, his aim has been to explain advanced and confusing technology in ways that the average person can understand. Keir works as a freelance editor and writer. He lives on the side of a mountain in England, and his pastimes include hiking and playing musical instruments.

Ravi Kumar is passionate about all things related to Linux and likes to share his experiences through his blog on Linux."

You can purchase Beginning Ubuntu Linux - From Novice to Professional from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Beginning Ubuntu Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Canonical isn't a South African company. It's a Manx company. Or a British one at a stretch.
    • by dustinl4m3 ( 460530 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:41PM (#15019494) Homepage
      Canonical is a global organisation headquartered in the Isle of Man, with employees throughout Europe, North America, South America and Australia. http://www.canonical.com/ [canonical.com]

      Many people who have never been to the Isle of Man are not sure exactly where it is! The answer is that it lies in the Irish Sea, between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, less than 60 miles west of the Lancashire coastline http://www.isleofman.com/about/ [isleofman.com]

    • by tpgp ( 48001 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:48PM (#15019561) Homepage
      Canonical isn't a South African company. It's a Manx company. Or a British one at a stretch.

      For those who are wondering what the hell AC is talking about (I know I was):

      1) Manx means 'native of isle of man' (Like the cats)
      2) Isle of Man is an Island between the British Mainland & Ireland - its neither part of the UK or the EU & certainly not british (although Britain represents them to some extent)
      3) Canonical is registered as a company there.

      I'll leave it the reader to judge whether Canonical (founded by a South African, employing people all over the world, with a heavy South African presence, but registered in a tax haven) is South African or Manx.
  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:34PM (#15019440)
    Taken from the site [ubuntu.com]:
    "Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are".
    My favorite meaning comes from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
    "a person is a person through other persons"
    To me, it gets at the root that concepts of self and other are fairly arbitrary. It often makes more sense thinging about who I am in the context of family, work, and society.
    • a person is a person through other persons

      Ooh! Ohh, ooh! Cue the Randroid flamers!

    • The problem is many people see that as being "communist" or "hippie"

      I know two managers who found the meaning of ubuntu and immediately demanded a de-install of all linux systems.

      This is not what is needed. Maybe not for the USA.

      I think call it "Ubuntu" for the rest of the world and "Individual" for the USA. or "Freedom".
    • Biggest Complaint (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by XanC ( 644172 )
      That's my biggest complaint about Ubuntu: the name is so stupid. What a load of touchy-feely crap! At least other Free Software names are either random, or named for somebody, or are just there to sound cool. People understand that.

      But try to tell people that they don't mean anything individually, and inundate them with flower-smelling, pot-smoking hippy crap, right in the title of the OS, and they don't go for it.

    • Reminds me of Pirsig's rants in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance about "subject-object duality". Its right in the root of our language. I am me, as seprate from us and them.

      I never really exists sepratly from anything else though. What is my keyboard? My finger comes down and intersects a peice of plastic... there is an edge where the keyboard ends and the free space begins...

      The keyboard is not the edge, it is not the free space above it, but it never exists as a seprate entity from those things.
      • Or as one talk in some other book noted (I think it was "the 3 pillars of zen"), everything we see is just the mental representation of visual input. We don't see a chair, our eyes detect the patterns of light bouncing off the chair, and what we experience is a mental composite of that image and our thoughts and ideas about chairs. In essense, what we experience isn't the chair, but our own mental image of a chair. Fundamentally every experience is not external but internal, the chair that we see is actuall

        • I don't see it as a debate so much as a statement of fact about how things work. Its not a denial of an external world, its a denial of objective experience.

          All experience of the objective world is subjective. Sure, there are many times when that distinction is unimportant, however, our thoughts and ideas are products of the internal subjective world. Sometimes, it is useful to remember that.

    • To me, it gets at the root that concepts of self and other are fairly arbitrary. It often makes more sense thinging about who I am in the context of family, work, and society.

      Not completely arbitrary. If asked, "Where are you?" you can answer "So-and-so from that other point." If they ask "Where is that other point?" you can say "So and so from where I am." It is circular. It is no different from saying "I yam what I yam." True, but devoid of really useful content.

      However, I do agree that we are not 10
    • To me, it gets at the root that concepts of self and other are fairly arbitrary. It often makes more sense thinging about who I am in the context of family, work, and society.

      Thats interesting. Seriously, becuase I really dont think about that. For me, it often makes more sense thinking about who I am in the context of my personal accomplishments and failures, dreams and aspirations, and all of my past experiences. Family and Society only come in loosely, but dont really affect how I think about myself.

      • "For me, it often makes more sense thinking about who I am in the context of my personal accomplishments and failures, dreams and aspirations, and all of my past experiences. Family and Society only come in loosely, but dont really affect how I think about myself."

        "L'enfer, c'est les autres." (Hell is other people) - Jean Paul Sartre

        I think he used a Mac. 8^)

    • "Ubuntu is what Ubuntu is because of what Windows is"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:24PM (#15019878)
      My favorite definition that I've come across...

      Ubuntu is an ancient African word, meaning "can't configure Debian"
      • I thought is was "Ubuntu is an ancient African word, meaning "can't install Gentoo". =)
      • I recently switched over to Ubuntu for my desktop machine for the same reason I take my car to a mechanic if it breaks down. I've used Debian/Gentoo/RedHat/Caldera and several other flavors of Linux, but in Ubuntu it feels like I get that perfect balance of power and ease of use. Run the installer, and you have a fully functional desktop, office suite, and other desktop apps in a few minutes. A few apt-get commands and you have a dev environment and tool-chain. Nothing prevents you from getting the latest c
    • It often makes more sense thinging about who I am in the context of family, work, and society.

      But then, if society is an illogical, random, unreasonable conglomeration of nonsensical ideologies, beliefs and traditions.... what would that make me?!
    • Nah, Jeff Waugh [linuxjournal.com] got it right:

      Ubuntu actually is "an ancient African word for I am sick of compiling Gentoo".
    • This is the Tux that exists for Rei Ayanami. /NEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD!!!!1111
    • "a person is a person through other persons"

      ... no matter how small.

      (With apologies to Dr. Seuss)
    • My favorite meaning comes from Wikipedia:

      "a person is a person through other persons"

      This translation is also much closer to the full original expression, "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu", in fact that's probably the closest literal translation you can get.

  • Free CD's (Score:2, Insightful)

    by torpor ( 458 )
    ... far as i can remember, Yggdrasil were the first to do the 'heres a free bootable Linux CD so you can try it out' promotional trick, as early as 1994.

    sure, Ubuntu is a wonderful project, and the purpose of making Linux easier for humans is an admirable and honorable effort. But, these 'new-generation Linux distros' getting all the credit for what has been a 'traditional activity' among the Linux crowd rankles a little ire ..
    • Re:Free CD's (Score:4, Informative)

      by eldacan ( 726222 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:59PM (#15019655)
      The article is not quite clear, but the point is, Ubuntu will *ship* you CDs free of charge, in any quantity you desire. I don't think Yggdrasil did this...
      • Yggdrasil only gave out free CDs to those who had actually contributed parts of the software on the disc... everybody else had to pay.
      • Re:Free CD's (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grcumb ( 781340 )

        We were doing this for the SME Server (http://www.contribs.org/ [contribs.org]) back in 2000, when it was still owned by e-smith, inc. We shipped one CD free of charge to anyone who filled out a request form on our site.

        The effect was quite positive. It helped to build awareness of the software at a critical point in its life, and we went from a few hundred servers installed in the wild to a few thousand. Not huge, but still enough to build a really dynamic community. The server's onto version 7 now, and the community i

  • I still have the feeling that an IT specialist writing a book about Ubuntu or Debian or Gentoo is just like a sexologist writing a book about making love with his wife Jenny...

    Beside that, can someone recommend a good book about Linux / Unix in general? People ask me for this and frankly I don't know a printed book to recommend to them. For some time I recommended Tannenbaum's "Operating Systems" series.

    And I'm still planning to write a book on Gentoo tho - I'll just send all the logs from stage 1 ins

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've found Jenny to be an amazing lover. If you've never tried Jenny before, I suggest you get a hold of the live version, slip it in, and turn her on.
    • "an IT specialist writing a book about Ubuntu or Debian or Gentoo is just like a sexologist writing a book about making love with his wife Jenny..."

      As long as Jenny is available to anyone who wants to try her out, placed on the open market, and comes free of charge, you're absolutely right. Well, provided Jenny has some unique features none of the other girls on the street corner have.
    • "Linux in a Nutshell" is about as general as you can get, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner!
    • While I have not actually read the book, some of the people I have suggested 'Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye!' (mainly as it was the only book I have found aimed at the beginner and that i was impressed by the quick flick in the bookstore) as a good place to start have been very impressed

      Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye!
      By Marcel Gagne
      ISBN 0321159985
      Publisher Addison-Wesley Professional

      It even comes with a version of knoppix so people can try before the
  • Using Ubuntu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wren337 ( 182018 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:40PM (#15019489) Homepage
    I've been a fedora core user for some time and I decided to try Ubuntu on a recently donated dell 933. I have been pleased with the ease of setup and install and the intuitive package tools so far. Most amazing to me was that my old MA101 USB wireless adapter "Just Worked(tm)". No ndiswrapper install, no kernel stack size recompile, no headache. I was just on the network. Amazing. Core seems to go out of it's way to make ndiswrapper hard to use. I may switch all my boxes to Ubuntu.
    • Re:Using Ubuntu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by databyss ( 586137 )
      I'm in the same boat. I just Ubuntu on yesterday after switching over my girlfriend a week ago. I used her as my guinnea pig.

      She isn't incredibly computer literate and she enjoys it so far.

      I enjoy it too. Very easy to use sets up nicely off the bat.

      ubuntuforums.org and ubuntuguide.org are mandatory references.

      Also, on the coincidence side of things, I just bought this book today for my girlfriend. She prefers the dead tree stuff to online references.

    • Re:Using Ubuntu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 )
      I was also very impressed with Kubuntu until it started freezing on me randomly, and in ways from which I could not recover without rebooting. Based on my reading in the forums [ubuntuforums.org] it looks like the problem isn't resolved yet (sorry, can't find the thread now), and so I switched back (somewhat reluctantly) to Fedora Core. Hopefully they'll iron out more of the bugs in Kubuntu in the next couple of releases. I really like that Kubuntu does everything I would ever want in a Linux distribution, but I should never
      • Kubuntu isn't supposed to be the ugly step-child of Ubuntu, but it really feels like it. Package updating and printer configuration in particular were horrible experiences for me. I switched back to FC5 because although FC is Gnome-based, the KDE components at least work like they're supposed to (although i admit I used redhat's printer config utility, not KDE's this time around).
        • And frankly, that makes me think that maybe Ubuntu has no business branching out any further (into, say, embeddable distributions [ubuntu.com] for cell phones or the like). We've already seen one low-quality offshoot. Why dilute the product with another low-quality offshoot? Why risk possibly hurting the quality of your core product in the process?
    • I've made the move to a GNU/Linux system a few months ago using FC4 (and now FC5) as my distro of choice. I'm really hooked on the GUI tools that are coded for Fedora Core (redhat-config-$SERVICE). I tried Ubuntu and tried to configure Samba. On FC4/5 it took about 2 minutes and a few more to mount a few shares using CIFS in /etc/fstab. I had a hell of a time doing it in Dapper. I gave up after about 10 minutes of 'man samba' and related docs.

      Had it not been for that bad experience (and perhaps I misse
      • Re:Using Ubuntu (Score:2, Informative)

        by pAnkRat ( 639452 )
        Then you tried it "the wrong way." (tm)
        I tried it like you descibed too, and it was hard.

        Then I found the "ubuntu way":

        The Ubuntu way of sharing a folder with samba is:
        - 1 open Nautilus
        - 2 navigate to the folder you want to share with other users
        - 3 right-click the folder
        - 4 choose "share folder" ("ordner teilen" in the german translation (which reads "split folder", but thats another story))
        - 5 ...
        - 6 done

        There might be a step 5:
        If this is the first time you try to share a folder, Ubuntu prompts you how yo
  • Ubuntu just rocks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) * <[ten.tenaprac] [ta] [cjs]> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:43PM (#15019509) Homepage
    Not related except as my ubuntu experience.

    I had an old laptop that i recently fixed (it just needed to be taken apart and have some connectors reseated). I had been running Debian on it, but I have a new job, and a new work issued laptop...so I didn't need it.

    So my sister, who is one of those people who "knows how to use word". Thats right, she could type up a report for school, and browse the web, but that was about it. Complete novice.

    So I didn't have a copy of windows to install (though since there was a product key attached to the laptop I technically could have, if I had install media)... anyway... so I installed Ubuntu and said "If you want windows, you have to have it put on, but heres this" (she lives too far away for me to get media and drive out to her). I showed her how to log in and pointed at open office and said "that works like word" then pointed her at firefox and said "heres your web browser".... litterally all of 2 minutes.

    She called me 3 days later to tell me how great it was working and ask why she was able to get on the internet last night, but not today... turns out she just randomly had picked up someone elses wireless and got on, never even realised it... whoever it was must turn off their access point when they are not home, she never saw the signal again.

    Point is... she never even needed to ask a question beyond that. I have had less problems giving her an ubuntu box, than giving people with similar experience levels windows boxes...she has been usign it and happy with it (I talked to her the other day) for several weeks now.

    Man... who ever would have thought Linux on the desktop would really get there for us non-geeks? I always said it would, but I have to admit, I always had some doubt in my mind.

    Hell as it is I have completely switched over to ubuntu myself. Its a fresh debian! Yay! Its what i have wanted for years now... a debian stable thats less than 6 months old! (and more often than for 6 months out of every 3 years)

    • Does it handle CD's better than what I'm used to?
      Having to goto a shell and umount the drive to get the cd out is awful.
    • ... let me "me-too" the parent post.

      I have a laptop (IBM 1200i series), and XP was running into problems. Also, the laptop was mostly being used in conjunction with our stereo (playing MP3's and Shoutcast) with very limited browsing. I had a PCMCIA card with 2 USB 2.0 slots, and both of them were filled - one with a portable hard drive, the other with a Zydas 1211-based wireless .11g card.

      I got a new blank hard drive for the laptop, and after trying other systems, installed Ubuntu 5.04 (it was the CD I had
    • Complete novice.

      Similar situation with my sister in law. She was running fine on Linux, then she wanted an iPod. I put GTKPod on but keeping it working is a major integration exercise.

      People with the skills will do fine, people with no skills will do fine as well. People in between are the problem.

      The other problem is than skills improve over time, but usually in the direction of "can I run this?". And often the answer is no with Linux.

    • > she has been usign it and happy with it (I talked to her the other day) for several weeks now.

      Wait until she has to go to an IE only website, or make a resume: you'd better explain her to use PDF and not to send an OOo document, otherwise..

      I hope you have explained this to her otherwise you're irresponsible.

      Sure it's less work to maintain a Linux than Windows, but we're living in a Windows world you know so using Linux creates some problems sometimes, if she's a beginner, she'll have a hard time workin
  • Oh? You want a book? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by irimi_00 ( 962766 )
    This book is great and if you can't install Unbuntu yourself; go and buy the book. But here is what I did:

    I wanted to migrate away from Windows.
    I am sorta tech savvy - I know the different parts of a computer, I can trouble shoot some basic problems, and I can type "getting your printer to work in ubuntu' into google.

    My point is, instead of paying 40 dollars for a book, here is what you do:

    1.Go download the Ubuntu ISO
    http://mirror.mcs.anl.gov/pub/ubuntu-iso/CDs/5.10/ ubuntu-5.10-install-i386.iso [anl.gov]

    • Once Ubuntu was installed... it just worked wonderfully.

      Did it play mp3s?
      • First thing my girlfriend said too...

        Well first was "Where are all my files?" since we setup dual boot. But the web was good and helped her map her ntfs drives in a couple minutes. Then xmms was installed and all was well.

        She thinks apt-get is the hottest thing alive right now.
    • I warn you that if you use autopackage, you will sooner or later run into severe dependency problems and probably hose your system. Or at least create an unmaintainable system. Use the supplied package management system ( apt / ubuntu updater ), not one that just ignores the complexities of package management.

      I feel very sorry for novice users who get lured in by the premise and familiarity of autopackage and other installshield-like programs and end up having to reinstall.
  • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:51PM (#15019587)
    I built my first Linux machine with Xandros a few years ago, and I've used it as my home server ever since.

    Now, I'm looking to upgrade, and I was planning to use the next version of Kubuntu when it released next month. I have used KDE for some time and I think I prefer its interface to that of Gnome.

    My question is, if I choose Kubuntu, would I get anything at all out of this book? Or is it so different as to be not worth the purchase?

    I'm an electrical engineer, but I do hardware design. I have little interest in being an expert in operating system configuration. I like the concept of Linux, but I want easy-to-follow instructions to set up what I need, with a minimal amount of fiddling in .conf files and other settings.
    • by wolfemi1 ( 765089 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @03:19PM (#15019832)
      AFAIK, Ubuntu and Kubuntu are exactly the same project, with slightly tweaked default settings and, of course, the different desktop environment.

      As a matter of fact, you can change an Ubuntu install to a Kubuntu install with one command:

      sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

      I think you can even change back by using the above and "ubuntu-desktop" instead.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you do that, (apt-get install kubuntu-desktop), you haven't removed the old Ubuntu desktop; it's still installed. So you now have a choice between KDE (Kubuntu) and GNOME (Ubuntu) when you log in. I use it this way, and it's *very* nice for people who want to try both. You can set one to be the default, too, so it's not confusing to new users. Doesn't use too much hard drive space, either.

        It's easy to keep your Kubuntu fresh by going to kubuntu.org and following the simple directions every time a new KD
      • I think you can even change back [from kubuntu] by using the above and "ubuntu-desktop" instead.

        Well... I suppose, theoretically... if you wanted to see... uh... no, sorry, you lost me.

    • The short answer is yes.

      Although I haven't read the book in question, I have used Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and the only part that wouldn't apply to you would be (going on the review info) section 3 (6 chapters) on the actual gnome interface, and the replacement windows apps. Installation, command line, advanced administration etc. are all exactly the same.

      Ubuntu and Kubuntu are very similar, and you can even turn one into another with a single bash command.

    • Kubuntu is simply ubuntu with KDE. Thats it, nothing more. Everything works just the same on the 2. My friend uses Kubuntu and I use Ubuntu and we have yet to spot a difference other than the KDE vs Gnome interface.

      Although I have not read the book I would bet money that there would be no difference.
    • My question is, if I choose Kubuntu, would I get anything at all out of this book?

      Judging from the review:

      1st Section: Linux History
      2nd Section: Installing Ubuntu
      3rd Section: Ubuntu Desktop / app comparison to windows
      4th Section: Linux Command Line.

      Of these sections, the 3rd is almost useless to you, 2nd should be reasonably useful, the 1st & 4th useful - but available from any book describing a linux distro.

      In short - the book will be useful, but not alot more then a book describing any other debian b
  • Save $6.80! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Save yourself $6.80 by buying the book here: Beginning Ubuntu Linux [amazon.com]. And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com], you can save an extra 1.57%!
    • That's not spam. Amazon is a valid bookseller. Yes there's the patent issue, but if money's an issue, then $6-7 is a decent difference, especially since it's no extra work to get it from one or the other. Personally, the first thing I did when I saw the B&N price was check the Amazon price. I may check the Borders price too, since there's one near me. Unfortunately, a few dollars is important if you're in college or not making a lot of money.

      Yes, I concede the A9 thing was annoying, but let's try
  • Why so easy? (Score:2, Insightful)

    After typing this comment I realized it could come off as criticizing ubuntu for targetting "easy", which is not my intent. I'm using Ubuntu right now to type this, and love it, not as a user friendly Linux, but as a nice barebones start for a Debian GNU/Linux desktop after a bit of customization. It's not cluttered with tons of things by default that just get in your way, but still has many useful programs either installed already or easily installable. This comment is more of a gripe about why more people
    • It is a time issue. Back when I was a student, I had free time to devote to projects. Now, with wife, kids, job, etc. I want things to work mostly out of the box. I would still love to muck around and get things right, and I still enjoy that, but what is more likely now is that my attention would get diverted and the project would be put on a back burner.

      It is also a little difficult to unlearn old habits. Do I type ipconfig or ifconfig, ls or dir, etc. A nice gui makes it easier. Once everytyhing is basic
  • Throughout Keir's career, his aim has been to explain advanced and confusing technology in ways that the average person can understand. Keir works as a freelance editor and writer. He lives on the side of a mountain in England, and his pastimes include hiking and playing musical instruments.

    Keir is the one you seek...a sage, a traveler, adventurer, musician, writer and master of all things technical. He has the amazing ability to explain even the most complex of things in a manner we can all understan
  • by swordfish666 ( 518548 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:57PM (#15019632)
    Ubuntu will never make it on to desktops simply because of it name.

    RedHat - now that's a Linux distro name. But at $150 a seat they can shove the hat...
    Mandrake - another good name but it's gone
    Mandriva - border line bad oh the the company is going down like a whore at the prom
    Debian - solid name too bad it's maintaind by relinux zealots
    SuSe - kind of lame, kind of free, Yast is very hand for lazy people
    Fedora - border line good name, just don't install it on any hardwars older that last week
    blag - all I can think of Barf-Bag
    SLAX - Trousers (Pants! Pants! Pants! to you limey's)
    Slackware - Old Navy's new clothing like for the unemployed
    Gentoo - more junk but the name's ok
    Xrandos - cool name it's too bad this distro costs money and sucks donkey snot
    MEPIS - Me Piss
    Damn Small Linux - That's not a name that's an in-complete sentence
    KNOPPIX - good name now if it were only a real distrobution
    PCLinuxOS - just in-case you don't know Linux is an OS that runs on PC's
    Kubuntu - really?
    Frugalware - again really?
    Puppy Linux - hahahahahaha when it becomes v2.0 will it be renamed to Dog
    Linux XP - Sure I'm running XP.
    Turbolinux - now that's a name. Too bad this distro sucks and it's not FREE

  • I'm partial to Slackware, but I've tried Ubuntu and I have to admit that it's a very nice distro. I would recommend it for newbies or those who want a nice LiveCD with good hardware detection "out of the box".

    • It isn't just for newbies -- I've been using various versions of Linux for 4 years now, & I currently use Kubuntu, simply because I'm not an IT professional & I have work to do. It's nice to have an operating system that "just works," because all the time saved in configuration & on a learning curve allows me to actually get stuff done.
  • Ubuntu is Open (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by kangpeh ( 875381 )
    I really have a discrepency with the fact that an author is attempting to profit off sales of an Ubuntu book. That is why there is an Ubuntu Forum, Ubuntu Wikipedia, and Ubuntu tutorials. In fact, Ubuntu isn't just great because it features a 6 month release cycle, a large community of contributing users, but more importantly, because its community has users who are willing to share and help you get your Ubuntu system running. You don't need to waste money on an Ubuntu book. Just head on over to IRC.Fre

    • I really have a discrepency with the fact that an author is attempting to profit off sales of an Ubuntu book..

      I've never really understood why there are some who have a problem with this.

      I, like the majority of people in the world, grew up being both educated and entertained by books and personally still find them much more convenient, enjoyable, and easier to read than electronic texts despite having used computers for over thirty years now.

      Besides, trees are renewable resource unlike the petroleum product
      • This discussion is a bit muddled because it misses the fact that a book is not a bunch of paper sheets bound with glue or wires. A book is a bundle of ideas. Books can be electronic, or they can be bound.

        I think the grandparent poster's real beef is not that the author of the book has published something that's printed on dead trees. Instead, GP's problem is that the book has a restrictive license. There are dead-tree books out there, such as Dive into Python [diveintopython.org], that are licensed under the GNU Free Document

    • I really have a discrepency with the fact that an author is attempting to profit off sales of an Ubuntu book. That is why there is an Ubuntu Forum, Ubuntu Wikipedia, and Ubuntu tutorials.

      I see you got modded Flamebait, which is unfortunate. I am conflicted about this, but on balance I agree with you. The author of this book should've posted a PDF of it online for free. That is what Ubuntu is really about, and charging people money for your Ubuntu knowledge is hijacking what we've given freely. It's entirel

    • I needed a book when I first got started with Linux, using Redhat 6.1.
      Needed help getting it installed, but did not get it to connect to the web for a while. Here's a page [geocities.com] I put up after I figured out how to do that. Book I used was Redhat Linux Secrets, by Naba Barkakati. I was able to put Redhat 6.1 on many small boxes, one with only 32 mb ram.
      I can imagine how helpful a book on Ubuntu would be, don't know if any available are as good as those written by Naba Barkakati. He has several books out on Fedora
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why are WE, the Open Source Community, being charged for this tripe?

    I thought WE were supposed to Work TOGETHER on documentation not create some
    Closed Source book.

    There are many advantages to open source development model which make it Far Superior to the
    shit turned out by Greedy Profiteering swine such as Apress and Oreilley.

    Don't buy this book and support open source!
  • That explains alot! I have try Ubuntu again in recent weeks. Though it has improved greatly since my first experiments, it does have a longs ways to go in the way of usabililty. Granted, the installation went flawlessly however, it does require you to have a functioning network connection which is a problem if you use wireless. Post installation is another matter. You have everything needed to basic computing tasks but when you want to do something a little more intense like run Doom3, you have more problem
  • Contents page (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hentaidan ( 933903 )
    There's a pdf of the contents pages @ apress.com [apress.com]
  • Early on in Ubuntu's beginings, I ran it as my primary desktop mainly because it was described as a better Debian than Debian. So I ran it, and was genuinely impressed, but not overly thrilled. Yes, it has many of the pluses that Debian has namely in APT, and embraces Debian social contract, [debian.org] and then some. But I still don't get why people are losing their minds over this. After about seven or eight months, I tried it again. Better, but still not amazing. In the meantime, I had used Xandros, and eventually
  • Key to Ubuntu's philosophy is making "the tools you need available free of charge" [ubuntu.com]

    Thomas should respect the principles of Ubuntu and release this book for free and license it under Creative Commons to allow mashups and external improvements so the book can become more helpful over time.
  • Shuttleworth? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Illbay ( 700081 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @04:05PM (#15020222) Journal
    ...space tourist Mark Shuttleworth

    I've always wondered:

    Shouldn't he change his name to "Soyuzworth?"

  • I recently installed Ubuntu 5.10 and FreeBSD 6.0 for use as a simple C development platform for a networking class I'm taking.

    I was pleasantly suprised at how easy the Ubuntu installation went. Still not quite as simple as a Windows XP install, but a damn sight easier than FreeBSD 6.0 (I have also installed FreeBSD 4.x in the past), and (are you listening FreeBSDer's?) Xorg configured itself CORRECTLY the FIRST TIME without requiring any hand-editing of .confg files. The Ubuntu Gnome desktop looks fanta

  • I did up a bit on switching from Fedora / Susu to Ubuntu, and why I thought it was a good idea.

    http://www.onisland.ca/geek/linux/sonyvaio-fs640w [onisland.ca]

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.