Book Review - Beginning Ubuntu Linux - From Novice to Professional by Keir Thomas
It seems that Ubuntu Linux has made the leap from "just another distro" to "distro of choice" as opposed to Fedora. Since I haven't done anything with Ubuntu yet, I decided to get started with a review of the book Beginning Ubuntu Linux: From Novice to Professional by Keir Thomas. While I'm not sure it caters completely to the professional, I think it does a good job of getting a computer-savvy person up to speed on what they can expect from running a Linux distribution (in this case, Ubuntu).
Part 1 - Introducing the World of Linux: Welcome!; A History and Politics Lesson; The Realities of Running Linux
Part 2 - Installing Ubuntu: Preinstallation Steps; Installing Ubuntu; Solving Installation Problems
Part 3 - The No-Nonsense Getting Started Guide: Booting Ubuntu for the First Time; Getting Everything Up and Running; How to Secure Your Computer; Personalizing Ubuntu - Getting Everything Just Right; Ubuntu Replacements for Window Programs; Managing Your Files;
Part 4 - The Shell and Beyond: Introducing the BASH Shell; Understanding Linux Files and Users; Working with Text Files; Taking Control of the System; Cool Shell Tricks
Part 5 - Multimedia: Digital Music; Movies and Multimedia; Image Editing
Part 6 - Office Tasks: Making the Move to OpenOffice.org; OpenOffice.org Overview; In Depth - Writer; In Depth - Calc; In Depth - Impress; In Depth - Base; In Depth - Evolution; Running Microsoft Office Under Ubuntu
Part 7 - Keeping Your System Running: Installing Software; Managing Users; Optimizing Your System; Backing Up Data; Scheduling Tasks; Accessing Computers Remotely
Appendixes - Glossary of Linux Terms; BASH Command Index; Getting Further Help; Other Versions of Ubuntu; Index
Thomas starts off the book by explaining the background of Linux, as well as how to get Ubuntu installed on your computer. Parts 1 through 4 deal pretty directly with Ubuntu and core pieces of the operating system, and that's the part of the book that will help most computer-savvy users get a feel for what's involved in running Ubuntu. It's not at the Grandma level, which means that you won't feel like it's a huge waste of time if you already know your way around your Windows system. Parts 5 and 6 are not so much Ubuntu as they are chapters on core software that replace the often-used Windows programs for most people. Many of these software packages have whole books written just about them, so don't expect a definitive guide to every feature they offer. But it will help you to see what's out there in terms of Windows replacements. Part 7 gets back more into the Ubuntu-specific realm of how to make sure your system is running to its peak performance.
I see this book at being targeted best for either a Linux newbie or someone sampling Linux distros to see which one appeals to them. If you are a long-time Linux user looking to switch to Ubuntu, I think you'll find too much of this book covering material you already know. If you want a book that gets into the arcane details of Ubuntu, then this isn't the book you'd want to get. However, if you're in the proper audience, you'll benefit from this book. I know I plan on firing up my VMWare software and loading up Ubuntu based on what I read here...