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on April 18, 2010
If you are interested in how to get the most out of Desktop Ubuntu Linux, then look no further! Should your interest lie in other recognised derivatives of Ubuntu (Edubuntu, Kubuntu, Mythbuntu, Server Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio or Xubuntu) or the Ubuntu Community, then another book may better suit your needs, for example Official Ubuntu Book, The (4th Edition).

With 750 pages devoted to how to install, configure, customise and maintain Ubuntu Linux and how to use it for office and multimedia activities, the authors are able to go into considerable depth in an easy to follow manner, using screen-shots as appropriate. It is the fourth edition, after all, written around version 9.04 of Ubuntu Linux.

The book is broken into eight sections; Introduction, Installation, Getting Started, The Shell and Beyond, Multimedia, Office Tasks, System Maintenance and a sixty page appendix. Finally there is a 25 page comprehensive index and the font wouldn't want to be any smaller!

For first time Linux users with previous Windows experience, chapter 3 provides good coverage of the preinstallation steps for a PC with an existing Windows installation. Chapter 4 covers the use of the Live DVD, running Ubuntu within Windows using Wibi as well as how to perform a full installation. Chapters 6 and 8 contain much useful information to assist you with installation and initial Ubuntu configuration. While there are brief references throughout the book on the GRUB boot loader, I feel GRUB deserves more detailed coverage, considering how critical this is to being able to access your Operating System(s). Perhaps this can be include in the next edition, as these sections will need updating with the change to GRUB2 with Ubuntu 9.10. Chapter 7 provides a quick overview on how to use Ubuntu and includes a useful 2 page comparison of where to find the Ubuntu equivalents of Windows features, which is further expanded in chapter 11.

Chapter 8 justifies the book on its own with over sixty pages working through how to get everything working correctly in Ubuntu. Most importantly, should your wireless hardware not be automatically supported by Ubuntu, there is an excellent, detailed explanation of how to get your wireless connection working in Ubuntu using a Windows driver.

The Office Tasks section goes into reasonable detail of how to use the Open Office Suite (about eighty pages in all), including a chapter on Base, Open Office's database application.

For those who wish to get the most out of Ubuntu, the five chapters in Part 4 introduce the reader to the BASH shell and how to use shell commands. While the coverage is excellent and takes the reader up to an intermediate level of expertise, I'm surprised that checking log messages isn't covered. Part 7 (System Maintenance) builds on the command line skills from part 4 and includes a nifty chapter on how to optimise your system beyond those incorporated by the Ubuntu developers in recent releases.

If you have decided to switch to Ubuntu Linux, this book will help you get Ubuntu installed and operating effectively and prove a valuable reference guide, irrespective of whether you previously used Windows or another Linux Distro.
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on October 24, 2009
excellent book for a low price. I have used it to teach Linux for the past few years - each year upgrading to the current edition
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on October 19, 2010
Having been a "Newbie" to the Ubuntu world up to a year ago, making use of this book was a revelation, as it is easily readable and allows for a very shallow learning curve with this operating system and its associated sets of applications. I also own the 4th edition (Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Fourth Edition) of this book and this latest round adds more details to items like Networking, mobile wireless communications and other pieces of the software that really make it easy for someone to install and operate very well Ubuntu 10.04. I especially enjoyed the history lesson at the beginning of the book, and the quirky but candid reasoning behind the rise of open-license software and Ubuntu in general. Linux is a much more hands-on operating system and the writers make a very good effort in listing many resources that one can tap into to adapt, improve and generally tweak Ubuntu 10.04 to look, feel and operate as one would like. Especially helpful was the Appendix A, where a large number of "BASH" commands are listed and explained, a must for any Linux user to be able to come to grip with using the "Terminal" window. To this end I also purchased the book - "Ubuntu Linux Toolbox"Ubuntu Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Ubuntu and Debian Power Users
as an incredible addition to this starter guide, as a wide set of commands make any installation, adjustment or simply playing with the OS a snap. I would recommend the fifth edition of "Beginning Ubuntu Linux" for anyone jumping into the exciting and "free" world of this operating system
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on June 16, 2010
If you have any experience with Microsoft Windows then the first half of this book will be a refresher for you. I found the book written well and informative. It wasn't until I got to the second half of the book that I started to learn a few things. I think this book makes a good book for hand holding and jumping into Ubuntu. There are a lot of similarities with Windows, which the book points out, and total differences too. I would recommend having Ubuntu installed on your computer while going through the book. If you install the CD version that comes with the book you will have an older version. However, if you go to [...] and download the newest version, which is what I did, some examples in the book will not coincide correctly. I was able to work my way through the differences as most experienced computer users also will. In short, a good book to get you off and running with Ubuntu. I turned my laptop into a dual-boot system and run the Ubuntu side everyday. I figure the more you use it the more you will get used to it. Good luck and good bye.
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on November 14, 2010
UPDATE: As with any technical publication, please check the published date before purchasing. As this book was published in 2010, it is several years and many versions of Ubuntu behind where the current version is today. This book was definitely worth the 5 stars I gave it when I first read it, you will likely find much of it to be out of date at this point. At this point, you'll want to wait for a new edition or find something a bit more current. Now back to my initial review ...

I'm actually writing this review on my newly installed Ubuntu system ...

And I can't be happier. Linux? Really? I asked myself that question. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Ubuntu's latest release. I used the version supplied on the book's CD and everything worked "out of the box."

No hiccups, no missing drivers. Of course, your mileage might vary, depending on your hardware. My experience has shown wireless network cards can be a pain. But lo and behold ... there's an entire section on how to get your hardware working ... even with using Windows-based drivers. In fact, there is an entire chapter dedicated to "Solving Installation Problems" which was just the kind of encouragement I needed. I'm not afraid to jump in to things, but I didn't want the hassle either. I also appreciated Chapter 3's Pre-Installation Steps. Are you concerned about saving your existing data? The no-nonsense approach here will help you get prepared the right way. The authors even included a table listing the most common files you'll probably try to save, where to find them, and how to back them up. Fantastic!

But the book isn't all about just getting Ubuntu running. It'll help you on your way to becoming a Linux power-user too. Part 3 will hep you get everything tweaked just the way you like it, followed by a detailed section on how to do all the things you did on that other operating system. At this point, I think I may have already forgotten its name. But what about all my games?!? Never fear, the section on using Wine to install and run your old OS's applications will help you out.

Hint: check out Wine's extensive online database of applications that it is known to support if your Windoze app is a deal breaker. I was surprised to find a few apps I needed that I thought hardly anyone else uses, much less on Linux.

You can find this in the part I'm still absorbing at the moment. Part 5, Keeping Your System Running. It's not titled that because your system won't stay running. Linux's reliability is world-renown. I have geek friends at work that are in a constant competition to see whose Linux computer has run longer without a reboot. Their record is currently 429 days. Can your OS do that? Even my wife's Mac can't. Nuff said. Getting back on track, this section is ultimately what you'll really need to free you from the world of that other OS. It's where you'll learn all about managing users, file permissions, optimizing your system, backing up data and more. Not a necessary read to get started, but things that you'll want to know down the road.

All in all , the authors did a superb job of getting the beginning user ready to embark on a fantastic journey. If you're even thinking about moving to Linux, get this book!
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on October 19, 2010
"Beginning Ubuntu Linux Fifth Edition" is a comprehensive, well written, easy to read book useful both for learning Ubuntu and for future reference. Throughout the book comparisons to similar activities in Windows are presented making the transition to Ubuntu easier.

Part One consists of two chapters. The first chapter gives you a good understanding of just what Ubuntu really is, and explains why it is a better operating system than Windows. Chapter Two presents a concise, accurate, history of the evolution of UNIX, Linux, Ubuntu Linux, and MSDos and Windows. It is implied, and in my opinion correctly so, that UNIX and its offspring are and always have been superior to MSDos and Windows. The popularity of MSDos and Windows is the result of shrewd marketing and legal maneuvering.

Part Two discusses Ubuntu installation. The instructions are clear, concise, and easy to follow. However, the disk that came with the book was defective and would not boot. I had to download Ubuntu 10.10 from the Ubuntu website. Also, I did not find the installation to be as easy as the book would have me believe. My desktop loading problem was not covered in Chapter 5, "Solving Installation Problems". The desktop loaded correctly right after installation, but only partially loaded during subsequent re-boots and locked up when I tried to install a printer.

Part Three, "The No-Nonsense Getting Started Guide", is just that. It covers all of the basics clearly and concisely. However, nowhere did I find how to make my Ubuntu computer join my Windows Workgroup home network.

Part Four, "Working and Playing with Ubuntu" provides most of the information necessary to take advantage of Ubuntu's potential in everyday use.

Part Five, "Keeping Your System Running", covers the basics of system administration.

Of the four appendices, I found Appendix A, "Introducing the BASH Shell", to be the most helpful. It is an excellent reference when using the command-line to truly control the system. Although not necessary for the everyday use of Ubuntu, more advanced users will want to use the command-line at least occasionally.

Overall, this is the best Introductory Ubuntu book I have found.
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on March 15, 2012
This must have been a great book when it was first published. All technical books from the "Beginning ...... " series of the publisher Apress are simply great. Apress just has the knack to pick the world's best authors for technical books. I ordered this book because of my preference for technical books from Apress and because it was cheap. When it arrived I saw why it was so inexpensive: It is badly out of date. It only covers Ubuntu up to release 9.04 and Ubuntu had some major upgrades since then, to get to release 12 where it is today. I was tempted to return it, but decided to keep it, because I am addicted to the good quality technical publications of Apress and it will undoubtedly serve some useful purpose. In future I will be more careful when ordering books on software to verify that they cover recent releases. I can only blame myself for this one!
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on September 6, 2012
Ubuntu for beginners

I used Windows starting with the 98 version up to their 7 edition, Mac os from leopard to lion. lately I try to do some projects about computer brain interface and I found that most of the works were done in windows or in linux. I decide one day to download the free ware Ubuntu 12.04 and install on my obsolete Toshiba s209, (it still runs despite its age) the installation was quick (i decide to install on the full drive). In less than 15 min I have a functioning linux laptop and I was amazed of the speed on a # 10 year old machine, this fact tell you about apple and ms with their constant updates which seem to slow down machines. I bought this book and re read several times to know how to navigate in Linux. I also get this small book "learning linux command" to see easy command examples. The two books, for me, are enough for learning linux. ( I learned C for one year ). I don't have chance to read other books it does not mean that they're bad. I obtain the newly released title " Unleashing Ubuntu 12.04.." and my first impression is that it suits well my future needs for my project.
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on December 6, 2010
I purchased the 4th edition Of beginning Ubuntu Linux with Jaunty Jackalope Ubuntu 9.04 Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Fourth Edition. I was sent the 5th edition of the book to review.. The Ubuntu OS ( operating system) is being changed on a regular time frame, therefore my rating and review hopefully reflect this fact. The rating I give this book is 5 stars, and why?
I like the layout of the current edition, to me it is better organized, and a clearer index. A example of this clearer index is the entry antivirus.
In the 4th edition entry is ( note the periods . are used for spacing)
.....antivirus protection 183.
This only brings you to beginning of Chapter 9 ' How to Secure Your Computer' .
In the 5th edition the entry is
......antivirus protection
..........ClamAV program, 175
..........Ubuntu, 147
.....antivirus protection, Ubuntu
..........adding virus scanning scanning to Ubuntu 175-179
Here page 147 is Chapter 8 'How to Secure Your Computer'.
Page 175 is the antivirus scanning program 'ClamAV'.

Second this book covers just about everything one needs to begin using Ubuntu. I say this as a person who has installed and is using Ubuntu. I also use Mint 9 KDE desktop edition..
Ubuntu has two parts, the kernel and the included software. The book gets one started using the included software, except for one program, and that is Grub 2 , which is the boot loader. This is understandable because Grub2 is new and updated with Ubuntu 10.04, but here is a helpful document link
In the review part, I only cover the problems I encountered, when installing, and understanding Ubuntu 10.04 version.
Chapter 1 Introduction the Linux, Debian, Ubuntu.
Linux is the kernel that communicates with the computer's processor and hardware keyboard, mouse, and monitor, in text mode only. Graphics are handled by the X server.
The Operating System adds software programs, and, graphic (X server), error handling, integration between software programs and the kernel. The software programs included in Ubuntu, have been tested by the Ubuntu team members, and are working correctly. However if you install other software, which there is a lot of free available software, this can, but not always lead to Ubuntu not functioning correctly.

My Ten Reasons to try Ubuntu Linux, not found on page 3 in the book.
1. You like the idea of user produced software, and not limited company produced software, which may or may not work.
2. Software is open source, meaning you can see the code, this may make sense only as you understand more about how GPL software is produced.
3. Do not want to spend money continually for every software upgrade, which you see little benefit from, example MS (Microsoft) Office. I have used for the last 10 years, and I have upgraded, but seen no improvement of the parts of the software I use since the last 3 years or so.
4. Do not want to spend money on hardware, to run MSVista, but have a capable operating system. Operating systems are becoming like cell phones, a lot more features, with no time to use them.
5. Multi-booting, running a number of operating systems on one computer. I run Windows XP on my first hard disk, and Ubuntu 10.04 and Mint Kubuntu on 2nd harddisk. Grub2 bootloader is the program which loads and control this feature, and why one must read the document if using this feature.
6. Different desktops GNOME with it's native programs, and KDE with its native programs, yes for free, and no the programs are not the same, basically the different desktops add different user software programs
7. Like a self selecting system of software producing. None of this software remains in development unless people find it useful.
8. Do not want your kid on your part of the computer, all users have passwords, but one must remember your password.
9. XP windows can crash but will not destroy your Ubuntu system on a dual boot system.
10. KDE desktop (Mint Kubuntu) offers a lot of artistic choice, compared to GNOME. One can add a lot of coloration to the desktop and has some of the top rated programs, as determined by Linux users.

The book is in six parts as follows
1. Introducing the World of Linux.
2. Installing Ubuntu.
3. The No-Nonsense Getting Started Guide.
4. Working and Playing with Ubuntu.
5. Keeping Your System Running.
6. Appendixes.

Part 1 chapters One and Two give one and overview of why I should use Ubuntu. And explains GNU project, and the GPL (General Public License). Meaning of Gnu [noun] large African antelope having horns on it's head, which I believe is the GNU project mascot image. Why one should stop using MS Windows, and start using GNU/Linux operating system.

Here is my short help section on choosing a GNU/Linux operating system like Ubuntu 10.04 GNOME -or- Mint 9 KDE -or- one of the other GNU/Linux choices. The differences between the different GNU/Linux OS can be determined by reading information at the operating system site web page, and finding out which desktop it uses..One can find the different GNU/Linux OS by using a search engine, or go to this website distributions watch, [...]. In the book go to page 19 Table 2.1 Linux Distributions, gives a brief description of the other operating systems.
Note, GNOME and KDE are not the only ones., and basically the differences Desktop determined the software that comes with the operating system.
Some terms from the glossary that one should be familiar with goto appendix B p553 Glossary of Linux Terms, read the following terms
GNU on page 560,
GNU/Linux, GNU Project, GNU Public License, GPL all on page 561.
On page 564 Linux
Linux Foundation page 565
Open Source,, page566.

Part 2 chapters 3 to 5. Installing Ubuntu.
Chapter 3 'Pre-installation. Steps', a very Important chapter to read and understand do not take this chapter for granted. The biggest favor one can do for them selves is to install a second hard drive. The hard drives are cheap compared to one's time, frustration, and easy of use, windows dose not like bring moved by other operating systems.
My personal experience is installing Windows XP on hard drive 1 -or- master drive, and my second drive I silt in almost half. I always make the drives different sizes so I can tell them apart. Example 300 GB drive would be divide in part one 125 GB for Ubuntu 10.04, 175 GB Mint 9 KDE. Why because I can easily change OS choices, and copy my work from one partition to the other, and now install the new operating system on the partition of the operating system I no longer want to use. I also point out that GNU/Linux OS operates on extended partition no need to make primary only the first drive needs to do that.

Chapter 4 Installing Ubuntu, and Chapter 5 Solving Installing Problems.
My personal biggest problem with installing was older computer's and CD ROM. The CD ROM has to be alone and the second master. However I solved this problems by using a USB DVD, as long as the BIOS lets you boot from here, you can set the option in the BIOS.

My personal experience with installing Ubuntu is on a second hard drive, which requires manual partitioning, which long term I feel is the best solution. Partitioning is not a big problem, and there is no need to panic, ... well elevated heart yes, but no to the level of panic. The only drive to change is sdb, thats b and not sda. Drive sda1 is where Windows OS is, and one does not touch this drive, only sdb.
Now it is time to partition drive sdb only two setups are requires 1. A root mount point, and 2 A swap partition. What is swap goto page 570 glossary term swap, and then read on page 49 Determine Windows Partition Size, continue reading pages 50 to 53 as refresher on what is being done. The only mount point one needs is / , yes only that angled line, I know that it is only that /, but yes only and angled line. Goto page 54 figure 4-11 shows you that angled line on a single drive setup, on drive sda (/dev/sda), one uses sdb instead of sda.
If you have a proprietary system like Dell, HP, or Gateway you need to call, -or- check there web site installing a second hard drive on your system, and that you can boot from a CD -or DVD drive, which every you may have.
On my system, which I built, I divided it approximately in half. Note make sure one does not make the partitions the same size, and different from your windows partition as well on hard drive sda1, this way all partition are easy to identify. One can determine your swap partition size goto page 50 table 4-1. I used 4,096 Mb thats megabytes, and that is about ½ gigabyte.

Here is a print out of my system setup:
Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 14593 117218241 7 HPFS/NTFS [ partition for Windows XP ]

Disk /dev/sdb: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 1 16168 129869428+ 83 Linux [ partition for Ubuntu 10.04 ]
/dev/sdb2 16169 30401 114326209+ 5 Extended
/dev/sdb5 29650 30401 6040408+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb6 16169 29649 108284928 83 Linux [ partition for Mint 9 KDE ]

One should note that the swap partition is used by both Linux installs, and notice the numbering system is not in order one may think. To increase your understanding read starting at Working with Disks and Volumes page 228, and stopping at Accessing Network files on page 232. Also Appendix D creating a bootable CD or DVD from ISO images on page 590. Note make sure one reads about Grub2, which is the bootloader software which controls which operating system will boot from the menu.

In part 3, Chapter 6 Booting Ubuntu for the First Time the only two notes I will add.
1.About Grub 2
2.Virtual Desktops
Grub 2 is a section that has been not covered in detail in the book, and with good reason because it has just been changed and been updated, and is not covered in great detail in the book.

But there are current articles on Grub 2 at these web sites.
1. [...]2.[...]3. [...] If one is going to use multi-booting, then making a rescue disk is a must, and here is how. Use these commands in the terminal window to make the rescue disk. Check out page 521 'Getting Started with the Shell' for detail on the terminal window, which is really a BASH shell program, which is a text only program, X-server or graphics.
grub-mkrescue --output=rescue.iso /boot/grub
grub-mkrescue, is the command
--output=rescue.iso, is file name in this example 'rescue.iso'
/boot/grub, this is the location of grub2 files.

The rescue.iso will be written to your home directory, and now you must burn the image to CD. Follow the instructions on page 590, and if you use Brasero (part of the Ubuntu software) make sure you use Burn image.
Make sure that your system BIOS is set to search the DVD or CD drive, before the hard drive, for a bootable disk, which is the one you just made. So place the disk in the DVD or CD drive, and reboot the computer. At the 'grub>' prompt enter the following commands, adjust for where you installed Ubuntu.

1. grub>linux (hd1,1)/vmlinuz root=/dev/sdb1 (where is the kernal located, and what is the root device)
2. grub>initrd (hd1,1)/initrd.img (where is the interrupter image located)
3. grub>boot ( now that both images are loaded into memory, you need to tell grub2 to go ahead and boot the system)

Now my Ubuntu system will load from the disk, now you can reinstall Grub2 after MSWindows XP writes over the top of it by using the following commands in the terminal window. Check out page 521 'Getting Started with the Shell' for detail on the terminal window.

sudo update-grub ( this command updates Grub2 for any changes on your system )
sudo grub-setup /dev/sda ( this command sets up Grub2 on the bootable hard disk that the BIOS is looking for to start your system )

The big alternative is to leave Microsoft Windows XP as your start up operating system, and using the rescue disk when you want to start Ubuntu. Now here is a real life example of what happen to me. I had a virus on my Microsoft Windows XP system, and so I logged into Ubuntu and copied all my files onto my Ubuntu file system that were important to me. After that I booted from my Window XP disk and reinstalled after formatting the Window XP disk space to remove the virus, and one can do this if you want to refresh Windows XP.

Second Virtual Desktops are not the same as a virtual box. A Virtual Desktop allows you to have many programs running at the same time with out one over lapping the other program. One can have up to four identical desktops, and a program started in one desktop does not appear in the other desktop. Example: one is writing a document. Now one has it opened full screen and wants to go to the Internet to research some information about a topic. There is no need to loose your place. Just goto to desktop two by using desktop switcher (page 90 to 92) and one can start Firefox on the new desktop, and look up your information. Most home users will only use two desktops, but you can have 4 if you want.
A virtual box (page 30) allows you to run one operating system inside of another one. The example on page 30 one uses Ubuntu in Windows, by using a piece of software which functions like Ubuntu is accessing the hardware directly, which it is not is is going through the software. It is like Ubuntu Windows on your Windows desktop.

In Chapter Seven Getting Everything Up and Running. I have one big note to add. The Ubuntu contains no proprietary drivers, and the reason is licensing agreements which do not allow for free distributions of the software. However to get around this problem the Software Manager downloads the proprietary drivers and as part of the install, one agrees to licensing for the proprietary driver. Read page 97 for more details.
Now my point to add here is proprietary video and sound driver/codec as in the case of nViada graphics card have to be installed and activated to obtain full use of the graphics card. Is covered int the book on page 134 toward bottom of page sentence starting with " Follow these instructions to activate the proprietary graphics driver: " .

Chapter 8 How to Secure Your Computer, the only additional point that I will high lite are the following Ubuntu OS uses a combined password. The same password is used for your normal user account, and for root account (see page 149) for more details.
The only time one is logged in as root users is when you are requesting a Administrative task -or- Root user task like installing more software. What is the Root password, well that is the same password as the first account password when you installed the system. This is a safety system to prevent you the user from rendering your system non-functional by being logged in as root all the time. Root access is only granted as needed and removed after the task is finished.
Two added notes one is that in the terminal window root access is granted by using sudo (then the command) and hit enter and it will ask for the root password, which is the account password. One can adjust root access see Chapter 21 page 443 for all the details.

There are three different programs for handling software.
1.Update Manager which updates Ubuntu operating system software, and some other software supported by Ubuntu team. Page 431 Automatically managing software updates for details.

2.Then there is the Ubuntu Software Center, which is where one finds more software to install. See chapter 20 page 416 for details.

3.Synaptic Package Manager, which list ever package on your system in and the packages available from the Ubuntu repository. See page 433 for details " The Synaptic Package Manager in Depth

Well that is it, and I hope this real life experience helps , to you newbies.
End of Article.
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on June 13, 2010
I read the contents of this book almost cover to cover; I only skipped the multimedia section. I read this because I was interested in reading "Automating Linux and Unix System Administration," and it listed "Beginning Ubuntu" as preceding it in a sequence.

In short, this book is an above average introduction to the world of Linux, but best suited complete Linux novices. There is very little in this book that would be of interest to someone who has basic experience with Linux in general. There were a few bits here and there that were new to me, but it represented the kind of information that I could have absorbed from a man page if I needed to learn more about a particular program.

The book included a concise and clear introduction to the BASH shell, the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, pipes and file redirection. I think this is probably the most difficult chapter to right for a book targeted at novices, and it seemed very clear to me.

There are two things I think are missing from this book. One is a procedure for surviving a major upgrade. Every ubuntu user is going to do this sooner or later. A novice could use some advice interpreting the various dialogs that will pop up during a distribution upgrade. Another is a guide about compiling programs from source. Yes, every program will be a little bit different, but there is some basic information that pulls together knowledge of the FHS, what packages are required to compile software, and the like, that a novice would definitely not know if they needed to build a package from source. Oftentimes, the best way to obtain support for a particular package via mailing lists, forums or IRC is to attempt to use the latest version; some communities will refuse to help you unless you are running the latest version. Other communities are even worse, displaying will be openly contemptuous if you reveal you're using the version offered in the ubuntu repositories.
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