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Official Ubuntu Book, The (3rd Edition)
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Official Ubuntu Book, The (3rd Edition) [Paperback]

Benjamin Mako Hill , Corey Burger , Jonathan Jesse , Jono Bacon
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards 2008 Favorite Linux Book, Honorable Mention.

“. . . this one (Ubuntu Linux book) is at the head of the pack for getting started with your penguin experience. . . .”
—Tom Duff

“Benjamin Mako Hill et al. have produced an excellent book that speaks to everyone who uses or is considering using Ubuntu.”
—James Pyles, Reviewer, “The Linux Tutorial”

“Well written in an easy-to-follow format. Full of information for folks new to Linux or just new to Ubuntu. Even nontechnical users would find this a very helpful resource.”
—Ben Gerber,

“I’d recommend picking it up if you are running Ubuntu.”
—Tony Lawrence, owner of

From the Back Cover

Ubuntu is a complete, free operating system that emphasizes community, support, and ease of use without compromising speed, power, or flexibility. It’s Linux for human beings—designed for everyone from computer novices to experts. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Long Term Support), a.k.a., “Hardy Heron,” is the latest release—more powerful, more flexible, and friendlier than ever. The Official Ubuntu Book, Third Edition, will get you up and running quickly.

Written by expert leading Ubuntu community members, this book covers all you need to know to make the most of Ubuntu 8.04 LTS, whether you’re a home user, small business user, server administrator, or programmer. The authors cover Ubuntu 8.04 LTS from start to finish: installation, configuration, desktop productivity, games, management, support, and much more. Among the many new topics covered in this edition: the new Edubuntu and the brand new Kubuntu Remix including KDE 4.

The Official Ubuntu Book, Third Edition, covers standard desktop applications, from word processing, spreadsheets, Web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, music, video, and games to software development, databases, and server applications. In addition, you’ll
  • Learn how to customize Ubuntu for home, small business, school, government, and enterprise environments
  • Learn how to quickly update Ubuntu to accommodate new versions and new applications
  • Find up-to-the-minute troubleshooting advice from Ubuntu users worldwide
  • Learn Ubuntu Server installation and administration, including LVM and RAID implementation
  • Learn about Edubuntu—Ubuntu optimized specifically for the classroom

The DVD includes the complete Ubuntu Linux operating system for installation on PC platforms, preconfigured with an outstanding desktop environment for both home and business computing. It can be used to install other complete variants of Ubuntu including Kubuntu (with the KDE environment), and Edubuntu (for use in schools).

About the Author

Benjamin Mako Hill is a Seattle native working out of Boston, Massachusetts. Mako is a long-time free software developer and advocate. He was part of the founding Ubuntu team and one of the first employees of Canonical Ltd. In addition to some technical work, his charge at Canonical was to help grow the Ubuntu development and user community during the project’s first year. Mako is currently a fellow at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, a senior researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a contractor for the One Laptop per Child project. Mako has continued his involvement with Ubuntu as a member of the Community Council governance board, through development work, and through projects such as this book.

Corey Burger lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and is a long-term user and contributor to Ubuntu. A member of the Ubuntu Canada and the Community Council, he has been involved with Ubuntu since its first release. Corey is currently a geography student and has most recently worked for a Canadian Linux company. He also contributes to OpenStreetMap and works to promote Ubuntu on Vancouver Island. Corey speaks regularly about Ubuntu, OpenStreetMap, and open source to a wide variety of audiences.

Jonathan Jesse is a full-time Microsoft Windows consultant specializing in IT lifecycle management products. He has a strong interest in Linux and open source software focusing on Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Since Jonathan is not a developer or a programmer, he struggled to find a way to give back to the open source community. Beginning with the Hoary Hedgehog release, he joined the Ubuntu Documentation Team by proofreading and submitting patches to the mailing list, then worked on the Kubuntu documents. Currently, Jonathan is involved in working on bugs for the Kubuntu Team, the Ubuntu Wiki, and the Laptop Testing Team. Ubuntu and Kubuntu have given Jonathan a way to give back to the community without having to be a developer, and he encourages everyone to come help him out.

Jono Bacon ( is the community leader for Ubuntu. Previously he was a consultant for the United Kingdom’s government-funded OpenAdvantage ( center in England, where he worked with businesses, education and charitable organizations, and individuals to help them move to open source software and open standards. He is the cocreator of the popular LugRadio podcast.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

As we write this, it is two years since we penned the first edition of The Official Ubuntu Book and a year since the second. The last year has seen Ubuntu continue its explosive growth. Updating this book drives this fact home in striking ways. For example, the number of users and posts have nearly doubled since the last edition of this book a year ago. Again. The number of officially supported flavors of Ubuntu have been added to. Again. Once again, we feel blessed that The Official Ubuntu Book has been able to benefit from, and perhaps in a small way even contribute to, that success. Ultimately, that success paved the way for the second and now the third edition of the book that you're reading now.

In the process, this book, like Ubuntu, is beginning to mature. Like Ubuntu, we have now put together our piece a few times and are beginning to get more comfortable. Our job as authors, like that of the Ubuntu developers, now involves more updating and polishing than it used to. Distributed under a free license, a once-risky book on a once-risky operating system is, just two short years later, as close to a sure thing as an author, publisher, and if we have done our job well, a reader, could hope for.

And yet with success comes responsibility to our readers and to our users with high expectations. Ubuntu's success is built in part of maturity and excellence, and it cannot sacrifice these qualities if it will succeed. We cannot either. Our job as writers is complicated because we need to accurately reflect and represent both while catering to an increasing and increasingly diverse group of users.

As we've noted in the prefaces to previous editions of this book, being Official has carried with it a set of rights and responsibilities. Our book's title means that we must attempt to reflect and represent the whole Ubuntu community. While we, as authors, are expected to put ourselves into the book, it is understood that it can never be to the detriment of the values, principles, technologies, or structures of the Ubuntu community.

Doing this has been complicated as Ubuntu has grown. In the second edition, we added a chapter on Edubuntu, which is updated in this edition because the Ubuntu community has grown to include this new project. In each revision of this book, we have needed to add to the list of related projects, tools, and community initiatives. As the Ubuntu community grows, it is impossible to give a complete accounting of what Ubuntu has to offer. Creating a summary requires some hard decisions. At the end of the day, we are constrained by page count and our own limited schedules.

Meanwhile, as with the first and second editions, we needed to write this book about a new release of Ubuntu while that version was under active development and was being redesigned, rethought, and rebuilt. Every day, Ubuntu grows in different, unpredictable ways, and this growth has increased exponentially with the size of the community and the diversity of the userbase. Our book's development process had to both match and track this process as our content was crafted, rewritten, adjusted, and allowed to mature itself.

As in the previous edition, the contributors to this book go well beyond those listed on the book's cover. As in the first two editions, the recipes included in Chapter 6 have been elicited from and designed in consultation with the community. But while the community contributions are sometimes less visible in other chapters, they are no less present. Invisible to most readers, dozens of members of the community left their mark on different parts of the text of this book. Although this degree of participation led to a writing process that was as hectic, and at times frustrating, as the process that builds Ubuntu, we hope we can remind readers of the level of quality that this process inspires in our book's subject. In the places where we achieve this, we have earned our book's title. With that goal in mind, we look forward to future versions of Ubuntu and editions of this book wrought through the same community-driven process.

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