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A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux (Versions 8.10 and 8.04) (2nd Edition) Paperback – January 9, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0137003884 ISBN-10: 0137003889 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1272 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (January 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137003889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137003884
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for the First Edition of A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®


“I am so impressed by how Mark Sobell can approach a complex topic in such an understandable manner. His command examples are especially useful in providing a novice (or even an advanced) administrator with a cookbook on how to accomplish real-world tasks on Linux. He is truly an inspired technical writer!”

—George Vish II, Senior Education Consultant, Hewlett-Packard Company


“Overall, I think it’s a great, comprehensive Ubuntu book that’ll be a valuable resource for people of all technical levels.”

—John Dong, Ubuntu Forum Council Member, Backports Team Leader


“The JumpStart sections really offer a quick way to get things up and running, allowing you to dig into the details of the book later.”

—Scott Mann, Aztek Networks


“Ubuntu is gaining popularity at the rate alcohol did during Prohibition, and it’s great to see a well-known author write a book on the latest and greatest version. Not only does it contain Ubuntu-specific information, but it also touches on general computer-related topics, which will help the average computer user to better understand what’s going on in the background. Great work, Mark!”

—Daniel R. Arfsten, Pro/ENGINEER Drafter/Designer


“I read a lot of Linux technical information every day, but I’m rarely impressed by tech books. I usually prefer online information sources instead. Mark Sobell’s books are a notable exception. They’re clearly written, technically accurate, comprehensive, and actually enjoyable to read.”

—Matthew Miller, Senior Systems Analyst/Administrator, BU Linux Project, Boston University Office of Information Technology


“I would so love to be able to use this book to teach a class about not just Ubuntu or Linux but about computers in general. It is thorough and well written with good illustrations that explain important concepts

for computer usage.”

—Nathan Eckenrode, New York Local Community Team


“Overall, A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® by Mark G. Sobell provides all of the information a beginner to intermediate user of Linux would need to be productive. The inclusion of the Live DVD of the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu makes it easy for the user to test-drive Linux without affecting his installed OS. I have no doubts that you will consider this book money well spent.”

—Ray Lodato, Slashdot contributor,


“This is well written, clear, comprehensive information for the Linux user of any type, whether trying Ubuntu on for the first time and wanting to know a little about it, or using the book as a very good reference when doing something more complicated like setting up a server. This book’s value goes well beyond its purchase price and it’ll make a great addition to the Linux section of your bookshelf.”

—Linc Fessenden, Host of The LinuxLink TechShow,


“The author has done a very good job at clarifying such a detail-oriented operating system. I have extensive Unix and Windows experience and this text does an excellent job at bridging the gaps between Linux, Windows, and Unix. I highly recommend this book to both ‘newbs’ and experienced users. Great job!”

—Mark Polczynski, Information Technology Consultant


“When I first started working with Linux just a short 10 years or so ago, it was a little more difficult than now to get going. . . . Now, someone new to the community has a vast array of resources available on the web, or if they are inclined to begin with Ubuntu, they can literally find almost every single thing they will need in the single volume of Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®.


 “I’m sure this sounds a bit like hyperbole. Everything a person would need to know? Obviously not everything, but this book, weighing in at just under 1200 pages, covers so much so thoroughly that there won’tbe much left out. From install to admin, networking, security, shell scripting, package management, and a host of other topics, it is all there. GUI and command line tools are covered. There is not really any wasted space or fluff, just a huge amount of information. There are screen shots when appropriate but they do not take up an inordinate amount of space. This book is information-dense.”

—JR Peck, Editor,


Praise for Other Books by Mark G. Sobell


“I currently own one of your books, A Practical Guide to Linux®. I believe this book is one of the most comprehensive and, as the title says, practical guides to Linux I have ever read. I consider myself a novice and I come back to this book over and over again.”

—Albert J. Nguyen


“Thank you for writing a book to help me get away from Windows XP and to never touch Windows Vista. The book is great; I am learning a lot of new concepts and commands. Linux is definitely getting easier

to use.”

—James Moritz


“I have been wanting to make the jump to Linux but did not have the guts to do so—until I saw your familiarly titled A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® at the bookstore. I picked up a copy and am eagerly looking forward to regaining my freedom.”

—Carmine Stoffo, Machine and Process Designer to pharmaceutical industry


“I am currently reading A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® and am finally understanding the true power of the command line. I am new to Linux and your book is a treasure.”

—Juan Gonzalez

From the Back Cover

The Most Complete, Easy-to-Follow Guide to Ubuntu Linux


Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®, Second Edition, isn’t just the most thorough and up-to-date reference to installing, configuring, and working with Ubuntu. It also provides comprehensive server coverage you won’t find in any other Ubuntu book.


The fully updated JumpStart sections help you get complex servers running quickly. Whatever your questions may be, the completely revamped index gives you even faster access to the answers you’re searching for. And a brand new chapter on Perl programming teaches you the basics of this powerful system administration language.


Sobell walks you through every feature and technique you’ll need, from installing Ubuntu to working with GNOME, Samba, exim4, Apache, DNS, NIS, LDAP, ufw, firestarter, and iptables. His exceptionally clear explanations demystify everything from system security to Windows file/printer sharing. You’ll find full chapters on running Ubuntu from the command line and GUI, administering systems and security, setting up networks and Internet servers, and much more. 


Along the way, you’ll learn both the “hows” and the “whys” of Ubuntu. Sobell knows every Linux nook and cranny: He’s taught hundreds of thousands of readers–and never forgets what it’s like to be new to
Linux. Whether you’re a user, administrator, or programmer, this book gives you all you need–and more.


The world’s most practical Ubuntu Linux book is now even more useful!


This book delivers

  • Hundreds of easy-to-follow, easy-to-use examples
  • Updated JumpStarts for setting up Samba, Apache, Mail, FTP, NIS, OpenSSH, DNS, and other complex servers
  • Deeper coverage of the command line, GNOME GUI, and desktop customization
  • Coverage of crucial Ubuntu topics such as sudo and the Upstart init daemon
  • More detailed, usable coverage of Internet server configuration, including Apache, exim4, and DNS/BIND
  • More state-of-the-art security techniques, including firewall setup using ufw, firestarter, and iptables,
    plus a full chapter on OpenSSH
  • Deeper coverage of essential system and network administration tasks–from managing users to
    CUPS printing, configuring LANs to building a kernel
  • Complete instructions on keeping Ubuntu systems up-to-date using aptitude, Synaptic, and the Software Sources window
  • And much more...including a 500+ term glossary and five detailed appendixes 

Includes DVD!  Get the full version of the Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) release!

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Customer Reviews

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Now I just reference this book, which remains on my desk at all times.
I am sure the book is a good one for somebody out there somewhere, but for me, it was a bit of an overkill.
W. Lucas
Just what I was looking for -- lots of technical content in a very readable and usable style.
Bill H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By R. Lodato on March 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Finding a single book that encompasses what you want to learn can be difficult. Most cover a few portions of a subject in depth and skim over (or omit) others. Other books will cover each topic at about the same level: high enough to give an impression of what can be done, but not with enough depth to do it without a lot of effort. Mark G. Sobell's "A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux" is a single volume that gives the reader enough information to effectively install, configure and run workstations and servers using Ubuntu Linux. He has come the closest I have seen to containing all of the necessary information without being too shallow. A DVD with the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu in a directly bootable form is included with the book.

With over two decades of experience related to Unix and Linux, Mark G. Sobell has authored almost two dozen books on the subject. I had previously read and reviewed his book "A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Second Edition)" and found it the highest quality book I had yet read on Linux. This, his latest book, bears many similarities to the other text, including its high quality. The overall structure is like that of a textbook, providing a summary and exercises at the end of each chapter, as well as copious cross-references.

"A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux" is broken up into five parts containing 27 chapters in all. Each of the chapters provides Jumpstart sections to help you install and configure each server quickly, and enough detail to handle the more common configuration changes. Part I uses two chapters to provide an overview of, and step-by-step instructions for, installing Linux.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. Fesenden on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Usually, when I read through a book of this size, I find that it's full of "fluff". What really struck me on this book is there is just page after page after chapter after chapter of genuinely useful information. I have seen other readers reviews about how comprehensive this book is but you really don't know the magnitude until you actually have read through it.

As a systems administrator, I naturally gravitated toward the chapters that deal with that kind of thing (chpts 13+). I found the information to be clear and correct and not at all too technical sounding as books dealing with such subjects can quickly become. So impressed was I by the read that I went back through all the early chapters as well. There is a plethora of really useful information there, something for everyone no matter what level of Linux user you may be.

While this book is written primarily for Ubuntu users, and even includes the installation media, the vast majority of the information can be applied to any Linux, save for package installation. This is well written, clear, comprehensive information for the Linux user of any type, weather trying Ubuntu on for the first time and wanting to know a little about it, or using the book as a very good reference when doing something more complicated like setting up a server. This book's value goes well beyond it's purchase price and it'll make a great addition to the Linux section of your bookshelf.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By CrazyFool on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've decided on Debian/Ubuntu Linux as your distribution and you're not already a Linux expert then do yourself justice and purchase a copy of this book. It's thorough and comprehensive; all the while it's insightful and intriguing. The author does a competent job fleshing out concepts while not drowning the reader in distribution specific jargon (which is a real weakness in some Linux texts). The chapters are logically structured working up to more advanced topics and the author never insults the readers intelligence.

I have used Unix/Linux off and on since 1999 and this book brought me back over to Linux. I've never been a particularly advanced user and I always hated searching online for hours trying to figure out how to do things in Linux. Now I just reference this book, which remains on my desk at all times. This is THE book to own for ordinary users and systems administrators alike.
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful By C. Freeman on April 14, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am hardly a newbie to Linux, having spent 20 years as a system and network administrator, taken three years of courses on Unix and Linux administration, and run Linux desktop systems and servers at work for a number of years. But now my perspective on Linux has changed: I have purchased for my personal use a netbook running Ubuntu Linux. Because I had used Sobell's books on Unix, Linux, and Macintosh OS X for years at work, I ordered his Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux as my reference to that OS. From the perspective of one who "just wants it to work," as the users at my jobs always have, I am quite disappointed not in Ubuntu but in Sobell's Ubuntu book. I want to use Ubuntu on my netbook exactly as I use my two Macintosh laptops: at home, for personal use, on a combined wired and wireless network at home, wirelessly in public places, for e-mail, Web-surfing, online ordering, and so on. For these purposes, I have no interest in using the command line, although I am totally familiar and comfortable with it from a professional perspective. Sobell seemingly is obsessed with the command line and pays little attention to the GUIs Ubuntu offers (GNOME, KDE, and, in the case of my netbook, Remix). His "Tour of the Ubuntu Desktop" is cursory at best, and his screenshots don't show what I see on my system even when I switch from Remix to the Classic (GNOME) desktop, and yes, I have a correct version of Ubuntu for this edition of his book--8.04. He mentions OpenOffice, with which I and presumably other users will spend a great deal of time, only in passing--twice in 1200 pages. I don't need a complete review of networking, with which I am thoroughly familiar from my work, but information on how to get my Ubuntu netbook working on a protected wireless network.Read more ›
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