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The Official Ubuntu Book (4th Edition) 4th Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0137021208
ISBN-10: 0137021208
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Editorial Reviews


Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards 2008 Favorite Linux Book, Honorable Mention. (linuxjournal.com)

“. . . this is an item of choice for any serious Ubuntu collection or software designer’s library.”
—Jim Cox, Midwest Book Review

“. . . 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, Arsgeek.com

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

About the Author

Benjamin Mako Hill is a Seattle native working out of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Mako is a long-time free software developer and advocate. He  was part of the founding Ubuntu team, one of the first employees of Canonical, Ltd., and coauthor of The Official Ubuntu Server Book. 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, and a researcher and Ph.D. Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 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.

Matthew Helmke
is an active member of the Ubuntu Linux community as an Administrator and Forum Council member for the Ubuntu Forums (http://www.ubuntuforums.org) and coauthored the most recent editions of The Official Ubuntu Book. Matthew first used Unix in 1987 while studying Lisp on a Vax at the university. He has run a business using only free software, has consulted, and is currently working on a master's degree in Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona while working as the senior technical writer for iPlant Collaborative, a project creating software to help biologists do genetic research.

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.



Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 4 edition (July 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0137021208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0137021208
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,122,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you are looking to learn about Ubuntu, then the official book would seem the obvious place to start. Ubuntu insiders (including founder Mark Shuttleworth) present a rich and readable history of their labors, as well as insight into the structure and philosophy of their wing of the GNU/Linux community. Also, as you would expect, the book contains a full OS distribution on disc.

Unfortunately, the 4th Edition has some significant flaws. Clearly written by committee, the authors shift from speaking to computer newbies in one paragraph to veteran sysadmins in the next, not always pausing to properly explain new material. Further, the layout of the book simply makes no sense: chapter 10 "introduces" Ubuntu variants which were each individually covered by chapters 8, 9, and 5 - yes, in that order!

Never the less, this book does its primary job quite well - chapters 2 through 4 provide one of the finest introductions to desktop GNU/Linux currently in print, backed up with a fairly thorough troubleshooting section and a decent command line primer. In short, it is a great book for new users to outgrow... and to those who prefer the reassurance of a printed manual, I recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I've been using Linux for a decade, but have only used Ubuntu for several years, my earlier favourite distros being RPM based. The Official Ubuntu Handbook provides enough information for someone reasonably competent in using computers to install and become productive with Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Edubuntu and does an excellent job of informing the reader of how they can become involved in the Ubuntu Community.

While familiar with the Open Source environment, I still enjoyed reading the book's introduction to Open Source, Linux and the successful Ubuntu experiment. Chapter 7 builds on Chapter 1, providing detailed information on the Ubuntu Community, Ubuntu Governance and the various avenues for involvement within the community. The Ubuntu related projects in chapter 10 I also found interesting, i.e. the officially supported derivatives such as Kubuntu (covered in detail in chapter 8) and Edubuntu (chapter 9), the server edition (chapter 5), the recognised derivatives (Xubuntu, Mythbuntu and Ubuntu Studio, etc) along with the infrastructure projects incorporated in Launchpad.

Chapters 2 to 4 walk you through how to install Ubuntu, how to use the Desktop and advanced usage and management of Ubuntu and comprise about 20% of the book.

The best description of the various uses of apt-cache and apt-get I've seen to date are in the Package Management section of the Ubuntu Server chapter (chapter 5), so I recommend desktop users read at least this part of the server chapter.

Kubuntu (my current Linux distro favourite) gets its own dedicated coverage of 44 pages in chapter 8.
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Format: Paperback
Helpful but very beginner oriented. I give it 4 stars for beginners but probably fewer for more advanced techs like me. One of the newer ones though so up to date.
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Format: Paperback
The Official Ubuntu Book is useful primarily as an introduction to and overview of the cultural phenomenon that is Ubuntu. From this perspective, I found chapter 1 "Introducing Ubuntu" the most useful and informative. Don't expect this 461-page book to be a comprehensive reference source (which one might assume from its size) -- it's not. As a reference work, it's useful mainly for those without any prior experience with Linux, and even there, I would recommend Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference, by Keir Thomas -- it's briefer, cheaper (free, if you get the PDF version), more informative, and better written.

That said, I don't regret purchasing The Official Ubuntu Book, which provides me with a new perspective on this very popular Linux distribution, as well as on how GNU/Linux distributions have evolved.
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