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Ubuntu for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Get-Things-Done Guide Fourth Edition Edition

45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593272579
ISBN-10: 159327257X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rickford Grant is the author of Linux for Non-Geeks and Linux Made Easy. He has been a computer operating system maniac for more than 20 years, from his early days with an Atari XL600 to his current Linux machines.

Phil Bull is an author of the official Ubuntu documentation, and a member of the GNOME documentation project. He started helping people with computers in his early teens, and has been an open-source contributor since 2005. Phil currently spends his time studying astrophysics in sunny Manchester, UK.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; Fourth Edition edition (July 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159327257X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272579
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Dean F. on July 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
EDIT-- This review is now VERY dated. There is a more up-to-date version of the book, but I have not read it.

I have toyed occasionally with both Red Hat and Ubuntu over the years, but I definitely meet the definition of "non-geek." Installing these operating systems before always required some degree of struggle, and not uncommonly (especially with some earlier distros) I would simply fail. But that has changed. The current 8.04 version of Ubuntu partnered with this book is frankly outstanding.
First, a word about the operating system: this Ubuntu distro, code-named Hardy Heron, may well be the one that has finally made Linux as easy as Windows. I had always previously laughed at such claims from Linux enthusiasts, but this distro impresses me. It is the one that may at last enable me to defenestrate completely. And this guidebook is the perfect match, using normal language. One thing that it does very well is explaining what the few text commands that it uses actually do, instead of just instructing the reader to type it into the command line and leaving you wondering what exactly those "magic words" meant. There is a single short chapter about using the command line, but 99% of what the guidebook leads you through uses the GUI, so if the command line intimidates you never fear.
I installed Ubuntu 8.04 dual-boot with Windows XP on my laptop effortlessly. Not a single thing went awry. The new partitioning tool that is used during the installation is a great improvement over those in any of the (few) other Linux distros I've seen. The book follows step by step. My laptop is about 4 years old, so I am sure that a newer laptop may have hardware that is not as well supported and effortless. But on mine everything just worked, including my wireless internet.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Miss Earthling on September 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was very uncomfortable with the idea of using linux but I wanted to try something new and this book really eases you into the process of learning to use linux without being overwhelming. It explains everything in easy to understand 'non-geek' language and is a good starting point if you want to learn more about linux and are a traditional windows user. After reading this book, I purchased many ubuntu and other linux distro books to help me understand linux more but I do not think I would have understood them that well if I had not read this book first. I would highly recommend it to "newbies".
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Triniman on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Even if you're a pretty good user of Windows or Apple's OS X, you can still be intimidated by the prospect of learning Linux if you dive in too deeply with the wrong book for your level of understanding. The trick for most hobbyists who are reluctant to give Linux a try is to know where to safely begin, where one won't get overwhelmed with so much technical jargon that one will get turned off by the experience.

For those new to the Linux experience, Rickford Grant has written a series of books for No Starch Press entitled Ubuntu For Non-Geeks, now in its third edition. I would strongly urge the medium or expertly skilled Linux users to pick up this book, if only to recommend it to their friends who are at the beginner level and for the beginners to pick it up without hesitation. This is a beginner's book and the author makes no bones about it, but you will be surprised at how much you will be comfortable with towards the end.

For years now, computer users have been hearing about Linux and its various distributions. In the last few years, Linux has made the jump from the domain of server operators to users' desktops, replacing Windows. If you work in an office environment with a version of Linux, you already have a leg up on the curious multitudes of people who are still a little too intimidated to give Linux a try.

One of my relatives works in a office with Novell's Suse Linux instead of Windows on the desktop. Another one works with a Linux desktop and Linux Terminal Server Project on the back end. With LTSP, if a terminal computer fails, you simply unplug it and plug in a new system, connect to the server and carry on working. My point is, Linux is more popular in both the home and work environments than most people realize.

Canonical Ltd.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rhiannon on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I became interested in ubuntu after hearing about it from some of my friends working tech support. While I am not exactly a "non geek" I am totally clueless as to the world of Linux, and was always a little afraid of it because of the whole idea of doing everything thru a command line, which I have not done regularly since the DOS days and Windows 3.11 (my first desktop computer). While I found Ubuntu's forums helpful for specific problems, slogging thru them for the sake of general education was a bit too time consuming for me, so I started looking at and buying books on basic Ubuntu. I currently own Keir Thomas' Beginning Ubuntu Linux, Ubuntu Hacks, and this book, the Third edition of Ubuntu for Non-Geeks. While Keir Thomas' Beginning book is in depth and covers a bit more in the way of troubleshooting each step, it's kind of clinical and reads like a text book. For Non-Geeks on the other hand, seems a bit more of a basic approach, has some very good step by step projects to get you comfortable doing each of the different tasks along the way. After getting a little ways into both books I found myself thinking that even my parents could run Linux with Ubuntu for Non-Geeks in their hands. It really is directed at the average "i just turn the computer on and go to the internet" user. I'm sure there are still some people out there who would struggle, but I enjoy the authors attempt to make the reader less nervous about each step, and including some "hey now that you know how to do this lets have some fun with it" projects. If you are looking for more of an authoritative source approach that is still somewhat basic, go with the Keir Thomas book, but if you want to be talked thru it the way that really nice patient tech support guy would, this is the book for you.
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