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Customer Review

This is perhaps one of the most fun Linux books I've had the pleasure of reading. It's called Ubuntu Linux For Non-Geeks by Rickford Grant, and the focus is on getting Ubuntu up and running, and *getting things done*. Quirky, comical, and best of all... practical.

Contents: Becoming a Penguinista; Wading and Diving; A New Place to Call Home; More Than Webbed Feet; Rounding Out the Bird; A Tidy Next; Dressing Up the Bird; Simple Kitten Ways; Dining on Tarballs, Binaries, Java, and Even RPMs; Gutenbird; Font Feathered Frenzy; Polyglot Penguins; Penguins Back at Work; Brush-Wielding Penguins; Tux Rocks; Pluggin' In the Penguin; Couch Penguins; Defending the Nest; Ubuntu Desktop CDs for AMD64 and PowerPC Users; Checking the Integrity of Downloaded ISOs; Resources; Index

As you can see from the chapter titles, there's a lot of tongue-in-cheek (beak?) humor that keeps the subject matter entertaining and approachable. He starts off with a quick history of Ubuntu Linux, as well as how to install it (both live CD and permanent). From there, he goes into the various areas where you live in Windows and shows the comparable software/configuration options in Ubuntu. If someone was completely at home in Windows but had never touched Linux, this would be all the book they'd need to make 80% or more of the transition. This goes both for manipulating the operating system (desktop settings, installing software, etc.) and using software for common tasks (such as OpenOffice.org to replace Office, GIMP to replace Windows-based graphical software, etc.). And with each chapter, there are a number of "projects" where he walks you through the installation and/or steps necessary to do what he just talked about. The book is written in an *extremely* conversational tone, so it's hard not to "hear" the author talking to you as you read. Great stuff...

I found this book useful in learning about the "best of breed" or "default" software used in the Ubuntu environment. For instance, there's XSane for scanning, gPhoto2 for digital camera work, etc. Normally I get a bit frustrated with Linux books that spend a majority of the pages talking about software that *runs* on Linux, not Linux itself. While this book does the same thing, it was far less intrusive than most. I think it's because it was all focused back on making the transition from daily use of Windows to daily use of Ubuntu. Regardless, it was a two-in-one deal... excellent tutorial information with very nice reference material on what you could/should be looking for...

As I continue my Ubuntu learning, this book will become pretty frayed, I think... I expect it to become a fast friend.
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