View Full Version : Best Ubuntu "how to" book ?

May 21st, 2007, 07:28 PM
I'm a beginner and I'm willing to spend the time required to learn. I'm looking for recommendations on the best "Ubuntu for beginners" type of book. The Ubuntu bible looked good and progressively in-depth. also "Beginning Ubuntu Linux" and... most of the others, I have no idea, please help.
FYI im looking for a book since most of the instruction I'm finding online seems geared towards task-specific solutions for specific problems rather than a broader ground up introduction to the concepts and functionality of Linux. It's great that i can just paste the string of console instructions required to make something work from someones "how to " thread. I just dont have the slightest idea what I'm doing, what I'm doing it to, how to undo it or how to do it again without finding the same thread.
-thanks in advance and sorry for rambling

May 21st, 2007, 08:09 PM
if it matters, my primary rationalization for going Linux is to build a media server/mythtv box for my home network.

May 21st, 2007, 08:15 PM
Are you interested more in a Ubuntu specific book or a Linux concepts book that more broadly applies?

May 21st, 2007, 08:20 PM
i think something leaning towards Ubuntu linux. where there might be ambiguity I would rather that the book err towards what I will be using.

May 21st, 2007, 08:21 PM
If you are interested specifically in ubuntu...

When I first started with ubuntu I purchased "Ubuntu Hacks." "The official Ubuntu Guide" is a good book for concepts and background on ubuntu. The problem with both of these books is that I believe the focus on Dapper (6.06) while the latest release is 7.04, but I'm sure much of them apply, especially the conceptual parts (and there is nothing wrong with running dapper - it is still supported and will be for a while).

I've also perused "Ubuntu Linux Bible" in the bookstore and it looks pretty good too.

May 21st, 2007, 08:27 PM
Hi. I'm reasonably new to Linux and Ubuntu myself. However, I have had experience with a number of Operating Systems (OSs) including Unix. I have been looking for a while and have not found a single book that covers all the bases well. I have a few books that I have found helpful and a suggestion. If your strictly looking for a single book review, what follows may not be what your looking for, however, I offer it and hope you find it useful.

The suggestion first. When it comes to learning nothing beats doing. I assume you have Ubuntu installed, if not, do it even if you set it up as a dual boot machine. Ubuntu is a great operating system, but even a great operating system can run into problems or require the user to setup extra stuff to make the system feel like home. Performing these tasks, even though they are task oriented this will provide an education in how to use Ubuntu.

Now for the books. I assume your using a desktop version as oppose to a server version of Ubuntu. Most if not all the things you will need to do can be done from a GUI (Graphical User Interface) windows based environment. However, it is important to understand how to do stuff from the commandline. Having this knowledge is especially true when something goes wrong and you need to recover from a disaster. To understand the command-line (command-prompt) you should know "Bash". "Linux Phrasebook" by "Scott Granneman" from the "Developers Library" I found to be a good start to learning the command-line. It's short and to the point. Given the power of Bash you will eventually want to create some shell scripts. Simple programs written using Bash command language. I found "Linux Shell Scripting with Bash" by "Ken O. Burtch" also from "Developers Library" useful.

I also have two books that cover task oriented stuff which I found usful, not just for the actual tasks that they help you perform but also as an introduction to various areas of the OS. Once each of these books introduced an solution I was able to then use the OS documentation to fill in the holes. The first "Ubuntu Hacks" by "J. Oxer", "k. Rankin" & "B Childers" from "O'Reilly" was usful for what it covered but due to it's size didn't cover as much as I wanted. The next "Ubuntu Unleashed" by "A Hudson" and "P. Hudson" from "Sams" covered more and I prefered their discussion surrounding the task more. However, I found the included dvd best used as a coster for a coffee mug.

Hope this is useful and best of luck in learning.

May 21st, 2007, 08:28 PM
thanks. I think ill spend an hour or two over at Borders and test a few...

May 21st, 2007, 08:40 PM
thanks. I think ill spend an hour or two over at Borders and test a few...

That's what I did. I also looked at some general linux books like "Linux Desktop Hacks" and "Linux Server Hacks." I actually preferred the more task oriented approach with a little bit of why and what for mixed in. These books (and the forums and internet guides) opened me up to the possibilities, adn then I really started learning on my own as I tried to accomplish things - and that's where the most learning comes from. I strongly recommend you look a few books on linux shell scripting and command line things as well. You don't have to have them, but I find them more efficient, and highly transportable between environments (gnome, kde, other distros, etc.).

May 21st, 2007, 08:50 PM
When I first got into Linux, I used Ubuntu, and much like my philosophy when getting into some new aspect of web design, etc, I bought a book on it. However, even though I got one that I hoped would be fairly technical ("Ubuntu Hacks") I was very disappointed. I looked at a few others, and they all just teach a few Unix fundamentals and then go on to tell you a bunch of tips that are obvious to anyone who knows how to click buttons and menus.

Bottom line is: Your answers are all online. There's nothing you'll get out of a book from my experience, unless you're interested in the finer points of the bash shell. The more useful books out there regarding Linux seem to be for system administration (think servers) and not desktop linux.

May 21st, 2007, 08:54 PM
I know you were looking for an actual book, but this online guide has proved very helpful to me. I highly recommend it... http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu:Feisty

May 21st, 2007, 11:34 PM
thanks for the link, heres the thing though...
most of what im finding is link lists of solutions to specific problems. of scattered and piecemeal "lessons" on the basics. none it of looks BAD per se its just that I dont see anything, well organised, that starts at the VERY beginning and follows through to more advanced usage. If im missing something please let me know, free would be nice, but not if it takes twice as long to learn what i need.

May 21st, 2007, 11:51 PM
the videos from that last link are a GREAT idea btw. there are mainly three ways of learning
and each persons responsiveness to each differs. The best methods incorporating all three. I dont suppose there are any Flash based tutorials for command line stuff etc?
I have to say that it takes me a fraction of the to learn something from doing it myself that it does from reading someone else's instruction. Watching being second best and reading last. I envy my friends who sit with just a book, read it , put it away and then go do it .
I dont have any friends who are familiar with Linux or I might be able to learn with them, something I've always been able to do in the past.

thanks again to everyone who got back to me, i have to say the quick (and useful) responses to my first forum post speak really well of the Ubuntu community. :p

May 21st, 2007, 11:53 PM
Well, its pretty much useless to you at this point in time, but I'm in the middle of writing my book (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=448312 ). It probably won't be useful to you until I get to Chapter 4.