Submitted on 10/21/2009
Book Title: The Official Ubuntu Book - Third Edition
Authors: Benjamin Mako Hill, with Corey Burger, Jonathan Jesse, and Jono Bacon
ISBN Number: 978-0-13-713668-1
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Reviewed By: Gregg Aronson
Ubuntu 8 (Hardy Heron) introduced some changes in the way some of the configuration are used (or not used), that differ from their traditional usage. For the regular Linux hacker, this can sometimes pose a bit of a problem. However, in a reasonably successful attempt to be user friendly to the average computer user, Ubuntu has continued to provide lots of user friendly GUI tools. The tools include installation, configuration, and application launchers.
The Official Ubuntu Book does a good job of explaining where to find and how to use the various tools. I found that before I started using the book, I was sometimes frustrated by not being able to easily perform the usual command line tweaks that I usually associate with Linux. This book does a good job of solving that problem.
Chapter 6, "Support and Typical Problems" is a very useful troubleshooting chapter that is set up in a FAQ format.
The book also includes some insight into some of the other flavors of Ubuntu Linux, such as Kubuntu and Edubuntu.
Also touched upon are Xubuntu (a stripped down, lean, fast, version that is suitable to run on older machines, like my old laptop), Gobuntu (an entirely free software derivitive of Ubuntu), and Ubuntu studio (an Ubuntu derivitive optimized for creation of multimedia). These last three items are brief references that explain what they do and where to find them.
I think the book is useful and generally nice to have around if you are using Ubuntu and want to navigate around without a lot of command line hacking.