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The Official Ubuntu Book

© July 2006 Anthony Lawrence

I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Mark Shuttleworth (the founder of Ubuntu). His charitable work doesn't get the headlines that Gates and Buffet grab, but it is important and laudatory, and he began doing it almost immediately after acquiring his fortune - he didn't start giving away money to counter bad publicity or because he had more than he could possibly ever use. The name Ubuntu means something like "I am because we are" or "humanity toward others". Mark Shuttleworth obviously lives by that word..

The Ubuntu Foundation (which Mark seeded with an initial $10 million) will make sure that Canonical Ltd (Mark's company that is behind Ubuntu) can keep paying its developers no matter what. Ubuntu is not a for-profit enterprise, but it's going to have sticking power.

I suppose there must be plenty of Ubuntu users who know nothing about any of that - but it still impresses me.

Anyway, on to the book. This is the "Official Guide", but definitely isn't the dry tome you might expect if, for example RedHat had written it. This flows well, is chatty and light, doesn't talk down to you, and is full of tips and suggestions. As you surely can imagine, it's hard for me to read yet another chapter on Installing Linux, but I enjoyed reading this because of its light yet informative style. A very long chapter deals with possible problems - not necessarily Ubuntu problems, but anything that might interfere with your use of it. That chapter was particularly well done.

The pre-release copy I reviewed still had some structural problems: there were some pages repeated later in the book - probably still shuffling things around and missed killing off the old text. No matter: for once that sudden feeling of deja vu was true.

This should be released in August of 2006; I'd recommend picking it up if you are running Ubuntu.

Now in it's 8th Edition.

Tony Lawrence 2006/07/04 Rating: 5.0

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