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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
» Number of reviews : 5 - viewing 10 Per Page
Last Review by 60s TV Batman - posted: 06-10-2013 01:57 AM
Context: This is a desktop review. I want my operating system to 'just work'. I do not enjoy wasting hours (or days) of my life chasing down stuff that doesn't work.
I run 9 workspaces and I prefer the way Unity displays them, the tools it provides to switch between them, and to move things from one desktop to another. 12.10 made improvements in this area, and 13.04 has made a few more.
Unity Tweak Tool should be included with the download as it's just so damn handy. Definitely grab this from the software centre.
Ubuntu say 13.04 is faster. I haven't noticed any difference in speed but I'm running a very powerful machine with SSDs and lots and lots and lots of RAM - so even Ubuntu 12.04 was fast for me.
Overall it's the polish of Ubuntu 13.04 that appeals to me. I run several distros (including the much applauded Mint/Cinnamon combo), and none manage to pull off the finish of U13.04. The others feel and look old fashioned in my view.
I've had to reboot a couple of times, when the software updater has made changes that required it. I haven't had to reboot because something crashed. For me, U13.04 has been more stable than 12.10, which in turn was more stable that 12.04 LTS (which shouldn't be the case but that's how I've found it).
Everything just worked after install. I did have to install the compatibility pack to get access to Windows fonts (need `em for work).
I'm running the following software, all of which work very well indeed: Gimp (2.8), Shutter, Darktable, Agave, Inkscape, Krita, Filezilla, Libre Office (4), Virtualbox (4.2.12), Chromium, Opera, Firefox, Thunderbird, various text editors, Dropbox and the HP app thingy that manages my printer and tells me to mortgage my house and sell my children so I can buy more ink cartridges.
I have tethered my iPhone to my PC and currently use it to connect to the web as landline, cable and fibre are currently not available to me :-(. On doing so I discovered I could access my iPhone in much the same way I would any other USB storage device. I was able to drag my music (including music purchased from iTunes) to my PC and play it through Rhythmbox. Unfortunately Rhythmbox doesn't pick up the metadata for iTunes songs/albums. As I generally put it in shuffle mode and let it surprise me :-) this doesn't bother me too much. There is probably some clever way to convert the metadata to something Rhythmbox can use, but it's not important enough for me to bother with.
The search (heads up display?) box seems to have acquired a cut-down version of Google's ability to realise what I'm trying to type instead of what I actually did. It's not in the same league as Google, but it's a start and I hope they develop this further. Even so, it's pretty clever. Type 'tool' and you'll get obvious apps such as the Unity Tweak Tool. But you'll also get HP Device Manager, which is obvious to you and I but less so to a machine.
All things considered, Ubuntu 13.04 is my current favourite among all the ditros I've tried and/or run.
12.10 is more stable on my desktop than 12.04 was. And Unity has come on in leaps and bounds.
I was also able to get Win7 Aero running in VirtualBox under 12.10. I couldn't get Aero working under 12.04.
It doesn't like my Lexmark Pro 805 - won't even install the driver complaining that it's 'bad'. This is an accurate detection by the Software Centre. I had to purge the driver from 12.04 because it just sat there and wrote out log entries every second or so. If I need to print at the moment I start up Win7 in VirtualBox and print from there. The excremental, overpriced, under-supported and otherwise excremental Lexmark will be replaced with an HP printer next year.
My rather less impressive laptop isn't quite so happy with 12.10. It's a little sluggish, as was Win7 that Ubuntu 12.10 replaced. It's worst sin on my laptop is Ubuntu's below-par power saving options. Ubuntu isn't even close to Win7 in this respect.
On my desktop (SSD, i3770, 16GB) 12.10 is a pleasure to use and I give it 9/10. On my crappy old laptop it's less of a pleasure but still an acceptable 6/10. As 80% of my work is on my desktop box I give Ubuntu 12.10 an average rating of 8/10.
This refers only to the bootable USB-drive version created by software run from within Windows.
It's a great idea, but let down by the implementation. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to any Windows users thinking about dipping their toes into Linux.
I'm sure I could get this thing connected to my wireless network, but I can't be bothered giving up the time to chase down some obscure 'fix'. The software is clearly not ready for 'ordinary' users.
NOTE: This review is written for people considering Linux for the first time, and who are currently shopping for a distro. I am such a person, and have just had my first 100% successful experience with Linux.
When I started looking for a distro, I was swayed toward SuSE and Mandrake based on the distro reviews I read in these forums. I got the impression that SuSE and Mandrake would be more suitable for a complete novice than Fedora.
In fact, the reverse has been true. And the thing that made it so is the fact that Fedora 3 can be purchased with the Fedora 3 Bible by Christopher Negus. This book is well written, by a professional author with many titles to his credit. If you're a first-timer like me, the availability of this and other books is the main reason why I think Fedora 3 is a better choice than SuSe or Mandrake for first-timers.
Fedora 3 is my most successful installation experience of the 3 distros I've tried.
In particular, I was delighted to see that Fedora 3 installed a driver for my Radeon 9200SE.
Neither SeSE 9.2 or Mandrake 10.1 community loaded with drivers for my Radeon 9200SE graphics card, forcing me to run with a sub-standard 1200x1024 VESA (generic) driver. This left Linux looking primative on my flash new CRT (compared to flicker-free Windows at 1600x1200).
Fedora 3 is running a flicker-free 1600x1200, and looks every bit as good as Windows.
I'm sure SuSE and Mandrake can be finessed to run a Radeon 9200SE driver, but if you're a first-timer like me, you'll know why that's not the point.
I run a dual-boot system with Windows XP. Naturally, I was concerned about the impact of partitioning my hard drive. The installation process was approached with some dread! Having the Fedora 3 Bible was a great help, because it contains a detailed explanation of every stage of the install. This removes some of the mystery from the process, and provides information on how to fix common problems that may occur.
I suppose knowing that problems can occur added to my fear, but at least I had some positive steps to take if I'd suffered the absolute worst-case scenario of losing my Windows install. Naturally, I backed up my Windows data...but who wants to reinstall an operating system and several years worth of software? The book pointed out that there are often much simpler (and quicker) fixes, and gives instructions should you need them.
As it happened, everything went like clockwork (just as it did with SuSE and Mandrake). Windows still boots as my default operating system, and I didn't have to do anything tricky with the master boot record.
I gave up on SuSE and Mandrake when I couldn't get my Speedtouch 330 USB modem working. I ran various scripts, followed various instructions (usually with no idea what the instructions meant), and generally had a miserable time trying to get online. Eventually, I gave up.
It took about 20 minutes to get online with Fedora 3. I used the instructions on this page...
The script installed, told me my modem was working, but pointed out an error with a particular file that was missing. Thanks to Fedora 3 Bible I was able to find out what that file did, and actually create it (just 2 lines). As soon as I created it, I was online (no reboot necessary).
I'm sure the information is available online, but I'm not sure I'd have found it. I'm sure someone in these forums would have told me, but it may have taken several days. With the Fedora 3 Bible on hand, I was able to sort it out immediately, and had the satisfaction of doing it myself.
The point of this review is to make a case for Fedora 3 over SuSE or Mandrake as the distro of choice for first-timers. The ready availability of books like the Fedora 3 Bible is the key reason why I think Fedora 3 is the distro first-timers should go for.
Product Details: "FC3" by jeremy - posted: 11-08-2004 - Rating: 7.72
Last Review by 60s TV Batman - posted: 10-17-2004 03:54 AM
I'd read that Linux installers like to munch Windows partitions, so I used Partition Expert (under Win XP) to partition my hard disk first. It created a Linux partition, preserved all my Windows data, and Mandrake then picked up and used the partition.
I'm running an Athlon 2800XP with 1GB RAM, 120 GB parallel ATA drive, Radeon 9200SE, Pioneer DVR-108 (dual DVD writer), and a 19" ADI P150. All these things worked on install.
Mandrake also picked up my Windows partitian, and I am able to copy files across from that to Mandrake (useful given problem below).
I've noticed no speed difference between Windows and Linux. The boot-up time is acceptable, especially after I disabled my on-board ethernet (which is unused).
Unfortunately, my Internet access is via a Speedtouch USB 330 ADSL modem (silver). If you have one of these and you're new to Linux, forget Mandrake 10.0 official. It will never work for you.
Yes, there are plenty of places to get support out there. And loads of "helpful" instructions on getting this modem up and running.
No, none of that support was any use at all. I've downloaded firmware, drivers, scripts, and instructions. I've implemented them on clean installs. I've wasted a lot of time.
The famed Linux support is no use to you in this patricular situation, because the required steps to get the modem up and running (assuming it's even possible) are too technical for someone new to the operating system.
What is needed, and what I can't find, is for some charitable soul to take on the project, explain each step in detail (including the Linux concepts such an expert takes for granted), and to diagnose any problems along the way.
It has to be this way, because the various downloads required to get all the software you need, mean you'll be switching back and forth between Windows and Linux. And its not going to work first time around. You'll be checking log files and .conf files, and whizzing around your system wondering why the heck you left Windows in the first place.
What you'll need is a Guru on call, and this level of commitment isn't forthcoming. I'm not attempting to criticize the Linux community here. I'm not surprized, because it's a big ask for some poor person to provide this level of support to a stranger.
If you need Internet access, and you have this modem, forget Mandrake.
Product Details: "10.0 Official Download" by claudius753 - posted: 06-07-2004 - Rating: 8.44