Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: $34.95 | Rating: 8
Very well written book that is easy to follow.
Some of the notes were not in the areas where I expected them
Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks
Rickford Grant (No Starch Press)
This is a great book for basic Linux users who want to get the most out of their desktop environment. The book offers step-by-step instructions for a variety of applications that most computer users require. Rickford Grant worked really hard to keep everything clear and concise for users who want to make the leap to Linux. I am a typical desktop user who does not want to learn special commands for any GUI. Therefore, I just use what is given to me easily. This book is now a key desktop reference for my Gnome interface where I can easily customize the desktop. The book is definitely not for experienced Linux users. The command line instructions are to give beginners the required skills to un-tar and install an application.
The book starts out with a simple explanation of Linux history which is followed by the hardware requirements for the installation. My test computer for this review is an old AMD 1700 with 1 gig of ram and a Radeon 9200 video card. I wanted to play with GML and liquid windows but my video card is not good enough for any attempts at this.
Chapter 2 (Installation) is there just to make new people feel comfortable. I installed the disk that was included in the book and got my 7 year old son to install the software for me. He had a few questions to ask while making the installation. For example, he did not know that San Francisco is in the same time zone as Los Angeles.
After Ubuntu was properly configured, the real fun began. The new place to call home (Chapter 3) teaches users about some of the great GUI applications for Ubuntu. Some of the tasks were updated by Ubuntu and they worked a little differently from the instructions, but they did work. The instructions on how to manipulate icons are great. With the help of the book, configuring the desktop is easier using Gnome than it is using MS Windows. I learned more useful and fun tidbits in chapter 3 than I did reading numerous pages of Win2k and XP manuals. I usually use the default desktop settings and use the programs from default locations. I now have a desktop that any computer geek would be proud of.
Popular applications such as DVD and CD burning are so user friendly the book merely points out the simplicity of the applications. Regrettably, I could not get the totem DVD player to work properly. But a trip to the forums at http://www.ubuntuforums.org and a few hours of reading put me on a convoluted path to http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/dload.html where I managed to get a working copy of MPlayer that installed automatically using the installer (not self install like MS Windows). I went through more hell trying to find the password for installation privileges to install application software (To set the password you type "sudo passwd root" hit enter then type your user password). The book causes some confusion by stating no root password is required, while technically true, I needed to set a password that was the same as my user password. Once the password was set, all was good. After I found MPlayer through searching, trial and error, I found a reference to MPlayer as I was finishing out the book.
I had so much fun with the book, I decided to install SUSE 10.1 using the Gnome GUI and go through the book again. Curiously enough, most of the desktop applications worked very well using a totally different OS. A lot of the applications did not auto install with SUSE but they were from the installation disk when I searched for them. For no explainable reason, I stuck with SUSE 10.1 configured using a book titled "Ubuntu Linus For Non-Geeks".
Flash and audio players worked fine with no problems.