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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 : 4 - viewing 10 Per Page
Last Review by Mega Man X - posted: 07-14-2008 06:05 PM
One of the questions most people ask when talking about Linux is: When will it be ready for the Desktop. I've asked it a couple of times myself. Since Ubuntu came into the game, I knew there was something special about it besides being well advertised.
I've been using Ubuntu since the beginning, but Ubuntu 8.04 was the turning point for me and it is the distro that has finally completely replaced Windows for me. And that is saying a lot, because I don't particularly have a problem with Microsoft Windows (except for versions prior to Windows 2000).
Ubuntu runs off completely from the CD. It is a great way to test if your hardware is compatible with it, surf the net, try to install a few programs, etc. When you are ready to install Ubuntu, there is an icon for the installer right at your desktop which you just have to double click on it.
The installer is simple, yet powerful, capable of creating or resizing partitions of several formats. If you need a more powerful tool, you can use gparted straight from the Ubuntu live CD. Installing Ubuntu itself is a simple as setting the keyboard layout, choosing a location and creating the partitions. Even while Ubuntu is being installed, you can continue surfing the web or playing around without a problem. At the end of the installation, Ubuntu will ask if you want to continue using the Live CD or reboot.
Booting into Ubuntu - Desktop impressions and overall usability:
Ubuntu has a very polished boot screen and it boots quite fast too. After you login, you will notice a new wallpaper and the same look and feel of previous versions of Ubuntu.
By default, Ubuntu comes with a great selection of packages for desktop users. From OpenOffice 2.4 for productivity to rhythmbox and Totem for entertainment. It is all there. It is also important to notice that in the case of OpenOffice, the splash screen has a Human-like theme, adding a little more polish to the overall product.
As a developer, you will need to install other productivity tools, such as compilers and IDE's. But that is easily done through Synaptic.
Out of the box, Ubuntu does not come with any media playback support, which is a know problem since Redhat Linux 8.0. However, if you just double-click on a song, it will ask if you would like to install the necessary codecs. It is just that simple.
Nautilus has some new fancy features too. If you simply have your mouse over a song, it will start playing the song as well. A great way of previewing a song indeed. It is a small feature, but it adds a lot of polish to an already awesome OS. I wish the same could be done with movie files, but as far as I can tell, it doesn't.
For the Web, Ubuntu comes packed with the latest Firefox 3, a browser which needs no presentation. I am using Ubuntu x86_64 and it is important to mention that I had a lot of issues getting flash to run before. Now, it is just as simple to install as going to a flash site. Firefox will tell you about the missing files and Ubuntu will install it for you.
For Opera users, there are good news too. Opera has finally released their great browser for Linux x86_64 architecture.
One thing that I always had trouble with in Linux (not only with Ubuntu, but other distributions as well), was to get my so needed Korean inputs working from my keyboard. I am (still) learning Korean and that is a very important thing for me, when chatting with my Korean friends. This time around, it worked just fine by adding the Korean language support at System - Administration - Language Support. After that, SCIM will display an icon on the task bar, where I can easily change from Korean to English (or by using the CRTL + Space combination). This is by leaps and bounds easier than in Windows XP, where you actually will be asked for your Windows XP disk and a reboot to get it working.
Some improvements were made on the hardware support area as well. For example, my wired Xbox 360 Controller works out of the box. Before, it required compiling a program and loading the correct modules. That is no longer necessary. Even the "X" on the middle of the controller stops blinking once you try to play a game or emulator. That is saying a lot, because it was a bit complicated to install that joypad before and even Windows XP need drivers for it.
My mp3 player, my WD external USB HD and my Logitech joystick, all worked out of the box. Even my Microsoft mouse, which has a few extra buttons for "back" and "forward" worked right away, which didn't before.
All the buttons on my Saitek Eclipse keyboard also worked without additional tweaking.
I had a few issues with Ubuntu on the past with the sound outputs on my Dell. For example, when plugging my headset on the front of the PC, the speakers would not automatically mute. Now they do. Microphone worked just fine through Skype as well.
For the graphics driver, I've tried Ubuntu with both ATI and Nvidia. After the installation, if Ubuntu finds one of these cards, it will ask if you want to enable restricted drivers. If you choose to do so, you will get 3D acceleration running right away. Compared to Windows, where you have to go to the web and grab the drivers, unpack, install and reboot, this is a really great feature.
Gaming, natively and through Wine:
This is not quite a review of Ubuntu, but it has to be mentioned. Wine has finally reached version 1.x. And after 15 long years of development, that application is the main reason why I could finally leave Windows behind. All, absolutely all the games I play, worked. Even some console emulators made for Windows worked and read my inputs correctly, such as CPS3Emulator(Nebula). These are some of the games I've tried so far:
- Half-Life and all expansions (through Steam);
- SiN 1;
- SiN Episodes: Emergence;
- Counter-Strike: Source;
- Day of Defeat: Source;
- World of Warcraft;
- Diablo 2 LOD;
- Warcraft 2 Battle.NET edition;
- Warcraft 3 and Frozen Throne Expansion;
- Guild Wars;
- Baldur's Gate 2;
- CPS3Emulator(Nebula);Note: for those wondering why I used ZSnes in Wine... well, I wanted to test it, plus I could not find a ZSnes emulator in the Ubuntu repositories for x64. And Gens for Linux has always been... horrible.
The results vary though. Source games run a bit slower than they did in Windows. Others, like World of Warcraft run relatively faster. Some, run just as well, like Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2.
While most of these games run without any tweak, some, like World of Warcraft would only run with the "-opengl" flag. usually, details like that are found within AppDB on wine's page, which is also a very active source of information for those in need of running Windows applications in Linux.
So far, I've tried only a few native games: Flightgear, which worked beautifully with my Logitech Joystick, without any addition configuration. I also tried SuperTux 2 and Battle for Wesnoth, all which can easily be installed from Synaptic, also worked without a problem. SuperTux also identified the Xbox 360 Controller.
Community and Documentation
One of the selling points of Ubuntu for me is the huge (and still increasing) community. Both at LQ.org and Ubuntu forums, you are most likely going to receive a reply very quickly. The IRC channel is also very active and friendly.
The Ubuntu Guide continues to be one of the most helpful guides around the net for Ubuntu users and for some, only that is already a good enough reason to choose Ubuntu over any other distribution.
I know this review may sound biased at times, but it is for a good reason. I think this version of Ubuntu and wine 1.x release are a turning point of Linux as a strong Desktop alternative (at least it was for me). It is the first time, ever, that I felt like Windows was no longer necessary for my needs. Again, I don't particularly have a problem with XP, but put side-a-side with Ubuntu, really feels old, especially with how beautifully Ubuntu renders my fonts, updates, install packages and even has so welcomed small features, like the mouse over song preview in Nautilus.
The only real "problem" I had, is not Ubuntu's fault as so to speak. It was with Skype, which still refuses to release a x64 binary for Linux. I think the average user would have some troubles installing Skype, but the tutorials on the net are fairly comprehensive.
There are still a few bugs needed to be fixed, but Ubuntu is a pretty solid OS, both for the average user, the gamer (thanks for wine) and the developer. And keep in mind that I am using Ubuntu x86_64, which has been a lot harder to get things going on the past.
I am so impressed with this distribution that I just had to stop by Canonical Store and order a few things to help support this distribution =)
Now if you excuse me, I am going to play some World of Warcraft with my Blood Elf Paladin or throw a few Shoryukens in Street Fighter Third Strike.
Thanks for reading. Presented by Mega Man X.
This is the second book that I've purchased from Sams, with the first one being "Teach yourself C++ in 3 weeks".
I've to say that it really is difficult to learn a huge language as Java in 21 days, unless you love reading and tweaking (plus, that you have a hole day for doing that).
The book is very well organized, and do not require any previous knowledge with Programming, but indeed, knowing C++ would make your life much easier.
In about 700 pages, this book gives you a good background for Java from a brief intro to Java's history up to writting servlets and JSP.
At the day 1, the author makes a nice explanation about general programming and Object Oriented. The real work starts at day 2, teaching about variables, strings, logic operators among others. From there, you know practically all you need to know to make through the rest of the book.
It also covers Java-applets (Day 14) and Swing (graphical interface tool). I'd like to have some more examples using/creating Java-applets in this book, as well as usage of Swing class, but I understand how big those classes are to fit in a relatively small book, meaning that after you get the basis of Java, from time to time you need to hunt the Internet after examples. A good start point is Java's API doc freely available at Suns (www.sun.com) homepage.
At the end of every chapter, you have a quiz and a Certification Test. The certification test, unlike the quiz, has only the correct answers on Sams homepage.
Another great feature is that you can go to Sams homepage and download all the source included in the book, so you can see an application in action without coding anything.
To sum up, it's a great book that you should have on your shelves if you want to learn Java or improve your skills. I really do, believe that you can learn Java without any previous programming skill using this book, despite Java being 100% OO, but I really found hard to believe that you can learn everything in 21 days... Think more about it as for being a book divided in 21 very well organized chapters .
TIP: don't use any fancy IDE, as Netbeans, untill you feel comfortable enough with Java, because doing so you may skip some important steps (specially when working with Swing class) when designing a program interface with an IDE and taking care of events. Get a good text editor with syntax highlighting (I'd suggest vim) and when you start working with Swing, design first the interface in a piece of paper before coding anything...
When you are done with the book and feel ready to write applications, then get an IDE to speed things up
Product Details: "Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 days - Third Edition" by Megaman X - posted: 02-13-2004 - Rating: 9.00
Last Review by Megaman X - posted: 02-12-2004 06:51 PM
I've to start saying that this distribution was a big surprise for me. Apparently there are not many peoples using it, or at least they don't tell anything if they do. Meaning that I was expecting nothing but another modified distribution, but Libranet really impressed me. Let's begin from the beginning:
1 - Install
The installation is pretty simple. In fact, it's one of the simplest I've yet done with Linux. New users can end up with a fully operational system in a few minutes answering a couple of questions made by the installer. Advanced users may even use parted to resize the HD. Ext2/3 and ReiserFS are the fs available to use.
By default, ReiserFS is chosen, showing that this distribution really is optimized for speed. The hardware detection is excellent and identified all my exotic hardware (a lot is onboard stuff as the network card) without a single problem and also loaded the correct modules for me.
I've choosen the minimal installation to see how minimum it was. When installed, it had taken between 300-400mb from my harddrive with a basic Linux system installed and X. There're only two noticeable problems with the installer that most likely, only advanced users may complain about:
1) You don't have any options to install single/individual packages, only groups and
2) the minimal installation has also installed X server and IceWM. This can be bad for those who wish to set up this distribution as a server only. For a server, X is not necessary, in addition, more services running == less security. But then again, for a new user who wishes to use this distribution as a desktop, it's wonderful.
2 - Configuring:
Most of the configuration is done during the install. This includes harddware detection, sound, video, monitor and Internet connection.
Another big surprise with this distribution is the "adminmenu" and it's graphical interface "Xadimmenu". Basically, everything can done from there with the same ease as a Windows Environment, as configuring your firewall, installing/removing packages from CD or Internet, sound, video, network, printers, time, Disk/CD/Floppy, managing users and desktops as well the X-Windows system.
For more advanced users, there's even an option to Recompile the kernel or restore it's defaults, configure modules, enable/disable APM and configuring PCMCIA.
Another good thing was the desktop environment. I was expecting a big, heavy gun as Gnome or KDE for the minimal installation, since this distribution is more target(I think) for newcomers, but I was wrong and it came with IceWM(showing again that it's made to be easy of use, since it "feels" just like win9x and is very, very fast).
3 - Package manager:
Libranet, as being Debian-based, uses apt-get. Apt-get is an extremelly powerful package manager to keep both your system and packages up-to-date installing packages from either the cd-rom or Internet.
Since this distribution is 100% compatible with Debian, you have at your disposal nothing but around 12.000 packages/applications to choose from, since Debian is the biggest distribution so far in this category.
To sum up, I'd recommend this distribution ratter then Mandrake or Redhat for a newbie. It's very stable and the guys really wanted to make a fast distribution, optimizing since the fs to the desktop environment for speed, the installation is easy, the configuration tool really works (and it's the best I've used) and the package manager(apt-get) is awesome for installing/removing/upgrading packages.
I use Slackware 9.0 most of the time in my main machine and I always wanted to use Debian there, but it was nearly impossible to install all my hardware with Debian, and I thought that the other options around Debian-based (as knoppix) were either too slow, expensive (for the commercial ones) or not very customizable.
Again, Libranet 2.7 came as a big surprise. I just did not give it a 10 because the minimum install includes X (though, you can remove x-system with one command) and the options for the packages during the installation are a bit limited (but it's easy to fix with apt-get to add/remove what you want to keep or add).
Libranet 2.8(non-free release) has even 3D acceleration right out of the box for supported cards. Tip: "Keep an eye on this distribution"
-- Megaman X
Product Details: "2.7 Classic Free Edition" by Megaman X - posted: 02-12-2004 - Rating: 9.50
Last Review by Megaman X - posted: 01-04-2004 05:36 PM
I've been using Grey Cat Linux 3.0 for a while now and I've to say that I'm quite happy with it. I've a very low end machine ( a Compaq with a 386 processor, 75MHZ and 8 Mega of RAM ) and I've been looking after a small distro which should fit in that computer, just for fun
I've found Grey Cat Linux and it's pretty good. It comes with text editors, irc app, mail client, telnet, and webserver, Midnight Commander and a GUI, with Xfree -SCGA+VGA16 server- and the Icewm Windows manager. And it even comes with pretty good gui applications as Netscape 3, Netscape Mail and Xv. It runs directly from a DOS partition. The most impressive is that it's only 7 floppies install.
It's based on Slackware 3.5 and basiclinux, meaning it's pretty stable and fast (even under X ). The coolest thing is that you can go into Slackware's homepage and download pre-compiled applications for it (Slackware 3.5 indeed).
Sure I hardly use that computer nowadays (sometimes for some text writting and old dos games as Commander Keen, Prince of Persia and Wolfenstein...), but this is a very good distro if you have a 386/486 box laying around and would like to have fun ( if you enjoy playing with old boxes as I surely do ) with it a little longer with Linux in a very easy to install distribution
Remember, 386 and 486 boxes are still very useful for writting text docs, surfing the net or chatting with your friends on IRC channels or for making firewalls/rooters. Don't stop using it just because M$ and Intel said you need a new processor to run windows.
Product Details: "" by Megaman X - posted: 01-04-2004 - Rating: 7.00