You have some computer experience and a desire to start learning about free software. Where do you start, what distribution do you choose? The book you should read when starting out with GNU/Linux is Moving to Ubuntu Linux by Marcel Gagné, and published by Addison Wesley Professional. This well-written book discusses Ubuntu Linux 6.06 LTS from installing from the included DVD through to networking, office productivity applications, and even working the command-line. If you’re new to GNU/Linux, or want to check out the coolest new distribution, pick up a copy of Moving to Ubuntu Linux.
The cover from Moving to Ubuntu Linux
I never got a chance to read Mr. Gagné’s previous “Moving to..." books, such as Moving to Linux and Moving to the Linux Business Desktop, but this particular book seems to follow in their footsteps. Mr. Gagné has a writing style that is very easy to follow. He also inserts lots of funny comments, such as, “Your first slide is done. You might want to pause here and save your work before you move on. (Masterpieces must be protected.)" (p. 267). There are many many screen shots, as would be required in a book convincing people to switch to GNU/Linux.
The best part of the book is that it includes Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Live DVD inside the back cover. Not only do you have cool screen shots to look at, but you can follow along on your own computer too. Even better, those readers apprehensive about wiping your hard drive or dual-booting with your other operating systems, the Live DVD allows you to try out GNU/Linux without modifying anything on your current hard drive.
A suprise for me in this book was when I read a small tidbit which talked about the GNU/Linux mascot, Tux. I had never really much thought where Tux came from, but several legends were presented with quotes from Linus Torvalds himself. These types of tangents from the text helped to keep me interested in the book.
The best part of the book is that it includes Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Live DVD inside the back cover
The book itself weighs in at 469 pages, which include 21 chapters, an appendix with the GNU General Public License text, and an index. The appendix and index take up over 40 pages by themselves. The book includes early chapters on using the included Live DVD, and then on to using GNOME, which is the default desktop environment on Ubuntu 6.06 LTS. Other chapters include topics such as printing, internet connectivity and networking applications, installing applications, office productivity applications (Firefox, Evolution, and the OpenOffice.org suite), multimedia (the GIMP, music, games), a brief mention of installing KDE, and a lengthy and well-written chapter on navigating the command-line. Each chapter concludes with a list of web resources for further reading.
Who’s this book for?
This book is definitely best for a new GNU/Linux user or for someone who has some GNU/Linux experience on a different distribution. Most of the application-specific items (Firefox, Evolution, OpenOffice.org) will be the same across distributions and even other operating systems. GNU/Linux experts who compile their own Linux kernel and software might not enjoy the book as much as someone with less experience in GNU/Linux.
Relevance to free software
The book has great relevance to free software. The book discusses moving to a platform and operating system that is completely free software.
You should buy this book because it is written by an author who has a lot of experience showing users how to learn to use GNU/Linux, and specifically with this book, Ubuntu. You should also buy this book because it is written very nicely, will keep you entertained, and will show you how to do more with GNU/Linux.
You should not buy this book if you already have several years of experience on GNU/Linux and already have mastered the applications listed above.