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Introduction

WELCOME TO The Official Ubuntu Book, Eighth Edition!

In recent years, the Ubuntu operating system has taken the open source and IT world by storm. From out of nowhere, the Little Operating System That Could has blossomed into a full-featured desktop and server offering that has won over the hearts of users everywhere. Aside from the strong technical platform and impressive commitment to quality, Ubuntu also enjoys success because of its sprawling community of enthusiastic users who have helped to support, document, and test every millimeter of the Ubuntu landscape.

In your hands you are holding the official, authorized guide to this impressive operating system. Each of the authors selected to work on this book has demonstrated a high level of technical competence, an unbridled commitment to Ubuntu, and the ability to share this knowledge in a simple and clear manner. These authors gathered together to create a book that offers a solid grounding to Ubuntu and explains how the many facets and features of Ubuntu work.

About This Book

At the start of every book, on every bookshelf, in every shop, is a paragraph that sums up the intentions and aims for the book. We have one very simple, down-to-earth aim: to make the Ubuntu experience even more pleasant for users. The Ubuntu developers and community have gone to great lengths to produce an easy-to-use, functional, and flexible operating system for doing, browsing, and creating all kinds of interesting things. This book augments that effort. With such an integrated and flexible operating system, this guide acts as a tour de force for the many things you can do with Ubuntu.

The Scope of the Book

With so much to cover, we had our work cut out to write a book that could cover the system in sufficient detail. However, if we were to write in depth about every possible feature in Ubuntu, you would need to buy a new bookcase to store the sheer amount of content.

Part of the challenge in creating The Official Ubuntu Book was selecting the topics and content that can be covered within a reasonably sized book. We have identified the most essential content and written only about it. These chosen topics not only cover installation, use of the desktop, applications, multimedia, system administration, and software management, but also include a discussion of the community, online resources, and the philosophy behind Ubuntu and open source software. As a bonus, we expanded our discussion of projects related to Ubuntu that will be of interest to you. We believe this book provides an ideal one-stop shop for getting started with Ubuntu.

The Menu

Here is a short introduction to each chapter and what it covers.

  • Chapter 1: The Ubuntu Story. This spirited introduction describes the Ubuntu project, its distribution, its development processes, and some of the history that made it all possible.
  • Chapter 2: Installing Ubuntu. We walk through the installation process one step at a time to clearly describe how anyone interested may begin using Ubuntu on their own computer.
  • Chapter 3: Getting Started with Ubuntu. This is an informative and enjoyable introductory tour of Ubuntu, and the reader’s first introduction to the more practical content of the book.
  • Chapter 4: Finding and Installing Ubuntu Applications. Here you will learn about the vast contents of the Ubuntu software repositories and discover how to take advantage of them. Several examples of useful software that is not installed by default are highlighted.
  • Chapter 5: Customizing Ubuntu for Performance, Accessibility, and Fun. Learn how to bend Ubuntu to better fit your needs or whims.
  • Chapter 6: Becoming an Ubuntu Power User. We explore some of the advanced ways to use Ubuntu. This is the chapter for users who want to move up from basic use, but who do not intend to become programmers or professional systems administrators.
  • Chapter 7: Welcome to the Command Line. Begin to take advantage of the power and efficiency of the command line with the clear, easy-to-use examples in our brief introduction.
  • Chapter 8: The Ubuntu Server. This introduction to Ubuntu Server installation and administration includes coverage of command-line package management, basic security topics, and advanced installer features like logical volume management and RAID.
  • Chapter 9: Ubuntu-Related Projects and Derivatives. There are a number of Linux distributions based on Ubuntu that you will find interesting and possibly useful. We discuss some of these as well as projects that are integral to the creation of Ubuntu, such as Launchpad and Bazaar.
  • Chapter 10: The Ubuntu Community. The Ubuntu community is larger and more active than many people realize. We discuss many of its facets, including what people like you do to build, promote, distribute, support, document, translate, and advocate Ubuntu— and we tell you how you can join in the fun.

The Ubuntu team offers several installation options for Ubuntu users, including CDs for desktop, alternate install, and server install. These three CD images are conveniently combined onto one DVD included in the back of this book, allowing you to install Ubuntu for different configurations from just one disk. There is also an option to test the DVD for defects as well as a memory test option to check your computer.

The first boot option on the DVD, “Start or Install Ubuntu,” will cover most users’ needs. For more comprehensive information, check the Help feature by selecting F1 on the boot menu. You can also refer to Chapter 2, which covers the Ubuntu installation process in detail.

You can find the DVD image, the individual CD images (for those users who don’t have a DVD drive), and Kubuntu and Ubuntu Server on www.ubuntu.com/download.

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