August 15, 2008, 12:02 PM — I've got to hand it to O'Reilly for coming up with book titles that, after a moment's reflection, make you wonder why you didn't think of them yourself. "Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks" is one such book. Just think about that for a moment. A person doesn't really need to be an idiot or a moron to be a little intimidated by computers. They just have to fall short of the admirable status of "geek".
While Linux users in general seem to be free-thinking do-it-yourself "hackers" in the cool sense of that word, Linux systems do not require users who can write their own utilities or build their own computers from spare parts. On the contrary, Linux systems have as appealing desktops and friendly applications as any Windows box, as easy to use an interface and at least as much visual appeal. Why shouldn't regular people, heretofore referred to as "non-geeks", find Linux systems as inviting as the more common OS options?
This book might just be one that gets non-geeks over the hump and into the fan club of Ubuntu Linux -- one of the fast-risers in the mix of Linux distributions. The book arrives with a CD that lets you run Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) right off the CD -- a kind of "let's get acquainted" option, install it to run as just another Windows binary or you can do a full install on your PC.
It also teaches readers everything they need to know to become very comfortable with Ubuntu. This includes:
- downloading and installing free application software
- connecting to the Internet
- configuring hardware, including printers, scanners and such
- watching DVDs, listening to music and lots more
In its eighteen chapters, the book introduces readers to the world of Linux and free software. It teaches them about installing the OS, how to make use of the Linux desktop, installing additional software and customizing the look and feel of their Ubuntu system. It introduces business, art and music applications. It describes system security and helps users understand how to keep their systems safe.
The third edition lets readers try Ubuntu 8.04, also known as "Hardy Heron". Ubunto 7.04 was "Feisty Fawn". 9.04 might end up being the "irreverant iguana" or, more likely, the "indominable ibex".
The CD included with the book contains the x86 version of Ubuntu. This will work with most PCs, though not as well as a 64 bit version if your system is an AMD64 system. If you want the AMD64 bit version, you can download it and prepare your own CD. Appendix A provides information on how to do this.
Linux is as easy to use as windows. This book's focus on the GUI and how to get things done puts the system squarely in the hands of non-geeks.
The explanations are friendly and non-intimidating, starting out with introductions to the terminology, answering questions like "What is a distribution?" and philosophical questions like "What does free software mean to me?".
Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks was written by Rickford Grant and published in 2008.
Non-geeks will find that even doing geek-like things on Ubuntu Linux is not as hard as they once imagined. In fact, with books like this in the hands of non-geeks, the lines of distinction between geeks and non-geeks might just begin to blur!