Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition

A Pain-Free, Project-Based, Get-Things-Done Guidebook
by Rickford Grant

June 2008, 360 pp. w/CD
ISBN: 978-1-59327-180-0
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"A fast, crystal-clear topical tour of the amazing collective accomplishment embodied in Ubuntu."
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

Ubuntu 8.04 has been hailed as the Linux distribution for newbies, and it's certainly the Linux for the less geeky among us. Even the name is user friendly—it's a South African term that translates roughly as "humanity toward others" and could also describe author Rickford Grant's approach to teaching Linux.

Full of tips, tricks, and helpful pointers, Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition is a hands-on, project-based guide to Ubuntu 8.04 for those interested in—but nervous about—switching to the Linux operating system. This edition has been updated for Hardy Heron, the latest Ubuntu release (8.04), with its improved multimedia support and desktop effects. Step-by-step projects build upon earlier tutorial concepts, helping you absorb and apply what you've learned.

Ubuntu for Non-Geeks covers those day-to-day tasks that most non-geeks will want to perform, like how to:

  • Download and install free software, games, and utilities
  • Connect to wired and wireless networks or transfer files via Bluetooth
  • Configure printers, scanners, monitors, and USB flash drives
  • Watch DVDs, listen to music, and even sync your iPod
  • Edit and share your digital photos and videos
  • Customize the look and feel of your system
  • Tackle more advanced tasks like working with commands and using Windows applications

Whether you're new to computers, looking for a pain-free way to make the Linux switch, or just want a low-cost alternative to Windows, Ubuntu 8.04 is easier than ever. Try it and you'll see.

About the Author

Rickford Grant, author of Linux for Non-Geeks and Linux Made Easy (both No Starch Press), has been a computer operating system maniac for more than 20 years. From the Atari 600XL to today's Linux machines, he has been the guy behind the help desk for family, friends and colleagues. Rickford currently resides and teaches in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Becoming a Penguinista
Welcome to the World of Linux
Chapter 2: Wading and Diving
Running and (if you like) Installing Ubuntu
Chapter 3: A New Place to Call Home
Getting to Know the Desktop
Chapter 4: More than Webbed Feet
The Internet, Linux Style
Chapter 5: Rounding Out the Bird
Downloading, Installing, and Updating Programs the Easy Way
Chapter 6: A Tidy Nest
File and Disk Handling in Ubuntu
Chapter 7: Dressing Up the Bird
Customizing the Look and Feel of Your System
Chapter 8: Simple Kitten Ways
Getting to Know the Linux Terminal and Command Line
Chapter 9: Aliens, Tarballs, a Glass of Wine, and a Cup of Joe
More Ways to Install Programs
Chapter 10: Gutenbird
Setting Up and Using Your Printer and Scanner
Chapter 11: Font Feathered Frenzy
Adding New Fonts to Your System
Chapter 12: Polyglot Penguins
Linux Speaks Your Language
Chapter 13: Penguins Back at Work
Getting Down to Business in Linux
Chapter 14: Brush-Wielding Penguins
Linux Does Art
Chapter 15: Tux Rocks
Music a la Linux
Chapter 16: Pluggin' in the Penguin
Ubuntu and Your iPod
Chapter 17: Couch Penguins
Video and DVD Playback in Ubuntu
Chapter 18: Defending the Nest
Appendix A: Ubuntu Desktop CDs for AMD64 Users
Appendix B: Resources

View the detailed table of contents (PDF)
View the index (PDF)



In Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition, "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!"
—Sandra Henry-Stocker, ITworld (Read More)

"Ubuntu for Non-Geeks takes you from installing the new operating system to acquiring applications, all the way to working with your iPod. This guide is everything you need to get started with Linux."
—Janica Unruh, Blogcritics.org (Read More)

Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition "is certainly comprehensive. It covers almost everything that a new user might be interested in."
—Phil Bull, Ubuntu Team Member (Read More)

"This is a book Grant went over with care to make sure that it would appeal to the new and "repeat" reader alike...I highly recommend picking up this text if you've never used Ubuntu before and have a burning need to learn how Ubuntu 8.04 will benefit you on the desktop (and it really will)."
—James Pyles, tech reviewer (Read More)

"The book's layout and presentation allow you to easily find the material you're looking for. The language is clear and the topics pointed, making it a non-technical book that you can follow even if you've never touched a Linux or Unix environment."
—James Koopmann, freelance writer (Read More)

"For me, a geek, I was a little weary of the title. But it’s really a great read for anyone interested in Linux, but has always been in a Windows platform."
—benfraley, Everything Free Software (Read More)

"For anyone just starting to explore the Linux operating system—or needing a place to start that exploration, this book is, in fact, a good place to start."
—Front Range PC Users Group (Read More)

"Those who work through the projects should come out as competent Linux users well equipped to expand their respective knowledge of Linux."
—Major Keary, Linux and Open Source SIG (Read More)

"The exercises cover topics that are simple at first, but before you know it, you will be delving into tasks that you would have guessed would have been way outside of your comfort zone. In a nutshell, that is the overall strength of this excellent book."
—Triniman, Blogcritics.org (Read More)

"I'd have no hesitation recommending Ubuntu for Non-Geeks to a new user as it shows new users how to do things step by step, it doesn't just explain it in text and leave the user to make assumptions. Definitely the best book I've read, so far, aimed at the new user."
—Full Circle Magazine, Issue 22

"If you're a Linux novice, or an experienced user who wants a good book to recommend, I give this book a big thumbs up."
—Linux Today (Read More)

"Ubuntu For Non-Geeks, Third Edition is one of the all-time best beginniner Linux books, and you'll get up and running with a minimum of frustration."
—Dietrich T. Schmitz & Associates (Read More)