Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Camisetas

Lo mejor de esta epoca del año es el orgasmo provocado por mas de 50 equipos europeos, que lanzan al mismo tiempo sus tres kits de camisetas (una titular y dos suplente). Así como en un concurso de belleza uno se apresta a elegir las mejores...y las peores.

De la temporada pasada se podria hacer una terna con las mejores camisetas.
No se trata de elegir la camiseta mas ganadora (a nivel deportivo), ni historicas como la de Sampdoria, cuyos colores hacen lucir cualquier diseño. Sino de elegir justamente aquellas que por obra y gracia precisamente del diseño, la simplicidad y la combinación de colores se transforman en las vedettes(?) indiscutibles de la temporada.

Las elegidas son: La titular del Inter, la titular del Girondins de Bordeaux, y la suplente del Porto. Entre las peores figuran grandes aberraciones como la suplente color vomito(?) del Monaco, la chomba de un local de hamburguesas (la titular del Dortmund), la siempre fiera/fulera camiseta del Palermo (exacerbada por el diseño de Lotto), y la indescriptible suplente del Newcastle.

En estos dias los equipos italianos lanzan sus camisetas titulares (que el blog de toto adelantará), mientras que los ingleses ya lo hicieron (se destacan la suplente del Arsenal, y la suplente aniversario del Tottenham). Los españoles (fea como siempre la suplente del barca) y alemanes (dificil(?) la titular del Bayern) adelantaron sus nuevos diseños con la presentación de los fichajes. Igualmente por lo que se pudo conocer hasta aquí va a ser muy dificil quitarle a la suplente del Chelsea, el titulo de camiseta mas fea de la temporada 2007/2008.
Lo bueno es que a diferencia de las mujeres todas cuestan(?) lo mismo. Y no protestan.

35 comments:

El Picky® said...

Toto, coincido en casi todo menos en la suplente del Newcastle. No es una belleza pero tampoco es un asco como las otras. Saludos mediterráneos

Anonymous said...

los ingleses son lejor los que tienen menos creatividad con el tema de las camisetas.
la del borussia dortmuund es fea la de este año, pero los banco, en general sus camisetas son buenisimas.

toto said...

Los ingleses en general respetan la tradición. Está bien.

El Borussia un año te mete una camiseta buenisima, otro una espantosa.

La 2007-8 es horrenda: la titular y la suplente

https://www.bvb09shop.de/afw/shop.html;jsessionid=119koc9zx4k8q?application=bvb3&key=products&view=zoom#zoom

Anonymous said...

La vieja señora fiel a su amarga tradicion

http://www.vecchiasignora.com/index.php?showtopic=10132

Anonymous said...

Buen post, la del dortumund/local de hamburguesas me parece la peor seguida muy de cerca por la suplente del monaco.

La del Atletico Madrid me gusta bastante

Anonymous said...

No puedo creer que los ingleses esten vendiendo esa pelicula de Calito

Pense que era un paint cuando lo vi, que HDP q son jajaja

luqui said...

por fin un post como la gente (?)
no me cabe mucho la onda retro (no confundir onda retro con camisetas clasicas), para mi no es mas que falta de ideas.
de las presentadas haria un trueque entre la del porto y la del palermo.
lejos la del dortmund la mas fea
del ambito local destaco la suplente negra y gris de estudiantes.

diego said...

como esta esta....
http://www.megastore.whufc.com/stores/westham/products/kit_selector.aspx?selector=108

Anonymous said...

este es un post neutro para calmar las aguas ? (?)

Anonymous said...

Vos si que sabes de coleccionar camisetas, gordo gallina arlequin! Cuantas tenes en tu armario?

Palmeiras, Santos, Sao Paulo, Real Madrid, Bayern, Milan y la lista es interminable! Que bueno, este año te ahorraste unos 150 pesos...

yonosoy said...

yo tengo la del milan posta titular, me la compre en diciembre.. una masa

Rosny said...

La del Palermo es regrosa: hay que tener las bolas bien puestas para salir a jugar de rosado!

acusto said...

Yo me arrepiento de no haberme comprado la del Leeds del 2001 cuando la vi a 25 mangos!!!!!

A mi no me gusta el cuello blanco que tiene la del Inter, no pega con el nerazzurro.

Agustín said...

Sinceramente, mucho mejores las que elegiste como "horribles" antes que la del Bordeaux y la suplente del Porto...una mersada en especial la publicidad grande de "Kia" (encima coche Coreano) en la camiseta del equipo de Cavenaghi. La del Inter está bien pero a ver cuando culmina el contrato con Pirelli (que pongan Michelin al menos), lleva como 10 años patrocinando al equipo la marca de gomas...

toto said...

Pirelli es de Moratti, no creo que termine el contrato.

Gustos son gustos, yo la del Dortmund y la del Monaco no me las pongo ni en pedo.

nitop said...

mmmm la del madrid siempre ta buena, lastima el club no?

patota potente said...

Toto, la del Lyon, que te pareció?

Elpini said...

TOTO CORNUDO


MANDARINA MANDARINA MANDARINA MANDARINA,,,, LA COPAAA DE LA PAZ NO SE HIZO PA GALLINA!!!!!!!!

uno de los machos de la mujer de elpini said...

Elpini!!! sacame a la puta de tu mujer de encima por favor!

Fútbol Whisky said...

elpene, vos no podés tildar de cornudo a nadie, a tu jermu se la volteó toda LR

Alejandro said...

che, le estan descotrolando el boliche (?) a toto.
media pila.....

ah, bien river eh, por lo menos la seleccion llego a la final.......

Dorian said...

toto ponele para poner clave a los comentarios sino vamos a seguir aguantando a estos boludos que copian y pegan 5 millones de veces frases inconexas (?)
la del totenham rulea...

Anonymous said...

Bien el ave nacional!!!

Esta vez, al igual que contra el Caracas, volvio a perder contra un equipo que no conto con sus principales figuras (Juninho y Fred) y quedarse afuera de una copa (oficial o amistosa... otra mas, y van...).

Obviamente, para seguir con la mistica, la eliminacion vino acompanada de algun jugador expulsado. Pero esta vez, en vez de quedar ultimo en el grupo termino tercero... detras del Reading!

Bien River! Siempre dejando bien en alto el prestigio del futbol argentino...

Hernia said...

Che Bosti arlequín, cómo salieron ustedes en la misma copa del año 2005?
Lo último que falta es que te hinchen las pelotas por un torneo amistoso de pretemporada que no le importa a nadie.

Anonymous said...

Mira si sera grande el futbol argentino... pese a tener un representante que, copa tras copa, siempre lo averguenza, igual es la liga con mas copas ganadas en el mundo! (57 en total)

La mejor camiseta, lejos, es la de la seleccion nacional. Las Adidas de los ultimos dos mundiales son increibles (no asi el bofe de Reebok de un tiempo atras). Bastones blancos y celestes (bien claros), con vivos dorados. DEMASIADA CLASE! Salvo cuando se la pone Tevez(?)

EMO said...

Creo que el problema de los diseños viene específicamente de Adidas. Hace unos años atrás la marca de las tres tiras se mantenía en un estilod e diseño clásico mientras su competidora Nike innovaba con diseños moderonos y coloridos.
Ahora la cosa se ha invertido, Nike hace diseños clásicos (como la del inter) y Adidas se ha dedicado a deseñar cosas innovadoras agregando esas líneas que son horribles en todo sentido (como el nuevo experimento que hizo con el chelsea).
Hace rato que Adidas no le diseña una camiseta como la gente a River .... el último modelo que me gustó fue el del 2001 (Cuando ganamos el último campeonato como la gente.. con Ramón). La Titular y la Tricolor fueron espeectaculares... ojalá vuelvan a rediseñarlas así.

oso buco said...

para mi la camiseta mas linda en el futbol argentino la tienen river y velez sarsfield.

mi pesame para los hinchas del canalla: murio el gran roberto fontanarrosa un canaya de ley ,y un tipo talentoso si los hay.
una lastima.

AACCF said...

Para los interesados, les paso el link de la flamantte "Asociación Argentina de Coleccionistas de Camisetas de Fútbol":
www.aaccf.com.ar

Abrazo

Anonymous said...

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.

Anonymous said...

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.

Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. Ubuntu might just as easily be found on a Wall Street banker’s laptop as on a battered,
old computer in a Brazilian favela.
Ubuntu is built around one of the most established versions of Linux: Debian
(www.debian.org). The Debian Project was started back in 1993, shortly after the very first
version of the Linux software was released, and has risen to become one of the pioneering
varieties of Linux.
Ubuntu and Debian Linux both share common goals and are closely allied, but Ubuntu
focuses largely on the desktop. It provides a powerful office suite by default, for example, as
well as some excellent pieces of Internet software.
It’s also very easy to use. Ubuntu works “straight out of the box.” As soon as it’s installed,
you should be ready to start using it without any further work. In addition, tasks such as updating
your software are as easy under Ubuntu as they are under Windows.
Above all, however, Ubuntu is designed to be shared. You can take the CD-ROM included
with this book and install Ubuntu on as many machines as you want. You can also copy it as
many times as you want and give those copies to your friends. This isn’t some kind of trick—
Ubuntu isn’t a trial version that will shut up shop in a month. You will never find yourself having to
pay a fee further down the line, even if you want to install additional software. Ubuntu will
always be free of charge.
What You’ll Find in This Book
Beginning Ubuntu Linux is split into seven parts, each of which contains chapters about a
certain aspect of Ubuntu use. These parts can be read in sequence, or you can dip in and out of
them at will. Whenever a technical term is mentioned, a reference is made to the chapter where
that term is explained.
Part 1 examines at the history and philosophy behind the Linux operating system. I aim to
answer many of the common questions about Linux. Such knowledge is considered to be as
important, if not more so, than understanding the technical details on how Linux works. But
while these chapters should be read sooner rather than later, they don’t contain any technical
information that you absolutely require to get started with Ubuntu.
Part 2 covers installing Ubuntu on your computer. An illustrated guide is provided, and all
installation choices are explained in depth. Additionally, you’ll find a problem-solving chapter
to help in case anything goes wrong.
Part 3 focuses on getting started with Ubuntu. It covers setting up the Linux system so that
it’s ready to use. One chapter is dedicated to setting up common hardware devices, such as
printers and modems, and another explains how you can secure your system. Other chapters
in this part explore the desktop, explaining what you need to know to begin using Ubuntu on a
daily basis.
?INTRODUCTION xxxi
In Part 4, we take a look at how the underlying technology behind Linux functions. You’ll
be introduced to the command-line prompt and learn how the file system works. It’s in these
chapters that you’ll really master controlling Linux!
Part 5 covers multimedia functions built into Ubuntu, which let you watch movies and play
back music. We also take a look at the image-editing software built into Ubuntu.
Part 6 moves on to explain how typical office tasks can be accomplished under Ubuntu. We
investigate OpenOffice.org, the complete office suite built into Ubuntu. After an introduction
to OpenOffice.org, separate chapters explore its word processor, spreadsheet, database, and
presentation package. You’ll also learn how to use Evolution, Ubuntu’s e-mail program, and how
to run Microsoft Office under Ubuntu.
Part 7 carries on from Part 4, taking an even more in-depth look at the underlying technology
behind Ubuntu. This time, the emphasis is on giving you the skills you need to keep your
system running smoothly. You’ll learn how to install software, manage users, optimize your
system, back up essential data, schedule tasks, and access computers remotely.
Finally, at the back of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first is a glossary of Linux
terms used not only in this book, but also in the Linux and Unix world. The second appendix is
a quick reference to commands typically used at the command-line prompt under Linux. The
third appendix explains how to get further help when using Ubuntu. The final appendix briefly
describes some other versions of Ubuntu that differ from the one accompanying this book.
Linux has come a long way in a short time. Computing itself is still relatively young by any
standard; if the era of modern computing started with the invention of the microchip, it’s still
less than 50 years old. But Linux is a youngster compared even to this; it has been around for
only 15 of those years.
In that brief time span, a student’s personal project has grown to where it now runs many
computers throughout the world. It has rampaged through the computing industry, offering an
alternative to commercial solutions such as those offered by Microsoft, and toppling long-held
beliefs about the way things should be done. This is all by virtue of the fact that Linux is simply
better than every other choice out there. Many argue that it’s more secure and faster than other
operating systems. But here’s the kicker—Linux is free of charge. Yes, that’s right. It doesn’t
have to cost a penny. It is one of the computing industry’s best-kept secrets.
I was bitten by the Linux bug in the mid-1990s. I was introduced to it by a friend who sold
it to me as a kind of alternative to DOS. At that time, I tapped a few commands at the prompt
and was greeted by error messages. I must admit that I was put off. But shortly afterwards, I revisited
Linux and quickly became hooked.
Yet getting used to Linux wasn’t easy. I read as many books as I could, but they weren’t very
helpful to me. They were usually overly complicated or simply irrelevant. To start off, I didn’t
want to know how to create a program that could parse text files. I just wanted to know how to
copy and delete files. I didn’t want to set up a web server. I just wanted to know how to play my
MP3 tracks and browse the Web.
This book is my answer to the need for a fundamental, authoritative, and down-to-earth
guide to Linux, done in the context of one of the most popular flavors of Linux in existence
today. It’s a book that is desperately needed in our modern world, especially as Linux becomes
more and more popular and enters homes and workplaces.
Beginning Ubuntu Linux purely and simply focuses on what you need to know to use Linux.
It’s concise and to the point, aiming to re-create under Linux all the stuff you used to do under
Windows. But don’t think that this means Beginning Ubuntu Linux cuts corners. Wherever justified,
this book spends time examining the topics you need to know in order to gain a complete
and comprehensive understanding. For example, you’ll find a hefty chapter looking at the
command-line prompt—arguably the heart of Linux and the element that gives Linux most of
its power. There’s also an entire chapter discussing (and illustrating) how to initially install
Ubuntu on your computer. Beginning Ubuntu Linux really is a complete guide.
About Ubuntu
Linux applies an alternative philosophy to computing that revolves around the sharing of not
only software, but also knowledge. To use Linux is to become part of a huge global community
of people who have caught on to a phenomenon that is changing the world.
xxx ?INTRODUCTION
Ubuntu (www.ubuntulinux.org) is the natural continuation of these goals. It’s a project
founded by entrepreneur businessman Mark Shuttleworth with the intention of bringing a
freely available, high-quality operating system to the world. To this end, Shuttleworth invested
$10 million of his own money in order to guarantee that this will be the case for many years
to come.
The fundamental concept is that Ubuntu is available for use by anyone in the world, no
matter who they are or where they are. As such, many different languages are supported, and
the operating system can also be accessed by those with disabilities, such as partial sight or
hearing. U