Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sudafrica 2010 (último post proRiver(?))

Me pidieron que arme mi selección. Acá les pasó mi equipo para el debut en Sudafrica 2010 (claro si clasificamos con el borracho):

Carrizo
Ferrari
Gonzalo Rodriguez
Demichelis
Villagra
Augusto Fernandez
Mascherano
Buonanotte
Gonzalo Higuain
Messi
Cavenaghi

Sobre el tema Carrizo, no soy tan extremista como Farinella. Está es una comisión (la de River) que hace balances dibujando semifinales de Libertadores y ventas al exterior. Si no era Carrizo, era Belluschi y está claro que nadie va a pagar mas de 10 millones de dolares por un arquero. Era una buena oportunidad para venderlo. Los jugadores (que ya están vendidos antes de que arranque la temporada) se van (motivados por los representantes), pero también instigados por dirigentes que tienen que cerrar balances (no para cuidar de la salud del club, ni para proyectar titulos a futuro, sino para seguir en el poder). Un balance en rojo (sin siquiera posibilidad de dibujarse) es la carta de defunción de Aguilar. Él lo sabe desde el dia que asumió. No nos olvidemos además que el representante de Cavenaghi (Nestor Sivori) fue dirigente de River, el de Carrizo (Sabbag) fue jugador de River por corto tiempo y tiene fuertes contactos con el club. También es cierto que River (está comisión aclaremos) vende de a pedacitos: compra hoy, vende el 20% mañana, pasado el 50%, y al día siguiente lo que falta. Ortega a Turquía, no se fue solo por la plata, o la influencia de Caliendo, sino por un presidente que no sabe cuidar el patrimonio del club.

Para los que no entienden las cuestiones de los balances de River, les recomiendo este link

29 comments:

luzu said...

Y crecio Buenanotte?

kipzy said...

se coló messi, ey! tendría que ir la gata (?)

patota potente said...

Ese es un buen equipo para llegar con posibilidades a la 2da. fecha de la 1ra. ronda.
No te desanimes toto, tal vez algún día vuelva la Rivercion, por ahora andá probando algo para mufarnos en Tokio.

Alejo said...

leo el blog asiduamente, y la verdad que este chiste pro river en cada post ya me está resultando tedioso y sin gracia. una pena

Delem said...

Yo haría dos posts diferenciados así no se diluyen las dos discusiones que parecen ser muy interesantes.

Creo que no hay que eximir de culpa a los jugadores que se mueven solo por la guita. Estoy muy de acuerdo con la editorial del Farinella.

Que los dirigentes son chorros o que es una verguenza que ex dirigentes sean representates de jugadores no cabe duda, por eso creo que nos tenemos que atener a los más humano de la situación y preguntarse porque la gente solo piensa en guita, porque una banda vuelve a tocar solo para recaudar (Soda Estereo)...

Acá tiene que haber gente con huevos. Y plantearle a los jugadores de antemano que si no juegan 3 años mínimo en River no se pueden ir. Luego se lo puede vender al mejor postor. Pero estaría bueno reformular estos modismos.

Yo creía que el balance ya estaba cerrado, por lo menos eso habían dicho. Digo, con la venta de Ruben y demás tongas por ahi.

A Carrizo había que hacerle un contrato eterno y pagarle grosa, pero muy grosa guita...

Anonymous said...

Top Ten! Toto puto!! pero te recontra banco a vos ya a los colores de tu blog!

Anonymous said...

Carrizo se va al Lazio a ganar 100 000 euros al año, mediocre la concha de tu puta amdre

MartinL said...

jajajajaja, grande Toto

toto said...

Para Alejo hoy terminamos con los post River-Boca. Mañana arrancamos con los post analizando los fichajes del mercado argentno y europeo, y las posibilidades de los equipos de cara a la proxima temporada. Relajate.

Anonymous said...

toto pelotudo a cuerda la concha dadadasdasdasdasd
deja de hacer post pro river, ya nos tenes la pija llena, pedazo de pelotudo!

luqui said...

ustari;

ferrari, burdisso, heinze, clemente;

mascherano, gago, leto;

messi, Palermo (?), Tevez

Anonymous said...

Entré a este blog porque aparece en la redo. Es lamentable. Un blog entero para insultar a otro equipo (Boca)Tambien hay otro blog que se llama algo así como antivoka. Pibe andá a trabajar. Estas páginas lo único que hacen es agrandar a los bosteros.Ellos todo el tiempo se están cagando de risa de River.NO SE DAN CUENTA???? Sabés lo que tienen que hacer los hinchas de River para gastar a los bosteros? Festejar campeonatos propios.Piensenló en serio.
PD:Alguien sabe cuando mierda vuelve la redo? porque con ellos sí me río.

toto said...

Yo trato de ser imparcial pero no me sale. ES MAS FUERTE QUE YO...en esa lo banco a Pagani(?).

Christian said...

Toto no te puedo dar la derecha en estos disparates, en qué te basás para decir que Buonanotte jugará el mundial 2010? Por dios es un Cachivache esto me da vergüenza con estos equipos obvio que todos te van a decir que sos asquerosamente parcial. Encima Cavenaghi es un muerto!!!!
Igual te respeto

kuzemka said...

Toto,sos mas reiterativo que graña con los informes de travestis,diversifica un poco, sera mejor,si no vas a tener menos vida que el experimento de sofovich "el expreso" si mal no recuerdo....un abrazo....

MarcosDream said...

pobre riquelminho

es el mejor del mundo (segun pagani) pero no lo quieren de nuevo en europa
jaja

Riquelme no tiene lugar en España
Atlético negó contactos, Real no da señales y Villarreal se lo quiere sacar de encima

MarcosDream said...

respecto al post, todo es posible, pensemos que messi, aparecio muy rapidamente y en 2 anios tomo lugar en barcelona y en la seleccion y mas adelante puede pasar lo mismo salir jugadores tapados

Anonymous said...

uy no, que va a pasar con Boca...no vende ni a Riquelme a Europa mientras River vende hasta a su arquero y es el gran semillero del pais...bue, tendremos que seguir usando a estos indeseables y ganando titulos, rompiendole el culo a River y todos los otros equipos. Que cagada (?), daria la Libertadores con tal que a Riquelme lo compre el Atletico (?)

BOLUDOSSSSSS

Anonymous said...

El ultimo mensaje es para el metrosexual de Marcosdream, porque no te pones un flog putazo....

guido said...

La verdad te leo (farinella) hace banda (roja que cruza el alma) y me cago de risa. Yo soy quemero a muerte y meto en mi blog muchos post del globo, pero vos me ganás por choreo. Sinceramente, yo, como impacial no me aburren. No hay nada mejor que cuando se mezcla la pasión con la sabiduría de uno. Que sigan estos post loco!!!

Saludos

Anonymous said...

El Kun Aguero. El resto, pone a los que quieras...

(Con ese equipo que armaste perdemos con Tanzania.)

Raulo said...

Toto te fuiste al carajo bolu...me vas a decir que no lo pones al gaby milito?
dejate de joder...posta que soy hincha fanatico de river, pero hay jugadores que son 10 o 100 veces mejores a los que nombraste...
aparte anda sabiendo que mientras este el PUTO de daniel alberto nunca va a jugar el crack de buonanotte...demasiado jugador para pasarella.

Ponete las pilas que me cago de risa con tu blog, pero deja de lado un poco la banda roja y se mas objetivo chabon!
Suerte!

yonosoy said...

agregalo al team (?) a tristelme, asi los bostis se ponen chochos (!)

yonosoy said...

che toto, no es "está" es "ésta"

Anonymous said...

toto gay te olvidaste de SAVIOLA!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ssaviola es mas que cavegol aunque jueguen en otra posicion. Con los dos juntos es choreo y si lo sacas a messi van a llorar.
No se como va a hacer pero saviola tiene que estar

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.

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