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Sample chapter available for revised Ubuntu book
Jun. 12, 2008

Rickford Grant has revised his book, Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, to cover Ubuntu 8.04, Hardy Heron. Published by No Starch Press, which is offering a free sample chapter, the third edition counsels beginners on topics ranging from working with removable storage to interfacing with iPods.

(Click for larger view of cover of Ubuntu for Non-Geeks)

First published in August 2006, Ubuntu for Non-Geeks is a hands-on, project-based, take-it-slow guidebook intended for beginners to both Ubuntu and Linux in general, says No Starch. Grant uses immersion-learning techniques and step-by-step projects, helping readers absorb and apply what they've learned, says the publisher. Author Rickford Grant is a teacher and long-time "computer operating system maniac" living in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The 360-page third edition updates the book to reflect new technology, as well as Ubuntu's latest release, Hardy Heron. It is billed as a hands-on guidebook that help new users quickly customize their systems.

Topics include advice on how to:
  • Download and install free software, games, and utilities
  • Connect to wired and wireless networks or transfer files via Bluetooth
  • Configure printers, scanners, monitors, and USB flash drives
  • Watch DVDs, listen to music, and even sync their iPods
  • Edit and share digital photos and videos
  • Customize the look and feel of the system
  • Tackle more advanced tasks like working with commands and using Windows applications
The sample chapter, "A New Place to Call Home," (see link below) explores Ubuntu/GNOME desktop basics, and shows how to customize the GNOME panel. For example, Grant demonstrates how to add utility buttons, program launchers, and drawers, as well as change and move icons. He then shows how to manipulate menus, including changing icons within menus, and changing the order of icons. He concludes with a section on virtual desktops.

Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition is available now for $35, says No Starch Press, and is distributed by O'Reilly. More information may be found here. The sample chapter, "A New Place to Call Home, Chapter Three," should be available here.

-- Eric Brown

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