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Ubuntu Kung Fu

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Software 253

Lorin Ricker writes "Back in the dark ages of windows-based GUIs, corresponding to my own wandering VMS evangelical days, I became enamored of a series of books jauntily entitled Xxx Annoyances (from O'Reilly & Assocs.), where "Xxx" could be anything from "Windows 95", "Word", "Excel" or nearly piece of software which Microsoft produced. These were, if not the first, certainly among the most successful of the "tips & tricks" books that have become popular and useful to scads of hobbyists, ordinary users, hackers and, yes, even professionals in various IT pursuits. I was attracted, even a bit addicted, to these if only because they offered to try to make some useful sense out of the bewildering design choices, deficiencies and bugs that I'd find rampant in Windows and its application repertory. Then I found Keir Thomas, who has been writing about Linux for more than a decade. His new "tips" book entitled, Ubuntu Kung Fu — Tips & Tools for Exploring Using, and Tuning Linux, and published by Pragmatic Bookshelf, is wonderful. Having only recently wandered into the light of Linux, open source software, and Ubuntu in particular, this book comes as a welcome infusion to my addiction." Read below for the rest of Lorin's review.As a relatively young Linux distro, Ubuntu already sports a wealth of introductory and how-to books vying for the enthusiast's money — and I've already purchased a significant sampling of these which informs my opinion about the book here under review. And even for Ubuntu, the "tips & tricks" section of my own Linux bookshelf contains volumes which run from the encyclopedic to the practical — I'd even collected O'Reilly's Ubuntu Hacks (Oxer, Rankin & Childers) well before encountering Ubuntu Kung Fu.

How well does Keir Thomas's new book fare in this crowded field? Does he provide actual unique value to the Ubuntu community, useful knowledge which is otherwise unavailable or hard to find? In a nutshell (oops, sorry... that's a book series for another time!): Yes, he does. In fact, he hits the target pretty squarely.

Ubuntu Kung Fu is organized as only three chapters (with no preface material at all): "1 Introduction," including obligatory "How to Read This Book," "Acknowledgments" and "Sharing" sections; "2 An Ubuntu Administration Crash Course"; and, the largest chapter by far, "3 The Tips" themselves.

Though it concentrates on rather basic material, the second chapter on Ubuntu administration is actually one of the best subject primers I've encountered so far, and is written directly and to-the-point. There's the right focus and enough detail to help those users making the initial transition from Windows to Linux/Ubuntu, including coaching on users and passwords, file system structure (see sidebar "Drive Letters and Ubuntu"), and guidance regarding "Command Line or GUI?".

For example, after weeks of my own stumbling about in the vast sea of information and opinion known as the Ubuntu Forums, searching in vain for a concise explanation on the distinction between a "virtual console" and a regular old "X-windows terminal" — as an old VMS hacker, I'd had experience with such things — I found exactly the explanation I needed, including Ctrl/Alt/F-key controls, in this chapter. The author manages to underline the relevance of this even to the novice Ubuntu user as it applies to "What do I do if things go wrong?", without getting mired in unneeded exotica.

This chapter continues with the necessary skills in software installation and management, including Synaptic and APT, packages and repositories, doing a good job of giving the novice his or her bearings to get started. It concludes with a decent orientation on config files and the gconf-editor, making and keeping backups, and what to do if it does all go wrong.

"The Tips," the third chapter, constitutes 315 separate items, covering over 300 pages, the big majority of the book. Each tip is clearly titled as to its purpose, and has a small check-box in the margin beside the title so that the reader has a place to mark the tip as to personal relevance and priority.

I suppose that the best way to give you a sense of the value of these tips is to provide a summary of my own "usage statistics", derived from my own check-box marks. When I first surveyed the book to get my own bearings, I used a yellow highlighter pen to color in the check-box for tips that caught my eye and that I especially wanted to get back to... Later, as I read through the entire "Tips" chapter, I made a check in the box for each tip I intended to return to for installation or implementation on my own Ubuntu box, and where appropriate, when I actually did install or implement the tip, I made an installation note as to time and details. A good many of the tips are for information or how-to skill only, with nothing to install or implement other than enhancing the reader's own understanding.

Of the 315 tips, I counted 108 (34%) that I marked with yellow highlight; 16 (5%) that I checked for implementation, but have not yet done so for one reason or another; and 19 (6%) that I've implemented on my system. Considering that any "tips & tricks" book ends up becoming a grab-bag of items with a hit-or-miss appeal to any particular person, this is a very good personal return-on-investment. Yet this breakdown is rather arbitrary, as many of the tips are techniques to know and use, rather than configurations to manage or applications to install. In other words, your mileage may vary.

Mr. Thomas's grab-bag is typical in its variety and scope — there's likely something for everyone, both Ubuntu novice and expert, in this book. And, true to style for such volumes, the author notes this about his "big book of tips": "...that you can jump in anywhere." This goes to the heart of my only notable criticism of the book, one of organization. Unlike many "tips" books, where there's usually some attempt to organize the presentation of topical items into a somewhat obvious order, the editorial decision for UKF was to explicitly order the tips randomly — this was no accident, as the author makes explicit in a couple of his remarks.

Indeed, reading through the "Tips" chapter in page-order is no different than embarking on a thorough reading in random order — there simply is no rhyme-or-reason to the presentation of items. This is particularly frustrating because there are numerous instances of tips which are closely related by subject or purpose, and for which the reader would be well served by having them grouped on successive pages for ease of reference and purpose.

That this was an editorial decision is made clear by the fact that the Table of Contents is itself 10 pages long, listing every single tip in the book, and is then followed by a secondary, equally lengthy "Contents by Topic" which attempts to group the tips by general category, "Application Enhancements", "Command Line Tricks", "General Productivity Tips", etc. Furthermore, the editorial effort was made to cross-reference related tips in the text, under Tip 39, we find "...see Tip 173, on page 204, and Tip 228, on page 260," and so on. For all this cross-referencing and contents by topic effort, wouldn't it have been more effective to simply organize the tips in a semblance of relationship, commonality and order? After all, having done a "Contents by Topic", why not just go ahead and organize the book accordingly?

For some readers, the random shuffling of tips may not matter much, as so much of the information will be newly encountered and of subjectively individual value. And value there is aplenty in this book! I'll close by noting four items which were of particular interest and value to me, things for which I'd been previously searching for without luck, or which I didn't even know existed in the open source world of resources:

First, on the ubiquitous implementation of yet another Trashcan for file deletion in a File Manager (the Gnome Nautilus app, which is prevalently used on Ubuntu): GUI designers just can't get over the fact that "mere mortals" might actually delete files and not really mean it... hence, the Trashcan mechanism to protect them from their own silly actions.

This is actually a two-edged sword, and I'd been caught in the quandary of having intended to really delete some application files, which happen to have been root-owned, only to have them get snagged in my file system's Trashcan. The real quandary commenced when, using sudo, I tried to figure out how to delete them from the command line — but where in the heck is "the Trashcan"? I could see the files in Nautilus (where I couldn't conveniently use sudo-power to delete them), but following my own hunches as to where-in-the-file-system the Trashcan was actually stored turned up empty-handed.

UKF to the rescue — see Tips 39, 228 and 309 for everything you'd need to know about handling the Trashcan from the command line.

Secondly, I'd become quite fond of enhanced cut-&-paste (multiple) clipboard capabilities under Windows. Again, UKF to the rescue: Tip 306 let me know of an open source (KDE) clipboard enhancement known as Klipper (it's in the Ubuntu Repositories), which scratches this itch most satisfactorily.

Third, although Ubuntu provides basic, rudimentary tools (Gnome and KDE) for capturing screen shots, until I got to Tip 313, I didn't know that the GIMP could be used to augment and sophisticate screen shot capturing! And, of course, you can refine, edit and save your shots in any GIMP-available format directly. A great enhancement, if only to my working GIMP knowledge!

Lastly, like most folks, I've got a dark side, secrets which must be kept — things like account numbers, passwords, and other personal arcana which cannot, or should not, be kept in unencrypted form. Again, under Windows, I'd found an encryption technology known as TrueCrypt which I'd employed (and paid for) on that platform for a couple of years prior — and with my transition to Linux, I had mistakenly assumed that I had to abandon TrueCrypt as a Windows-only app.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I encountered Tip 145, which informed me that TrueCrypt includes an open source licensed release for Linux, including exactly where to go to install it and how best to use it! Bravo, and thank you, Mr. Thomas, for helping me resurrect an old and trusted friend!

In summary, it should be apparent that, in spite of my grumblings about the random tip presentation, I think that Keir Thomas's Ubuntu Kung Fu is a wonderful book — address the organization issues in a second edition, and I think it'd become an exemplar of its type. I recommend it highly to anyone who has become, or is becoming, an Ubuntu Linux user and enthusiast. It usefully helps bridge the gap between the Microsoft Windows experience and the not-so-different world of the Linux desktop. It provides ample practical help and knowledge to advance your productive use of Ubuntu Linux. This book takes a pride-of-place position right beside my copy of Ubuntu Hacks, where I can refer to it whenever I've a hankering to implement "that new thing" I remember having read about.

You can purchase Ubuntu Kung Fu from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333435)

I can haz Linuxes?

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333463)

The logo is actually a ninja!! Can't you see it? The kiteh is only there for size approximations.

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (5, Funny)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333757)

I understand there are actually seven ninjas in that picture.

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333959)

No there aren't!
It's a bottle and a picture of two people fucking!

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333961)

I understand there are actually seven ninjas in that picture.

They understand the importance of not being seen.

Unfortunately, it is obvious where they are hiding.

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (2, Funny)

theturtlemoves (932428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333999)

Mr. Ninja, will you stand UP, please?

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (4, Funny)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334367)

Pfft. Ninjas don't exi

Ninjas? HA! (3, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333985)

Yarr! The pirates are t'be takin' out them scurvy Ninjas!!!

Hoist the mains'l and raise a tankard o'grog to his Noodliness!!!!

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334275)

I can only assume this means you have never heard of 4chan. You lucky sod.

Re:Was the cover designed by someone at Fark? (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334697)

Sadly I haznt points to give.

First post kung fu (-1, Offtopic)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333445)

Always here for you

Kung Fool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333497)

Why do nerds think karate is so cool?

Martial arts are lame. You don't get to beat people up(it's for "self-defense" only) and break shit, you just stand around in class and do katas all damn day. You think you look cool doing ninja moves? Go do a kata in public and get your ass laughed at before you get your ass beat up by a gang of rowdy niggers who mistook your gi for a KKK robe. Half of your self-defense moves will revolve around grabbing nuts and all of the chicks in your class will be ugly, manly skanks.

While we're at it, fuck Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That was the silliest shit ever. I'd rather be forced to watch the entire run of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers while being bukakke'd on then have to watch such an asinine flick.

A pussy! (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333481)

I like how there's a little pussy on the cover; given Ubuntu's user-base that's probably fitting.

>WFT?

WFT Weatherford International (stock symbol)
WFT Waterfront (real estate)
WFT World Family Tree (genealogy)
WFT Wet Film Thickness (Coating Measured in Microns)
WFT Wire-Fox Terrier (dog breed)
WFT Windowed Fourier Transform
WFT World Fisheries Trust
WFT Wingfold Transmission
WFT Web File Transfer
WFT Wireless File Transmitter

WTF?

=Smidge=

Addictive Personality Alert! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333495)

First Post !

Re:Addictive Personality Alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333563)

First Post !

Ahaha, nice try!

I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333499)

Ubuntu CDs make fine shuriken. Debian CDs work well too. Haven't tried SUSE or Fedora though.

Re:I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333727)

They even provide their own dartboard ^..^ for practice.

Re:I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333743)

Haven't tried SUSE or Fedora though.

I believe Odd-Job used his 'fedora' as a deadly weapon. Some Jim Bond movie or some such.

=Smidge=

Re:I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334143)

I do believe the movie you're referring to starred James Boned going mono-a-mono with Handjob.

Re:I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333791)

I hear that not only do SUSE CD's work but if you throw one at Steve Ballmer he will pass up the cerimonial "throwing of the chair" as retaliation.

Re:I prefer ubuntu ninjitsu (4, Funny)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334461)

Fedora CDs can only be wielded by Oddjob!

lol wut (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333507)

where "Xxx" could be anything from "Windows 95", "Word", "Excel"

Oh the annoyances of xxx film. Why can't they make it look like people are REALLY HAVING FUN?

And the MUSIC! It's terrible.

Re:lol wut (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334625)

wut? I like it!

Chicka-chicka-bow-wow, chicka-chicka bonk bonk....

XXX Annoyances? (4, Funny)

Shadow7789 (1000101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333519)

I happen to love Vin Diesel.

Re:XXX Annoyances? (4, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333853)

Yea, the annoyance was trying to fit Ice Cube into the genre.

Now we know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333565)

What God does with all those kittens.

Re:Now we know... (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333839)

Now we know...what God does with all those kittens.

Um...what? Masturbates to pictures of Famke Janssen while he kills them?

Re:Now we know... (4, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333911)

kill -9?

Re:Now we know... (1, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334303)

Kittens are for huffing [wikia.com] . The orange one fuck you up real good. As the article says, "every time you edit uncyclopedia, God huffs a kitten". What it doesn't say is that every time you improve a piece of FOSS, God huffs a kitten too. And every time you (ok not YOU) have sex He huffs a kitten.

Actualy He doesn't even need an excuse, he's the universe's biggest fluffhead.

Ultimate ubuntu kung fu move (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333601)

Install a better distro!

Re:Ultimate ubuntu kung fu move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334261)

Unfortunately Gentoo is not for mere mortals. Better stick with Ubuntu.

Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333603)

First you get your cocky ass kicked by some Windows fanboi.

Then you go up onto the mountain to train with a bearded Unix guru. He forces you through a brutal training regimen with obscure CLI utilities, each with its own brain-flayingly inconsistent command line switches.

When you can debug, at a glance, Perl scripts that look like core dumps, you come down from the mountain and beat the crap out of the Windows guy with your esoteric skilz.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333651)

I forgot to add: in a bamboo grove.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (5, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333759)

By the time you come down the mountain, you're in your 30's, living with your parents, grossly overweight, and have less of a social life than the kitten on the cover of the book. Sure, you know Ubuntu kung-fu, but at what price?

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (5, Funny)

FeepingCreature (1132265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333949)

Sure, you know Ubuntu kung-fu, but at what price?

$34.95 or $43.75 with the PDF.
...
What?

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (4, Funny)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333831)

When you can debug, at a glance, Perl scripts that look like core dumps, you come down from the mountain and beat the crap out of the Windows guy with your esoteric skilz.

Everybody stand back! I know regular expressions.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333975)

HAHAHA! Your regular expressions are very good. But can you handle my LALR(1) grammar!

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334647)

Probably. Kids these days just won't believe you when you tell them that regular expressions used to be restricted to sequence, alternation and Kleene star.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333981)

Everybody stand back! I know regular expressions.

A link to xkcd [xkcd.com] would have been most appropriate there, and would have gained you a +5 funny.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (5, Funny)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334619)

And I was sitting here with 15 moderator points, thinking "should I throw him a bone for offering the obligatory XKCD, but in an incomplete fashion", or "should I reward you for giving the link and completing the joke", or even "should I mod you down for being a karma whore". In the end I decided to let my mod points vanish into oblivion due to my indecisiveness over my quandry. I feel better now.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (4, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334671)

It's not an inside joke if you explain it to everyone. Cool doesn't need +5 Funny.

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334109)

When you can debug, at a glance, Perl scripts that look like core dumps, you come down from the mountain and beat the crap out of the Windows guy with your esoteric skilz.

How do you beat the crap out of someone with programming skills? I would imagine the Windows guy would win yet again, since he's probably spending his time on things other than debugging (lifting weights, for example).

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (2, Funny)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334111)

Perl scripts that look like core dumps

Isn't that redundant?

Re:Nah, everybody knows how this one goes. (2, Funny)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334299)

You then go back up the mountain and are initiated into the Unixen, a secretive order renowned throughout the ages as the etymological root of the word "eunuchs" because they supposedly cut off initiate's penises and made them live in their parents' basements. These tales are, of course, lies spread by the Unixen's arch-foes, the Knights MCSE (pronouced "mucousey"), who desire to control all with DRM. In truth the Unixen only desire peace and freedom throughout the lands, that all men might one day arrive at the wisdom contained in the Unixen Creed: "Nothing proprietary is true. Everything, for root, is permitted."

So much for free! (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333665)

It seems silly to pay for a how-to book for a free operating system. I wonder if there's an online "Linux Documentation for the Masses" type of thing. Linux documentation online, at least from what I have seen, tends to be geared not so much for the same audience that books tend to be, unfortunately.

Re:So much for free! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333833)

Among the many places for Linux Documentation (which can be googled for), yolinux.com and ubuntuguide.org come to mind. Haven't been there in ages, though, since the ol' Kubuntu has been tuned to my liking and does what I need it to.

Re:So much for free! (4, Informative)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334045)

I peeked at it by chance in a bookstore and it actually looked pretty good. It's the kind of book that makes you notice something you didn't before and go, "that's pretty cool." As long as the books are genuinely well written, they will always be around as long as they are up to date.

A good example of an everlasting book is "The C Programming Language" by Brian W Kernighan and Dennis M Ritchie. It's a book that was written 20-30 years ago. It was sitting right there on the shelf right next to "Ubuntu Kung Fu", and likely will long outlive "Ubuntu Kung Fu" once it is gone. It doesn't matter how many C tutorials are put up on the web, "The C Programming Language" is still a damn useful book worth paying for.

Free Linux Docs Re:So much for free! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334131)

Hmmm... You've made it clear you're not expecting free hardcopy, so you [ubuntukungfu.org] must [howtoforge.com] be [linuxmanpages.com] wanting [linux.org] links [tldp.org] .

Of course to have found that you probably would have needed some uber-l337 [google.com] mad [google.com] google [google.com] skillz [google.com] .

Re:Free Linux Docs Re:So much for free! (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334475)

I knew about howtoforge, linuxmanpages, etc. Linux man pages are oh-so-user-friendly! Of course, I actually do use them and am not a blithering idiot when it comes to Linux. I guess my point was that if we want to get Linux into mainstream OS stuff, it will either have to "just work" (like Windows typically does) or the FREE documentation is going to have to be perhaps a bit more standardized, easier to find, easier to use, etc.

It is hard to "sell" (heh) something as free when you then have to ask them to get a $XX book because they are going to have on clue how to use it, it's not what they are used to, and it doesn't just work. :)

For those of us that ARE comfortable looking at random pages in google to find out how to do some weird Linux stuff, that's cool. For those that are switching to Linux, for the first time, and want to know how to get their Canon MP210 printer to work... well, they've got issues at the moment.

Re:So much for free! (2, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334137)

I've always had great success with the forums. If I google search for what I'm trying to use with the word "Ubuntu" it usually comes back with a quick tutorial which is usually in the form of "open a shell and run the following commands:", which I'm okay with. I've never encountered a site that maliciously led me astray with the instructions and 9/10 are correct. If I were a novice, it would give me exactly what I was looking for. Since I'm somewhat intermediate, it gives me a good place to start from, the package names that I need to download, and a quick primer on the configuration options. In other words, I'm a big fan.

Re:So much for free! (1, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334543)

I've had great success as well. Usually one can find the problems. But the true novice (I was in a college course with them... I took it for an easy A and for some of the more advanced stuff, but it started with how to install Linux...) is going to be doing these weird random console commands and has NO clue what he's doing. And of course, it doesn't always work, there will be something slightly different that makes one of the commands not verbatim, user has no idea, it doesn't work, now what?

My main point, as I just posted to the AC above, is this. In order for Linux to be actually "user friendly" and "replace Windows," most people aren't going to want to have to learn the inner workings of how Linux works so they are able to do a variety of commands in the console to, say, install a printer. In Windows, you plug it in, and it works. Or, you put in the CD, install the drivers, and it works. On Linux, sometimes you have to do some really weird things to get this or that printer to work. Even package management can be a real pain, with this or that dependency missing. What's a dependency? Why doesn't it install? Why is this so confusing, why can't they just make it so I download something and install it and it works, like on Windows?

If you haven't heard those last few questions, then the novices you speak of aren't really "novices," at least in my terminology. :)

Anyways. Point is that the documentation for those that know enough to use it (even if "documentation" equals "google") is pretty good. But having to BUY "documentation" (e.g., a book) because you have no clue about this whole Linux thing, you just got tired of having Windows crash with spyware, adware, and viruses... I don't know. IMO, that documentation is pretty bad if you don't know enough to barely know what to look for.. :)

Then again, I guess paying $100-$150 for Windows to have it "just work" is basically paying for the documentation, just you don't have to read it ;)

Re:So much for free! (1, Troll)

eball (1315601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334567)

Let's not forget the famous linux axiom: "Linux is only free if your time is worthless."

Addiction huh. (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333703)

Well, the support group meets here every wednesday night at 6pm. We have some papers and self-help books by a guy named Richard, who's one of the regulars here. We call him The Reverand here because if you mention "Windows" around him, he goes off about the rapture. The meeting lasts for about two hours, then there's a break and a half hour social after. We need to be out of here by 9pm though, because that's when the Macintosh support group comes in. And let me tell you, you don't want to be here when they start filing in. Most of them are court ordered, you know?

Anyway, help yourself to a cookie and some coffee... I'll be around if you have any questions about your new addiction.

Simple shit you didn't know existed (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333725)

It sounds trite, but there's a dearth of documentation for those of us who know Windows (and, probably more specifically, *-DOS and other CLIs) who can get thoroughly lost in Linux GUIs simply because we lack the fundamentals taught in a 7th grade linux programming class (which probably doesn't exist like the ones we took back in the 70s, when GUIs effectively didn't exist for the home user). I'm convinced linux isn't hard, though I've tried and abandoned it two or three times now for failure to run "required" apps that are windows only, or because the care and feeding is beyond my ability. In that time, though, I've found an inverse bell curve of documentation. Exploring GUI widgets is commonplace in tutorials; discussing minutiae is easily found on forums. Getting a really good walk through of the basics (directory structure, startup options/scripts - where they are and how to use them, etc.) is hard to find.

As for the cover...well, at least my 6 year old daughter would approve.

Re:Simple shit you didn't know existed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334085)

Getting a really good walk through of the basics (directory structure, startup options/scripts - where they are and how to use them, etc.) is hard to find.

In my (admittedly not very deep) experience, part of the problem is that different distros sometimes very slightly, some people do things different ways, and sometimes there isn't even a set agreed-upon way of handling a specific issue, but rather everyone seems to do it a little differently.

Take something simple, let setting up an FTP server. Now setting up and FTP server really isn't a difficult thing to do, but there might be a lot of minor disagreement on how to do it. You can find tons of various tutorials on how to set an FTP server up on different Linux distros using different packages, and each one will give you slightly different instructions depending on what the author feels is a "best practice".

If nothing else, it's just easier to give people a quick run-through when you have a single vendor giving you a set package with limited options. Even when you have a set Linux distribution, there are so many things that you can customize and change, and it all depends on exactly what you want to do. The best thing is probably to jump right in, but do it when you have time to research solutions to any problems you encounter. There's tons of information and even lots of people in various places who will want to help you, but it'll be hard to find a good walk-through. (unless this book is it (I haven't read this book))

Re:Simple shit you didn't know existed (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334129)

You probably want something like the System Administrator Guide [tldp.org] . Back in the day I just picked up the fattest RedHat book I could find, and actually read through it cover to cover. Don't think I ever actually ran RedHat, but it covered all the basics applicable to any distro.

Mostly, the information you want is in the man pages. 'man man' and 'man hier' to start.

I'm convinced linux isn't hard, though I've tried and abandoned it two or three times now for failure to run "required" apps that are windows only, or because the care and feeding is beyond my ability.

It's not hard in general, but if you have specific requirements it may not be able to meet them. For instance, my GF was quite capable of running Ubuntu and doing just about all her work and fun on it. Unfortunately, she requires Macromedia Freehand which doesn't work acceptably under Wine. Once you have your workflow down however, the "care and feeding" of a Linux install is much less than that of a Windows install.

Re:Simple shit you didn't know existed (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334433)

For instance, my GF was quite capable of running Ubuntu and doing just about all her work and fun on it. Unfortunately, she requires Macromedia Freehand which doesn't work acceptably under Wine.

A little off-topic but, has your GF tried CrossOver Professional? All of Adobe CS2 works fine for me on Ubuntu. However, I don't believe that includes FreeHand, as I believe that was dropped for Illustrator when Adobe took over.

Re:Simple shit you didn't know existed (1)

geeper (883542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334253)

I was kind of in the same boat as you but over the holidays last week I finally moved over completely to Ubuntu. I set up a VirtualBox XP install for the windows apps and I'm a happy camper. It was extremely simple. [cliche]It makes using the PC fun again.[/cliche]

I also give the book a 9...I own it (4, Insightful)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333735)

I've been using Ubuntu since 4.??, pretty much day in and day out for work, and this book was worth the purchase. The other Ubuntu books at the bookstore seemed like conversions of normal Linux books, whereas this one was thick and specifically aimed at Ubuntu users. Hope to see more like this in the future, specifically books aimed at helping graphic design-types become more productive ;-)

Re:I also give the book a 9...I own it (4, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333931)

I've never had a problem that ubuntuforums.org didn't have the answer to. You have to love it when something you use just has great resources.

Re:I also give the book a 9...I own it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334171)

Try:

sudo -i

It is better than su because you only need to remember one password :)

Re:I also give the book a 9...I own it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334081)

I've been using Ubuntu since 4.??, pretty much day in and day out for work, and this book was worth the purchase. The other Ubuntu books at the bookstore seemed like conversions of normal Linux books, whereas this one was thick and specifically aimed at Ubuntu users. Hope to see more like this in the future, specifically books aimed at helping graphic design-types become more productive ;-)

Small words, lots of pictures?

Annoyance eh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26333741)

My XXX Xxx Annoyance, is when it cuts to some ugly dudes cuming face - in the middle of a particularly good snatch shot!

Re:Annoyance eh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334019)

Perhaps you should stop watching your parents holiday videos?

Ubuntu Kungfu?? (1)

JediN8 (941637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333875)

Your Kungfu is weak, old man.

Ubuntu annoyances? (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26333915)

Every system has its share of problems. I'm sure Ubuntu is no less deserving of an Annoyances title than any other. What would you nominate for a chapter in Ubuntu Annoyances?

Personally, my nomination would be still having to edit fstab as root to permanently mount a network share. Mapping a network drive is dead simple in Windows. It should be just as easy on Ubuntu.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (4, Insightful)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334089)

Personally, my nomination would be still having to edit fstab as root to permanently mount a network share. Mapping a network drive is dead simple in Windows. It should be just as easy on Ubuntu.

Interesting you bring that up. Every time I install Ubuntu or any other flavor of *nix, I look to see if someone made that procedure less torturous.

As for my nomination: I think it would have to be the inability to "su" and run in root mode. I understand the reasoning behind it but stuff like this can get annoying pretty quick:
@make me a sandwitch
@only root can do that
@sudo make me a sandwitch
@OK

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334165)

As for my nomination: I think it would have to be the inability to "su" and run in root mode. I understand the reasoning behind it but stuff like this can get annoying pretty quick:

There is an easy enough fix for that:

sudo passwd root

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334277)

or

sudo bash

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334669)

'sudo -s --' works just as well, without the need to set a password for root.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334211)

You know there's nothing stopping you doing 'sudo bash' as equivalent to a plain su, right?

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334665)

For some reason I seem to think that

sudo su

Also works

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334251)

Try this:

$sudo bash

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334353)

I tend to just do "sudo bash" when i need to do something complicated. I try to avoid it though.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

number6x (626555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334375)

Try the following:

user@ubuntu_box$ sudo su
[sudo] password for user: < type your user password and hit enter >
root@ubuntu_box:/home/user#

Not as clean as pure su to root (you have to type 'sudo su' instead of just typing 'su' and you use your user password instead of a root password), but you now have a root prompt until you type exit or ctrl-d.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334489)

THANK YOU! I didn't think about that! While it isn't as clean as just "su" to root, it is much cleaner than "sudo bash" as numerous ACs have pointed out in this thread.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334587)

That would be my number one annoyance with Ubuntu (and Xandros on my EEE).

How long before malware for Linux includes the word "sudo" in front of rootkit installation?

Doing something as root should have a reminder that you're doing something dangerous, not a shortcut.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334401)

"sudo su" is your friend...

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334417)

sudo -i

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

bigfam (1355969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334441)

$ sudo su -

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334457)

In bash, !! substitutes for the last command entered. So if you have a one liner you need to sudo, you can do it like this:

$ make me a sandwich

only root can do that

$ sudo !!

OK

If you have more than one line, 'sudo bash' will get you a root shell.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334483)

Oh come on!
$sudo su -
How hard is that?

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334487)

Uhhhh, 'sudo bash'???

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334491)

Ummm..."sudo bash"? Worked this morning on my Ubuntu 8.04 server.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334527)

Can't remember if `sudo su` or `sudo -` allowed you to continue to run in root mode. Might be something to look into.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334535)

Why not try: sudo su -

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

rcallan (1256716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334569)

Call me ignorant or incompetent, but 'sudo su' gets the job done...

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334579)

only make install or make modules_install should require root privileges, anything more = fail.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (4, Informative)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334657)

sudo -s

is your friend

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334267)

Personally, my nomination would be still having to edit fstab as root to permanently mount a network share. Mapping a network drive is dead simple in Windows. It should be just as easy on Ubuntu.

I'd nominate that in a heartbeat. That and getting CUPS/printing in general to work over the network has been my two major headaches since I switched. Otherwise, everything else has been mainly gravy!

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334449)

Printing can definitely be a pain. I still find wireless to be annoying depending on the dist used.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334285)

Everything in Linux should have graphical front-end that makes the necessary edits to the config files. Linux dists in general have made a ton of progress in this area, thankfully, but I always seem to run into *something* that makes me want to beat people to death.

Re:Ubuntu annoyances? (2, Informative)

pablomme (1270790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334387)

Personally, my nomination would be still having to edit fstab as root to permanently mount a network share. Mapping a network drive is dead simple in Windows. It should be just as easy on Ubuntu.

You may want to suggest this improvement [ubuntu.com] or report the behaviour as a bug [launchpad.net] .

I'm going to learn... Ubuntu? (4, Funny)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334101)

I'm going to learn... Ubuntu? [collegehumor.com]

Re:I'm going to learn... Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334649)

They pronounced it wrong.

It's OObOOntOO.

All you really need to know (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334115)

app get install firefox

Re:All you really need to know (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334243)

apt-get install firefox

Secret Cover Cat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334125)

Love the cover image. Does Ubuntu include a man page for LOLcat?

Ubuntu is for pussies ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26334423)

Wait until Slashdot reviews my book "Kick Slackware's ass" with Chuck Norris on the cover. THAT will rock !

Ubuntu Kung Fu? (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26334507)

whoa.
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