A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux

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Overview

The Most Complete, Easy-to-Understand, and Useful Guide to Ubuntu Linux Desktops and Servers

Ubuntu Linux is a state-of-the-art operating system, and you need a book that's just as advanced. Along with being the most comprehensive reference to installing, configuring, and working with Ubuntu, A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® also provides extensive server coverage you won't find in any other Ubuntu book.

Best-selling author Mark Sobell begins by walking you through every feature and technique you need to know, from installing Ubuntu – using the DVD included with the book – to working with GNOME, Samba, exim4, Apache, DNS, NIS, firestarter, and iptables. Sobell's exceptionally clear explanations demystify everything from system security to Windows file/printer sharing.

Sobell presents full chapters on using Ubuntu from the command line and GUI; thorough system administration and security guidance; and up-to-the-minute, step-by-step instructions for setting up networks and every major type of Internet server. Along the way, you'll learn both the "hows" and the "whys" of Ubuntu. Sobell knows every Linux nook and cranny: He's taught hundreds of thousands of readers and never forgets what it’s like to be new to Linux. Whether you're a user, administrator, or programmer, this book gives you all you need – and more.

Don't settle for yesterday's Unbuntu Linux book…get the ONLY book that meets today's challenges and tomorrow's!

This book delivers…

  • Deeper coverage of the command line and the GNOME GUI, including GUI customization
  • Coverage of important Ubuntu topics, such as sudo and the new Upstart init daemon
  • More practical coverage of file sharing with Samba, NFS, and FTP
  • More detailed, usable coverage of Internet server configuration, including Apache, exim4, and DNS/BIND
  • More state-of-the-art security techniques, including firewall setup using firestarter and iptables, as well as a full chapter on OpenSSH and an appendix on security
  • Deeper coverage of “meat-and-potatoes” system and network administration tasks–from managing users to CUPS printing, configuring LANs to building a kernel
  • A more practical introduction to writing bash shell scripts
  • Complete instructions on how to keep your Linux system up-to-date using aptitude, Synaptic, and the Software Sources window
  • And much more…including a 500+ term glossary, five detailed appendixes, and a comprehensive index to help you find what you need fast

Print book includes DVD! Get the full version of the Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) release.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Previous Editions of A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®

“I am so impressed by how Mark Sobell can approach a complex topic in such an understandable manner. His command examples are especially useful in providing a novice (or even an advanced) administrator with a cookbook on how to accomplish real-world tasks on Linux. He is truly an inspired technical writer!”

–George Vish II, Senior Education Consultant, Hewlett-Packard Company

“Overall, I think it’s a great, comprehensive Ubuntu book that’ll be a valuable resource for people of all technical levels.”

–John Dong, Ubuntu Forum Council Member, Backports Team Leader

“The JumpStart sections really offer a quick way to get things up and running, allowing you to dig into the details of the book later.”

–Scott Mann, Aztek Networks

“This entire book is a real boon to any neophyte who does not have a solid handle on getting their own answers. That group is the one that I think will benefit the most from A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®. Random access is easy, but reading cover to cover would also give one a nice foundational understanding of getting the most out of their machine and even enough guidance to get their feet wet in the sysadmin world. Anyone thrown into owning an Ubuntu server may find this to be a handy lifeline.”

–JR Peck, Editor, GeekBook.org

“Very well thought out and simplified. [I] would buy another book from this author (Mark Sobell).”

–Greg Dye, Electronic Tech

“Ubuntu is gaining popularity at the rate alcohol did during Prohibition, and it’s great to see a well-known author write a book on the latest and greatest version. Not only does it contain Ubuntu-specific information, but it also touches on general computer-related topics, which will help the average computer user to better understand what’s going on in the background. Great work, Mark!”

–Daniel R. Arfsten, Pro/ENGINEER Drafter/Designer

“I would so love to be able to use this book to teach a class about not just Ubuntu or Linux but about computers in general. It is thorough and well written with good illustrations that explain important concepts for computer usage.”

–Nathan Eckenrode, New York Local Community Team

“I read a lot of Linux technical information every day, but I’m rarely impressed by tech books. I usually prefer online information sources instead. Mark Sobell’s books are a notable exception. They’re clearly written, technically accurate, comprehensive, and actually enjoyable to read.”

–Matthew Miller, Senior Systems Analyst/Administrator, BU Linux Project, Boston University Office of Information Technology

“Overall, A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® by Mark G. Sobell provides all of the information a beginner to intermediate user of Linux would need to be productive. The inclusion of the Live DVD of the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu makes it easy for the user to test-drive Linux without affecting his installed OS. I have no doubts that you will consider this book money well spent.”

–Ray Lodato, Slashdot contributor, www.slashdot.org

“This is well-written, clear, comprehensive information for the Linux user of any type, whether trying Ubuntu on for the first time and wanting to know a little about it, or using the book as a very good reference when doing something more complicated like setting up a server. This book’s value goes well beyond its purchase price and it’ll make a great addition to the Linux section of your bookshelf.”

–Linc Fessenden, Host of The LinuxLink TechShow, tllts.org

“The author has done a very good job at clarifying such a detail-oriented operating system. I have extensive UNIX and Windows experience and this text does an excellent job at bridging the gaps between Linux, Windows, and UNIX. I highly recommend this book to both ‘newbs’ and experienced users. Great job!”

–Mark Polczynski, Information Technology Consultant

“When I first started working with Linux just a short 10 years or so ago, it was a little more difficult than now to get going. . . . Now, someone new to the community has a vast array of resources available on the web, or if they are inclined to begin with Ubuntu, they can literally find almost every single thing they will need in the single volume of Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux®.

“I’m sure this sounds a bit like hyperbole. Everything a person would need to know? Obviously not everything, but this book, weighing in at just under 1200 pages, covers so much so thoroughly that there won’t be much left out. From install to admin, networking, security, shell scripting, package management, and a host of other topics, it is all there. GUI and command line tools are covered. There is not really any wasted space or fluff, just a huge amount of information. There are screen shots when appropriate but they do not take up an inordinate amount of space. This book is information-dense.”

–JR Peck, Editor, GeekBook.org

“Mark G. Sobell’s freshly revised reference work on Ubuntu Linux may be the most impressive computer book I’ve seen in the last 10 years. If you are currently stranded with a pile of abandoned computers on a desert isle, I’m telling you, this is the book.”

–From a review at DesktopLinux.com, http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8801274918.html

Praise for Other Books by Mark G. Sobell

“I currently own one of your books, A Practical Guide to Linux®. I believe this book is one of the most comprehensive and, as the title says, practical guides to Linux I have ever read. I consider myself a novice and I come back to this book over and over again.”

–Albert J. Nguyen

“Thank you for writing a book to help me get away from Windows XP and to never touch Windows Vista. The book is great; I am learning a lot of new concepts and commands. Linux is definitely getting easier to use.”

–James Moritz

“I have been wanting to make the jump to Linux but did not have the guts to do so–until I saw your familiarly titled A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® at the bookstore. I picked up a copy and am eagerly looking forward to regaining my freedom.”

–Carmine Stoffo, Machine and Process Designer to pharmaceutical industry

“I am currently reading A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux® and am finally understanding the true power of the command line. I am new to Linux and your book is a treasure.”

–Juan Gonzalez

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132360395
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Edition description: Book w/ DVD
  • Pages: 1141
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark G. Sobell is President of Sobell Associates Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in UNIX/Linux training, support, and custom software development. He has more than twenty-five years of experience working with UNIX and Linux systems and is author of many best-selling books, including A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux®, Fifth Edition; A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, Second Edition; and A Practical Guide to Linux® for Mac OS® X Users (with Peter Seebach), all from Prentice Hall; and A Practical Guide to the UNIX System from Addison-Wesley.

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Read an Excerpt

The Book

Whether you are an end user, a system administrator, or a little of both, this book explains with step-by-step examples how to get the most out of an Ubuntu Linux system. In 27 chapters, this book takes you from installing an Ubuntu system through understanding its inner workings to setting up secure servers that run on the system.

The Audience

This book is designed for a wide range of readers. It does not require you to have programming experience, although having some experience using a general-purpose computer, such as a Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, or another Linux system is certainly helpful. This book is appropriate for

  • Students who are taking a class in which they use Linux
  • Home users who want to set up and/or run Linux
  • Professionals who use Linux at work
  • System administrators who need an understanding of Linux and the tools that are available to them
  • Computer science students who are studying the Linux operating system
  • Programmers who need to understand the Linux programming environment
  • Technical executives who want to get a grounding in Linux
Benefits

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® gives you a broad understanding of many facets of Linux, from installing Ubuntu Linux through using and customizing it. No matter what your background, this book provides the knowledge you need to get on with your work. You will come away from this book understanding how to use Linux, and this book will remain a valuable reference for years to come.

Overlap

If you read A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, you will notice some overlap between that book and the one you are reading now. The first chapter, the chapters on the utilities and the filesystem, and the appendix on regular expressions are very similar in the two books, as are the three chapters on the Bourne Again Shell (bash). Chapters that appear in this book but do not appear in A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming include Chapters 2 and 3 (installation), Chapters 4 and 8 (Ubuntu Linux and the GUI), Chapter 10 (networking), all of the chapters in Part IV (system administration) and Part V (servers), and Appendix C (security).

Differences

While this book explains how to use Linux from a graphical interface and from the command line (a textual interface), A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming works exclusively with the command line. It includes full chapters on the

vi and

emacs editors, as well as chapters on the

gawk pattern processing language and the

sed stream editor. In addition, it has a command reference section that provides extensive examples of the use of more than 80 of the most important Linux utilities. You can use these utilities to solve problems without resorting to programming in C.

This Book Includes Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) on a Live/Install DVD

This book includes a live/install DVD that holds the Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) release of Ubuntu Linux. You can use this DVD to run a live Ubuntu session that displays the GNOME desktop without making any changes to your computer: Boot from the DVD, run an Ubuntu live session, and log off. Your system remains untouched: When you reboot, it is exactly as it was before you ran the Ubuntu live session. Alternatively, you can install Ubuntu from the live session. Chapter 2 helps you get ready to install Ubuntu. Chapter 3 provides step-by-step instructions for installing Ubuntu from this DVD. This book guides you through learning about, using, and administrating an Ubuntu Linux session.

DVD Features

The included DVD incorporates all the features of the live/install Desktop CD as well as the Alternate and Server CDs. It also includes all software packages supported by Ubuntu. You can use it to perform a graphical or textual (command line) installation of either a graphical or a textual Ubuntu system. If you do not have an Internet connection, you can use the DVD as a software repository and install any supported software packages from it.

Features of This Book

This book is designed and organized so you can get the most out of it in the shortest amount of time. You do not have to read this book straight through in page order. Instead, once you are comfortable using Linux, you can use this book as a reference: Look up a topic of interest in the table of contents or index and read about it. Or think of the book as a catalog of Linux topics: Flip through the pages until a topic catches your eye. The book includes many pointers to Web sites where you can get additional information: Consider the Internet an extension of this book.

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® is structured with the following features:

  • Optional sections enable you to read the book at different levels, returning to more difficult material when you are ready to delve into it.
  • Caution boxes highlight procedures that can easily go wrong, giving you guidance before you run into trouble.
  • Tip boxes highlight ways you can save time by doing something differently or situations when it may be useful or just interesting to have additional information.
  • Security boxes point out places where you can make a system more secure. The security appendix presents a quick background in system security issues.
  • Concepts are illustrated by practical examples throughout the book.
  • Chapter summaries review the important points covered in each chapter.
  • Review exercises are included at the end of each chapter for readers who want to further hone their skills. Answers to even-numbered exercises are available at www.sobell.com.
  • The glossary defines more than 500 common terms.
  • The chapters that cover servers include JumpStart sections that get you off to a quick start using clients and setting up servers. Once a server is up and running, you can test and modify its configuration as explained in the rest of the chapter.
  • This book provides resources for finding software on the Internet. It also explains how to download and install software using Synaptic,

    aptitude, the GNOME Add/Remove Applications window, and BitTorrent. It details controlling automatic updates using the Update Notifier and the Update Manager window.

  • This book describes in detail many important GNU tools, including the GNOME desktop, the Nautilus File Browser, the

    parted and

    gparted partition editors, the

    gzip compression utility, and many command line utilities that come from the GNU project.

  • Pointers throughout the text provide help in obtaining online documentation from many sources, including the local system, the Ubuntu Web site, and other locations on the Internet.
  • Many useful URLs point to Web sites where you can obtain software, security programs and information, and more.
  • The comprehensive index helps you locate topics quickly and easily.
Key Topics Covered in This Book

This book contains a lot of information. This section distills and summarizes its contents. In addition, “Details” (starting on page xli) describes what each chapter covers. Finally, the table of contents provides more detail.

Installation

The book:

  • Describes how to download Ubuntu Linux ISO images from the Internet and burn the Ubuntu live/install Desktop CD, the DVD, or the Ubuntu Alternate or Server installation CD.
  • Helps you plan the layout of the system’s hard disk. It includes a discussion of partitions, partition tables, and mount points, and assists you in using the

    ubiquity or

    gparted graphical partitioner or the Ubuntu textual partitioner to partition the hard disk.

  • Explains how to set up a dual-boot system so you can install Ubuntu Linux on a Windows system and boot either operating system.
  • Describes in detail how to install Ubuntu Linux from a live/install Desktop CD or the live/install DVD using the

    ubiquity graphical installer. It also explains how to use the textual installer found on the Alternate CD, the Server CD, and the DVD. The graphical installer is fast and easy to use. The textual installer gives you more options and works on systems with less RAM (system memory).

  • Covers testing an Ubuntu CD/DVD for defects, setting boot command line parameters (boot options), and creating a RAID array.
  • Covers the details of installing and customizing the X.org version of the X Window System either graphically using the Screen and Graphics Preferences window or manually with a text editor.
Working with Ubuntu Linux

The book:

  • Introduces the GNOME desktop (GUI) and explains how to use desktop tools, including the Top and Bottom panels, panel objects, the Main menu, object context menus, the Workspace Switcher, the Nautilus File Browser, and the GNOME Terminal emulator.
  • Explains how to use the Appearance Preferences window to add and modify themes to customize your desktop to please your senses and help you work more efficiently.
  • Details how to set up 3D desktop visual effects that take advantage of Compiz Fusion.
  • Covers the Bourne Again Shell (

    bash) in three chapters, including an entire chapter on shell programming that includes many sample shell scripts. These chapters provide clear explanations and extensive examples of how

    bash works both from the command line in day-to-day work and as a programming language to write shell scripts.

  • Explains the textual (command line) interface and introduces more than 30 command line utilities.
  • Presents a tutorial on the

    vim textual editor.

  • Covers types of networks, network protocols, and network utilities.
  • Explains hostnames, IP addresses, and subnets, and explores how to use

    host and

    dig to look up domain names and IP addresses on the Internet.

  • Covers distributed computing and the client/server model.
  • Explains how to use ACLs (Access Control Lists) to fine-tune user access permissions.
System Administration

The book:

  • Explains how to use the Ubuntu graphical and textual (command line) tools to configure the display, DNS, NFS, Samba, Apache, a firewall, a network interface, and more. You can also use these tools to add users and manage local and remote printers.
  • Goes into detail about using

    sudo to allow specific users to work with root privileges (become Superuser) and customizing the way

    sudo works by editing the sudoers configuration file. It also explains how you can unlock the root account if necessary.

  • Describes how to use the following tools to download and install software to keep a system up-to-date and to install new software:
    • The Software Sources window controls which Ubuntu and third-party software repositories Ubuntu downloads software packages from and whether Ubuntu downloads updates automatically. You can also use this window to cause Ubuntu to download and install security updates automatically.
    • If you do not have an Internet connection, you can use the Software Sources window to set up the DVD included with this book as a software repository. You can then install any software packages that Ubuntu supports from this repository.
    • Based on how you set up updates in the Software Sources window, the Update Notifier pops up on the desktop to let you know when software updates are available. Click the Update Notifier to open the Update Manager window, from which you can download and install updates.
    • The Add/Remove Applications window provides an easy way to select, download, and install a wide range of software packages.
    • Synaptic allows you to search for, install, and remove software packages. It gives you more ways to search for packages than does the Add/Remove Applications window.
    • APT downloads and installs software packages from the Internet (or the included DVD), keeping a system up-to-date and resolving dependencies as it processes the packages. You can use APT from a graphical interface (Synaptic) or from several textual interfaces (e.g.,

      aptitude and

      apt-get).

    • BitTorrent is a good choice for distributing large amounts of data such as the Ubuntu installation DVD and CDs. The more people who use BitTorrent to download a file, the faster it works.
  • Covers graphical system administration tools, including the many tools available from the GNOME Main menu.
  • Explains system operation, including the boot process, init scripts, recovery (single-user) and multiuser modes, and steps to take if the system crashes.
  • Describes how to use and program the new Upstart init daemon, which replaces the System V init daemon.
  • Describes files, directories, and filesystems, including types of files and filesystems, fstab (the filesystem table), and automatically mounted filesystems, and explains how to fine-tune and check the integrity of filesystems.
  • Covers backup utilities, including

    tar,

    cpio,

    dump, and

    restore.

  • Describes compression/archive utilities, including

    gzip,

    bzip2,

    compress, and

    zip.

  • Explains how to customize and build a Linux kernel.
Security

The book:

  • Helps you manage basic system security issues using

    ssh (secure shell), vsftpd (secure FTP server), Apache (Web server),

    iptables (firewalls), and more.

  • Covers using

    firestarter to share an Internet connection over a LAN, run a DHCP server, and set up a basic firewall to protect the system.

  • Provides instructions on using

    iptables to share an Internet connection over a LAN and to build advanced firewalls.

  • Describes how to set up a chroot jail to help protect a server system.
  • Explains how to use TCP wrappers to control who can access a server.
Clients and Servers

The book:

  • Explains how to set up and use the most popular Linux servers, providing a chapter on each: Apache, Samba, OpenSSH, exim4, DNS, NFS, FTP,

    firestarter and

    iptables, and NIS (all of which are supported by Ubuntu Linux).

  • Describes how to set up a CUPS printer server.
  • Describes how to set up and use a DHCP server either by itself or from

    firestarter.

Programming

The book:

  • Provides a full chapter covering shell programming using bash, including many examples.
Details

Chapter 1 presents a brief history of Linux and explains some of the features that make it a cutting-edge operating system. The “Conventions Used in This Book” (page 17) section details the typefaces and terminology this book uses.

Part I

Part I, “Installing Ubuntu Linux,” discusses how to install Ubuntu Linux. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the process of installing Ubuntu Linux, including hardware requirements, downloading and burning a CD or DVD, and planning the layout of the hard disk. Chapter 3 is a step-by-step guide to installing Ubuntu Linux from a CD or DVD, using the graphical or textual installer. It also shows how to set up the X Window System and customize your desktop (GUI).

Part II

Part II, “Getting Started with Ubuntu Linux,” familiarizes you with Ubuntu Linux, covering logging in, the GUI, utilities, the filesystem, and the shell. Chapter 4 introduces desktop features, including the Top and Bottom panels and the Main menu; explains how to use the Nautilus File Browser to manage files, run programs, and connect to FTP and HTTP servers; covers finding documentation, dealing with login problems, and using the window manager; and presents some suggestions on where to find documentation, including manuals, tutorials, software notes, and HOWTOs. Chapter 5 introduces the shell command line interface, describes more than 30 useful utilities, and presents a tutorial on the

vim text editor. Chapter 6 discusses the Linux hierarchical filesystem, covering files, filenames, pathnames, working with directories, access permissions, and hard and symbolic links. Chapter 7 introduces the Bourne Again Shell (

bash) and discusses command line arguments and options, redirecting input to and output from commands, running programs in the background, and using the shell to generate and expand filenames.

TIP: Experienced users may want to skim Part IIIf you have used a UNIX or Linux system before, you may want to skim or skip some or all of the chapters in Part II. Part I has two sections that all readers should take a look at: “Conventions Used in This Book” (page 17), which explains the typographic and layout conventions used in this book, and “Where to Find Documentation” (page 124), which points out both local and remote sources of Linux and Ubuntu documentation.Part III

Part III, “Digging into Ubuntu Linux,” goes into more detail about working with the system. Chapter 8 discusses the GUI (desktop) and includes a section on how to run a graphical program on a remote system and have the display appear locally. The section on GNOME describes several GNOME utilities, including the new Deskbar applet, and goes into more depth about the Nautilus File Browser. Chapter 9 extends the

bash coverage from Chapter 7, explaining how to redirect error output, avoid overwriting files, and work with job control, processes, startup files, important shell builtin commands, parameters, shell variables, and aliases. Chapter 10 explains networks, network security, and the Internet and discusses types of networks, subnets, protocols, addresses, hostnames, and various network utilities. The section on distributed computing describes the client/server model and some of the servers you can use on a network. Chapter 11 goes into greater depth about shell programming using

bash, with the discussion enhanced by extensive examples. Details of setting up and using clients and servers are reserved until Part V.

Part IV

Part IV covers system administration. Chapter 12 discusses core concepts such as the use of

sudo, working with root privileges, system operation,

chroot jails, TCP wrappers, general information about how to set up a server, DHCP, and PAM. Chapter 13 explains the Linux filesystem, going into detail about types of files, including special and device files; the use of

fsck to verify the integrity of and repair filesystems; and the use of

tune2fs to change filesystem parameters. Chapter 14 explains how to keep a system up-to-date by downloading software from the Internet and installing it, including examples of using APT programs such as

aptitude,

apt-get, and

apt-cache. It also covers the dpkg software packaging system and the use of some

dpkg utilities. Finally, it explains how to use BitTorrent from the command line to download files. Chapter 15 explains how to set up the CUPS printing system so you can print on both local and remote systems. Chapter 16 details customizing and building a Linux kernel. Chapter 17 covers additional administration tasks, including setting up user accounts, backing up files, scheduling automated tasks, tracking disk usage, and solving general problems. Chapter 18 explains how to set up a local area network (LAN), including both hardware (including wireless) and software configuration.

Part V

Part V goes into detail about setting up and running servers and connecting to them with clients. Where appropriate, these chapters include JumpStart sections that get you off to a quick start in using clients and setting up servers. The chapters in Part V cover the following clients/servers:

  • OpenSSH: Set up an OpenSSH server and use

    ssh,

    scp, and

    sftp to communicate securely over the Internet.

  • FTP: Set up a vsftpd secure FTP server and use any of several FTP clients to exchange files with the server.
  • Mail: Configure exim4 and use Webmail, POP3, or IMAP to retrieve email; use SpamAssassin to combat spam.
  • NIS: Set up NIS to facilitate system administration of a LAN.
  • NFS: Share filesystems between systems on a network.
  • Samba: Share filesystems and printers between Windows and Linux systems.
  • DNS/BIND: Set up a domain nameserver to let other systems on the Internet know the names and IP addresses of local systems they may need to contact.
  • firestarter and

    iptables: Share a single Internet connection between systems on a LAN, run a DHCP server, and set up a firewall to protect local systems.

  • Apache: Set up an HTTP server that serves Web pages that browsers can display. This chapter includes many suggestions for increasing Apache security.
Part VI

Part VI includes appendixes on regular expressions, helpful Web sites, system security, and free software. This part also includes an extensive glossary with more than 500 entries plus a comprehensive index.

Supplements

The author’s home page (www.sobell.com) contains downloadable listings of the longer programs from this book as well as pointers to many interesting and useful Linux sites on the World Wide Web, a list of corrections to the book, answers to even-numbered exercises, and a solicitation for corrections, comments, and suggestions.

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Table of Contents

1 Welcome to Linux

PART I Installing Ubuntu
2 Installation Overview
3 Step-by-Step Installation

PART II: Using Ubuntu
4 Introduction to Ubuntu
5 The Shell
6 The Linux Filesystem
7 The Linux Utilities
8 Networking and the Internet

PART III System Administration
9 The Bourne Again Shell (bash)
10 System Administration: Core Concepts [upstart init daemon]
11 Files, Directories, and Filesystems
12 Finding, Downloading, and Installing Software [uses apt-get]
13 Printing with CUPS
14 Building a Linux Kernel [drop and move GRUB to 10]
15 Administration Tasks
16 Configuring and Monitoring a LAN
17 Setting Up Virtual Machines Locally and in the Cloud

PART IV Using Clients and Setting Up Servers
18 OpenSSH: Secure Network Communication
19 FTP: Transferring Files Across a Network
20 Postfix: Setting Up Mail Servers, Clients, and More [exim4 or Postfix ??]
21 NIS and LDAP
22 NFS: Sharing Directory Hierarchies
23 Samba: Linux and Windows File and Printer Sharing
24 DNS/BIND: Tracking Domain Names and Addresses
25 ufw, gufw, and iptables: Setting Up a Firewall
26 Apache (httpd): Setting Up a Web Server

PART V Programming Tools
27 Programming the Bourne Again Shell (bash)
28 The Python Programming Language
29 The MariaDB SQL Database Management System

PART VI
Appendixes
A Regular Expressions
B Help
C Security Including GPG
D Keeping the System Up-to-Date Using yum
E LPI and CompTIA Certification

Glossary
JumpStart Index
File Tree Index
Utility Index
Main Index

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Preface

The Book

Whether you are an end user, a system administrator, or a little of both, this book explains with step-by-step examples how to get the most out of an Ubuntu Linux system. In 27 chapters, this book takes you from installing an Ubuntu system through understanding its inner workings to setting up secure servers that run on the system.

The Audience

This book is designed for a wide range of readers. It does not require you to have programming experience, although having some experience using a general-purpose computer, such as a Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, or another Linux system is certainly helpful. This book is appropriate for

  • Students who are taking a class in which they use Linux
  • Home users who want to set up and/or run Linux
  • Professionals who use Linux at work
  • System administrators who need an understanding of Linux and the tools that are available to them
  • Computer science students who are studying the Linux operating system
  • Programmers who need to understand the Linux programming environment
  • Technical executives who want to get a grounding in Linux

Benefits

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® gives you a broad understanding of many facets of Linux, from installing Ubuntu Linux through using and customizing it. No matter what your background, this book provides the knowledge you need to get on with your work. You will come away from this book understanding how to use Linux, and this book will remain a valuable reference for years to come.

Overlap

If you read A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, you will notice some overlap between that book and the one you are reading now. The first chapter, the chapters on the utilities and the filesystem, and the appendix on regular expressions are very similar in the two books, as are the three chapters on the Bourne Again Shell (bash). Chapters that appear in this book but do not appear in A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming include Chapters 2 and 3 (installation), Chapters 4 and 8 (Ubuntu Linux and the GUI), Chapter 10 (networking), all of the chapters in Part IV (system administration) and Part V (servers), and Appendix C (security).

Differences

While this book explains how to use Linux from a graphical interface and from the command line (a textual interface), A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming works exclusively with the command line. It includes full chapters on the vi and emacs editors, as well as chapters on the gawk pattern processing language and the sed stream editor. In addition, it has a command reference section that provides extensive examples of the use of more than 80 of the most important Linux utilities. You can use these utilities to solve problems without resorting to programming in C.

This Book Includes Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) on a Live/Install DVD

This book includes a live/install DVD that holds the Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) release of Ubuntu Linux. You can use this DVD to run a live Ubuntu session that displays the GNOME desktop without making any changes to your computer: Boot from the DVD, run an Ubuntu live session, and log off. Your system remains untouched: When you reboot, it is exactly as it was before you ran the Ubuntu live session. Alternatively, you can install Ubuntu from the live session. Chapter 2 helps you get ready to install Ubuntu. Chapter 3 provides step-by-step instructions for installing Ubuntu from this DVD. This book guides you through learning about, using, and administrating an Ubuntu Linux session.

DVD Features

The included DVD incorporates all the features of the live/install Desktop CD as well as the Alternate and Server CDs. It also includes all software packages supported by Ubuntu. You can use it to perform a graphical or textual (command line) installation of either a graphical or a textual Ubuntu system. If you do not have an Internet connection, you can use the DVD as a software repository and install any supported software packages from it.

Features of This Book

This book is designed and organized so you can get the most out of it in the shortest amount of time. You do not have to read this book straight through in page order. Instead, once you are comfortable using Linux, you can use this book as a reference: Look up a topic of interest in the table of contents or index and read about it. Or think of the book as a catalog of Linux topics: Flip through the pages until a topic catches your eye. The book includes many pointers to Web sites where you can get additional information: Consider the Internet an extension of this book.

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux® is structured with the following features:

  • Optional sections enable you to read the book at different levels, returning to more difficult material when you are ready to delve into it.
  • Caution boxes highlight procedures that can easily go wrong, giving you guidance before you run into trouble.
  • Tip boxes highlight ways you can save time by doing something differently or situations when it may be useful or just interesting to have additional information.
  • Security boxes point out places where you can make a system more secure. The security appendix presents a quick background in system security issues.
  • Concepts are illustrated by practical examples throughout the book.
  • Chapter summaries review the important points covered in each chapter.
  • Review exercises are included at the end of each chapter for readers who want to further hone their skills. Answers to even-numbered exercises are available at www.sobell.com.
  • The glossary defines more than 500 common terms.
  • The chapters that cover servers include JumpStart sections that get you off to a quick start using clients and setting up servers. Once a server is up and running, you can test and modify its configuration as explained in the rest of the chapter.
  • This book provides resources for finding software on the Internet. It also explains how to download and install software using Synaptic, aptitude, the GNOME Add/Remove Applications window, and BitTorrent. It details controlling automatic updates using the Update Notifier and the Update Manager window.
  • This book describes in detail many important GNU tools, including the GNOME desktop, the Nautilus File Browser, the parted and gparted partition editors, the gzip compression utility, and many command line utilities that come from the GNU project.
  • Pointers throughout the text provide help in obtaining online documentation from many sources, including the local system, the Ubuntu Web site, and other locations on the Internet.
  • Many useful URLs point to Web sites where you can obtain software, security programs and information, and more.
  • The comprehensive index helps you locate topics quickly and easily.

Key Topics Covered in This Book

This book contains a lot of information. This section distills and summarizes its contents. In addition, “Details” (starting on page xli) describes what each chapter covers. Finally, the table of contents provides more detail.

Installation

The book:

  • Describes how to download Ubuntu Linux ISO images from the Internet and burn the Ubuntu live/install Desktop CD, the DVD, or the Ubuntu Alternate or Server installation CD.
  • Helps you plan the layout of the system’s hard disk. It includes a discussion of partitions, partition tables, and mount points, and assists you in using the ubiquity or gparted graphical partitioner or the Ubuntu textual partitioner to partition the hard disk.
  • Explains how to set up a dual-boot system so you can install Ubuntu Linux on a Windows system and boot either operating system.
  • Describes in detail how to install Ubuntu Linux from a live/install Desktop CD or the live/install DVD using the ubiquity graphical installer. It also explains how to use the textual installer found on the Alternate CD, the Server CD, and the DVD. The graphical installer is fast and easy to use. The textual installer gives you more options and works on systems with less RAM (system memory).
  • Covers testing an Ubuntu CD/DVD for defects, setting boot command line parameters (boot options), and creating a RAID array.
  • Covers the details of installing and customizing the X.org version of the X Window System either graphically using the Screen and Graphics Preferences window or manually with a text editor.

Working with Ubuntu Linux

The book:

  • Introduces the GNOME desktop (GUI) and explains how to use desktop tools, including the Top and Bottom panels, panel objects, the Main menu, object context menus, the Workspace Switcher, the Nautilus File Browser, and the GNOME Terminal emulator.
  • Explains how to use the Appearance Preferences window to add and modify themes to customize your desktop to please your senses and help you work more efficiently.
  • Details how to set up 3D desktop visual effects that take advantage of Compiz Fusion.
  • Covers the Bourne Again Shell (bash) in three chapters, including an entire chapter on shell programming that includes many sample shell scripts. These chapters provide clear explanations and extensive examples of how bash works both from the command line in day-to-day work and as a programming language to write shell scripts.
  • Explains the textual (command line) interface and introduces more than 30 command line utilities.
  • Presents a tutorial on the vim textual editor.
  • Covers types of networks, network protocols, and network utilities.
  • Explains hostnames, IP addresses, and subnets, and explores how to use host and dig to look up domain names and IP addresses on the Internet.
  • Covers distributed computing and the client/server model.
  • Explains how to use ACLs (Access Control Lists) to fine-tune user access permissions.

System Administration

The book:

  • Explains how to use the Ubuntu graphical and textual (command line) tools to configure the display, DNS, NFS, Samba, Apache, a firewall, a network interface, and more. You can also use these tools to add users and manage local and remote printers.
  • Goes into detail about using sudo to allow specific users to work with root privileges (become Superuser) and customizing the way sudo works by editing the sudoers configuration file. It also explains how you can unlock the root account if necessary.
  • Describes how to use the following tools to download and install software to keep a system up-to-date and to install new software:
    • The Software Sources window controls which Ubuntu and third-party software repositories Ubuntu downloads software packages from and whether Ubuntu downloads updates automatically. You can also use this window to cause Ubuntu to download and install security updates automatically.
    • If you do not have an Internet connection, you can use the Software Sources window to set up the DVD included with this book as a software repository. You can then install any software packages that Ubuntu supports from this repository.
    • Based on how you set up updates in the Software Sources window, the Update Notifier pops up on the desktop to let you know when software updates are available. Click the Update Notifier to open the Update Manager window, from which you can download and install updates.
    • The Add/Remove Applications window provides an easy way to select, download, and install a wide range of software packages.
    • Synaptic allows you to search for, install, and remove software packages. It gives you more ways to search for packages than does the Add/Remove Applications window.
    • APT downloads and installs software packages from the Internet (or the included DVD), keeping a system up-to-date and resolving dependencies as it processes the packages. You can use APT from a graphical interface (Synaptic) or from several textual interfaces (e.g., aptitude and apt-get).
    • BitTorrent is a good choice for distributing large amounts of data such as the Ubuntu installation DVD and CDs. The more people who use BitTorrent to download a file, the faster it works.
  • Covers graphical system administration tools, including the many tools available from the GNOME Main menu.
  • Explains system operation, including the boot process, init scripts, recovery (single-user) and multiuser modes, and steps to take if the system crashes.
  • Describes how to use and program the new Upstart init daemon, which replaces the System V init daemon.
  • Describes files, directories, and filesystems, including types of files and filesystems, fstab (the filesystem table), and automatically mounted filesystems, and explains how to fine-tune and check the integrity of filesystems.
  • Covers backup utilities, including tar, cpio, dump, and restore.
  • Describes compression/archive utilities, including gzip, bzip2, compress, and zip.
  • Explains how to customize and build a Linux kernel.

Security

The book:

  • Helps you manage basic system security issues using ssh (secure shell), vsftpd (secure FTP server), Apache (Web server), iptables (firewalls), and more.
  • Covers using firestarter to share an Internet connection over a LAN, run a DHCP server, and set up a basic firewall to protect the system.
  • Provides instructions on using iptables to share an Internet connection over a LAN and to build advanced firewalls.
  • Describes how to set up a chroot jail to help protect a server system.
  • Explains how to use TCP wrappers to control who can access a server.

Clients and Servers

The book:

  • Explains how to set up and use the most popular Linux servers, providing a chapter on each: Apache, Samba, OpenSSH, exim4, DNS, NFS, FTP, firestarter and iptables, and NIS (all of which are supported by Ubuntu Linux).
  • Describes how to set up a CUPS printer server.
  • Describes how to set up and use a DHCP server either by itself or from firestarter.

Programming

The book:

  • Provides a full chapter covering shell programming using bash, including many examples.

Details

Chapter 1 presents a brief history of Linux and explains some of the features that make it a cutting-edge operating system. The “Conventions Used in This Book” (page 17) section details the typefaces and terminology this book uses.

Part I

Part I, “Installing Ubuntu Linux,” discusses how to install Ubuntu Linux. Chapter 2 presents an overview of the process of installing Ubuntu Linux, including hardware requirements, downloading and burning a CD or DVD, and planning the layout of the hard disk. Chapter 3 is a step-by-step guide to installing Ubuntu Linux from a CD or DVD, using the graphical or textual installer. It also shows how to set up the X Window System and customize your desktop (GUI).

Part II

Part II, “Getting Started with Ubuntu Linux,” familiarizes you with Ubuntu Linux, covering logging in, the GUI, utilities, the filesystem, and the shell. Chapter 4 introduces desktop features, including the Top and Bottom panels and the Main menu; explains how to use the Nautilus File Browser to manage files, run programs, and connect to FTP and HTTP servers; covers finding documentation, dealing with login problems, and using the window manager; and presents some suggestions on where to find documentation, including manuals, tutorials, software notes, and HOWTOs. Chapter 5 introduces the shell command line interface, describes more than 30 useful utilities, and presents a tutorial on the vim text editor. Chapter 6 discusses the Linux hierarchical filesystem, covering files, filenames, pathnames, working with directories, access permissions, and hard and symbolic links. Chapter 7 introduces the Bourne Again Shell (bash) and discusses command line arguments and options, redirecting input to and output from commands, running programs in the background, and using the shell to generate and expand filenames.

TIP: Experienced users may want to skim Part IIIf you have used a UNIX or Linux system before, you may want to skim or skip some or all of the chapters in Part II. Part I has two sections that all readers should take a look at: “Conventions Used in This Book” (page 17), which explains the typographic and layout conventions used in this book, and “Where to Find Documentation” (page 124), which points out both local and remote sources of Linux and Ubuntu documentation.

Part III

Part III, “Digging into Ubuntu Linux,” goes into more detail about working with the system. Chapter 8 discusses the GUI (desktop) and includes a section on how to run a graphical program on a remote system and have the display appear locally. The section on GNOME describes several GNOME utilities, including the new Deskbar applet, and goes into more depth about the Nautilus File Browser. Chapter 9 extends the bash coverage from Chapter 7, explaining how to redirect error output, avoid overwriting files, and work with job control, processes, startup files, important shell builtin commands, parameters, shell variables, and aliases. Chapter 10 explains networks, network security, and the Internet and discusses types of networks, subnets, protocols, addresses, hostnames, and various network utilities. The section on distributed computing describes the client/server model and some of the servers you can use on a network. Chapter 11 goes into greater depth about shell programming using bash, with the discussion enhanced by extensive examples. Details of setting up and using clients and servers are reserved until Part V.

Part IV

Part IV covers system administration. Chapter 12 discusses core concepts such as the use of sudo, working with root privileges, system operation, chroot jails, TCP wrappers, general information about how to set up a server, DHCP, and PAM. Chapter 13 explains the Linux filesystem, going into detail about types of files, including special and device files; the use of fsck to verify the integrity of and repair filesystems; and the use of tune2fs to change filesystem parameters. Chapter 14 explains how to keep a system up-to-date by downloading software from the Internet and installing it, including examples of using APT programs such as aptitude, apt-get, and apt-cache. It also covers the dpkg software packaging system and the use of some dpkg utilities. Finally, it explains how to use BitTorrent from the command line to download files. Chapter 15 explains how to set up the CUPS printing system so you can print on both local and remote systems. Chapter 16 details customizing and building a Linux kernel. Chapter 17 covers additional administration tasks, including setting up user accounts, backing up files, scheduling automated tasks, tracking disk usage, and solving general problems. Chapter 18 explains how to set up a local area network (LAN), including both hardware (including wireless) and software configuration.

Part V

Part V goes into detail about setting up and running servers and connecting to them with clients. Where appropriate, these chapters include JumpStart sections that get you off to a quick start in using clients and setting up servers. The chapters in Part V cover the following clients/servers:

  • OpenSSH: Set up an OpenSSH server and use ssh, scp, and sftp to communicate securely over the Internet.
  • FTP: Set up a vsftpd secure FTP server and use any of several FTP clients to exchange files with the server.
  • Mail: Configure exim4 and use Webmail, POP3, or IMAP to retrieve email; use SpamAssassin to combat spam.
  • NIS: Set up NIS to facilitate system administration of a LAN.
  • NFS: Share filesystems between systems on a network.
  • Samba: Share filesystems and printers between Windows and Linux systems.
  • DNS/BIND: Set up a domain nameserver to let other systems on the Internet know the names and IP addresses of local systems they may need to contact.
  • firestarter and iptables : Share a single Internet connection between systems on a LAN, run a DHCP server, and set up a firewall to protect local systems.
  • Apache: Set up an HTTP server that serves Web pages that browsers can display. This chapter includes many suggestions for increasing Apache security.

Part VI

Part VI includes appendixes on regular expressions, helpful Web sites, system security, and free software. This part also includes an extensive glossary with more than 500 entries plus a comprehensive index.

Supplements

The author’s home page (www.sobell.com) contains downloadable listings of the longer programs from this book as well as pointers to many interesting and useful Linux sites on the World Wide Web, a list of corrections to the book, answers to even-numbered exercises, and a solicitation for corrections, comments, and suggestions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A complete guide to Ubuntu Linux for beginning to intermediate users

    Finding a single book that encompasses what you want to learn can be difficult. Most cover a few portions of a subject in depth and skim over (or omit) others. Other books will cover each topic at about the same level: high enough to give an impression of what can be done, but not with enough depth to do it without a lot of effort. Mark G. Sobell¿s 'A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux' is a single volume that gives the reader enough information to effectively install, configure and run workstations and servers using Ubuntu Linux. He has come the closest I have seen to containing all of the necessary information without being too shallow. A DVD with the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu in a directly bootable form is included with the book. With over two decades of experience related to Unix and Linux, Mark G. Sobell has authored almost two dozen books on the subject. I had previously read and reviewed his book 'A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (Second Edition)' and found it the highest quality book I had yet read on Linux. This, his latest book, bears many similarities to the other text, including its high quality. The overall structure is like that of a textbook, providing a summary and exercises at the end of each chapter, as well as copious cross-references. 'A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux' is broken up into five parts containing 27 chapters in all. Each of the chapters provides Jumpstart sections to help you install and configure each server quickly, and enough detail to handle the more common configuration changes. Part I uses two chapters to provide an overview of, and step-by-step instructions for, installing Linux. The step-by-step chapter goes into great detail on each step of the process, using both the graphical and textual installation paths. Part II provides higher-level information that shows newer Linux users what they can do. Part III uses another four chapters to dive deeper into the Bourne Again Shell (BASH), the GUIs, and networking. Starting with Part IV, Mark describes how to perform the more common configuration tasks. Using seven chapters and over 200 pages, Part IV provides a great deal of detail regarding system administration. The final section, Part V, uses nine chapters to go into depth on set up various servers and use their clients. OpenSSH, FTP, exim4 (for mail), NIS, NFS, Samba, DNS/BIND, the firewall (firestarter and iptables), and finally Apache. Overall, 'A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux' by Mark G. Sobell provides all of the information a beginner to intermediate user of Linux would need to be productive. The inclusion of the Live DVD of the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu makes it easy for the user to test-drive Linux without affecting his installed OS. I have no doubts that you will consider this book money well spent.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2009

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