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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137003884
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 1/9/2009
  • Edition description: Book and DVD
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1222
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.00 (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 the author of many best-selling books, including A Practical Guide to Red Hat® Linux®, Fourth Edition; A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming; and A Practical Guide to Linux® for Mac OS® X Users (coauthored with Peter Seebach), all from Prentice Hall, and A Practical Guide to the UNIX System from Addison-Wesley.

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Table of Contents

List of JumpStarts xxxvii

Preface xxxix

Chapter 1: Welcome to Linux 1

Ubuntu Linux 2

The History of UNIX and GNU—Linux 3

What Is So Good About Linux? 7

Overview of Linux 12

Additional Features of Linux 17

Conventions Used in This Book 19

Chapter Summary 21

Exercises 22

PART I: Installing Ubuntu Linux 23

Chapter 2: Installation Overview 25

The Live/Install Desktop CD/DVD 26

More Information 26

Planning the Installation 27

The Installation Process 41

Downloading and Burning a CD/DVD 42

Gathering Information About the System 46

Chapter Summary 47

Exercises 48

Advanced Exercises 48

Chapter 3: Step-by-Step Installation 49

Basic Installation from the Live/Install Desktop CD/DVD 50

Graphical Partitioners 58

Upgrading to a New Release 64

Installing KDE 65

Setting Up a Dual-Boot System 66

Advanced Installation 67

Chapter Summary 81

Exercises 81

Advanced Exercises 81

PART II: Getting Started with Ubuntu Linux 83

Chapter 4: Introduction to Ubuntu Linux 85

Curbing Your Power: root Privileges/sudo 86

A Tour of the Ubuntu Linux Desktop 87

Getting the Most out of the Desktop 104

Updating, Installing, and Removing Software Packages 116

Where to Find Documentation 121

More About Logging In 130

Working from the Command Line 135

Controlling Windows: Advanced Operations 138

Chapter Summary 140

Exercises 142

Advanced Exercises 142

Chapter 5: The Linux Utilities 145

Special Characters 146

Basic Utilities 147

Working with Files 149

(Pipe): Communicates Between Processes 156

Four More Utilities 157

Compressing and Archiving Files 160

Locating Commands 164

Obtaining User and System Information 166

Communicating with Other Users 170

Email 171

Tutorial: Using vim to Create and Edit a File 172

Chapter Summary 179

Exercises 182

Advanced Exercises 183

Chapter 6: The Linux Filesystem 185

The Hierarchical Filesystem 186

Directory Files and Ordinary Files 186

Pathnames 191

Working with Directories 193

Access Permissions 201

ACLs: Access Control Lists 207

Links 212

Chapter Summary 218

Exercises 220

Advanced Exercises 222

Chapter 7: The Shell 223

The Command Line 224

Standard Input and Standard Output 229

Running a Command in the Background 240

Filename Generation/Pathname Expansion 242

Builtins 247

Chapter Summary 247

Exercises 248

Advanced Exercises 250

PART III: Digging into Ubuntu Linux 251

Chapter 8: Linux GUIs: X and GNOME 253

X Window System 254

The Nautilus File Browser Window 262

GNOME Utilities 269

Chapter Summary 272

Exercises 273

Advanced Exercises 274

Chapter 9: The Bourne Again Shell 275

Background 276

Shell Basics 277

Parameters and Variables 296

Special Characters 310

Processes 312

History 314

Aliases 330

Functions 333

Controlling bash: Features and Options 336

Processing the Command Line 340

Chapter Summary 349

Exercises 351

Advanced Exercises 353

Chapter 10: Networking and the Internet 355

Types of Networks and How They Work 357

Communicate Over a Network 372

Network Utilities 374

Distributed Computing 381

Usenet 391

WWW: World Wide Web 393

Chapter Summary 395

Exercises 396

Advanced Exercises 397

PART IV: System Administration 399

Chapter 11: System Administration: Core Concepts 401

Running Commands with root Privileges 403

The Upstart Event-Based init Daemon 416

System Operation 426

Avoiding a Trojan Horse 436

Getting Help 438

Textual System Administration Utilities 438

Setting Up a Server 443

nsswitch.conf: Which Service to Look at First 458

PAM 461

Chapter Summary 466

Exercises 467

Advanced Exercises 467

Chapter 12: Files, Directories, and Filesystems 469

Important Files and Directories 470

File Types 482

Filesystems 487

Chapter Summary 497

Exercises 497

Advanced Exercises 498

Chapter 13: Downloading and Installing Software 499

JumpStart: Installing and Removing Packages Using aptitude 501

Finding the Package That Holds a File You Need 503

APT: Keeps the System Up-to-Date 504

dpkg: The Debian Package Management System 514

BitTorrent 521

Installing Non-dpkg Software 523

wget: Downloads Files Noninteractively 525

Chapter Summary 526

Exercises 527

Advanced Exercises 527

Chapter 14: Printing with CUPS 529

Introduction 530

JumpStart I: Configuring a Local Printer 531

system-config-printer: Configuring a Printer 532

JumpStart II: Setting Up a Local or Remote Printer Using the CUPS Web Interface 538

Traditional UNIX Printing 542

Configuring Printers 543

Printing from Windows 550

Printing to Windows 552

Chapter Summary 552

Exercises 552

Advanced Exercises 553

Chapter 15: Building a Linux Kernel 555

Prerequisites 556

Downloading the Kernel Source Code 557

Read the Documentation 559

Configuring and Compiling the Linux Kernel 559

Installing the Kernel, Modules, and Associated Files 566

Rebooting 567

grub: The Linux Boot Loader 567

dmesg: Displays Kernel Messages 575

Chapter Summary 576

Exercises 576

Advanced Exercises 576

Chapter 16: Administration Tasks 577

Configuring User and Group Accounts 578

Backing Up Files 582

Scheduling Tasks 588

System Reports 591

parted: Reports on and Partitions a Hard Disk 593

Keeping Users Informed 597

Creating Problems 598

Solving Problems 599

Chapter Summary 610

Exercises 610

Advanced Exercises 611

Chapter 17: Configuring a LAN 613

Setting Up the Hardware 614

Configuring the Systems 617

Setting Up Servers 622

More Information 623

Chapter Summary 623

Exercises 624

Advanced Exercises 624

PART V: Using Clients and Setting Up Servers 625

Chapter 18: OpenSSH: Secure Network Communication 627

Introduction to OpenSSH 628

Running the ssh, scp, and sftp OpenSSH Clients 631

Setting Up an OpenSSH Server (sshd) 640

Troubleshooting 644

Tunneling/Port Forwarding 645

Chapter Summary 648

Exercises 648

Advanced Exercises 649

Chapter 19: FTP: Transferring Files Across a Network 651

Introduction to FTP 652

Running the ftp and sftp FTP Clients 654

Setting Up an FTP Server (vsftpd) 663

Chapter Summary 675

Exercises 676

Advanced Exercises 676

Chapter 20: exim4: Setting Up Mail Servers, Clients, and More 677

Introduction to exim4 678

Setting up a Mail Server (exim4) 679

Working with exim4 Messages 684

Configuring an exim4 Mail Server 688

SpamAssassin 691

Additional Email Tools 695

Authenticated Relaying 700

Chapter Summary 702

Exercises 702

Advanced Exercises 703

Chapter 21: NIS and LDAP 705

Introduction to NIS 706

Running an NIS Client 708

Setting Up an NIS Server 714

LDAP 722

Setting Up an LDAP Server 724

Other Tools for Working with LDAP 731

Chapter Summary 734

Exercises 735

Advanced Exercises 735

Chapter 22: NFS: Sharing Filesystems 737

Introduction to NFS 738

Running an NFS Client 740

Setting Up an NFS Server 746

automount: Mounts Directory Hierarchies on Demand 756

Chapter Summary 759

Exercises 759

Advanced Exercises 760

Chapter 23: Samba: Linux and Windows File and Printer Sharing 761

Introduction to Samba 762

Setting up a Samba Server 764

Working with Linux Shares from Windows 776

Working with Windows Shares from Linux 777

Troubleshooting 779

Chapter Summary 782

Exercises 782

Advanced Exercises 782

Chapter 24: DNS/BIND: Tracking Domain Names and Addresses 783

Introduction to DNS 784

Setting Up a DNS Server 796

Setting Up Different Types of DNS Servers 811

Chapter Summary 821

Exercises 821

Advanced Exercises 822

Chapter 25: firestarter, ufw, and iptables: Setting Up a Firewall 823

Introduction to firestarter 824

firestarter: Setting Up and Maintaining a Firewall 826

ufw: The Uncomplicated Firewall 834

Introduction to iptables 836

Building a Set of Rules Using iptables 841

Copying Rules to and from the Kernel 847

Sharing an Internet Connection Using NAT 848

Chapter Summary 852

Exercises 853

Advanced Exercises 853

Chapter 26: Apache: Setting Up a Web Server 855

Introduction 856

Running a Web Server (Apache) 858

Configuration Directives 865

Configuration Files 888

Advanced Configuration 891

Troubleshooting 896

Modules 897

webalizer: Analyzes Web Traffic 904

MRTG: Monitors Traffic Loads 904

Error Codes 904

Chapter Summary 905

Exercises 906

Advanced Exercises 906

PART VI: Programming Tools 907

Chapter 27: Programming the Bourne Again Shell 909

Control Structures 910

File Descriptors 943

Parameters and Variables 946

Builtin Commands 958

Expressions 972

Shell Programs 980

Chapter Summary 990

Exercises 992

Advanced Exercises 994

Chapter 28: Perl 997

Introduction to Perl 998

Variables 1004

Control Structures 1011

Working with Files 1020

Sort 1023

Subroutines 1025

Regular Expressions 1027

CPAN Modules 1033

Examples 1035

Chapter Summary 1038

Exercises 1039

Advanced Exercises 1039

PART VII: Appendixes 1041

Appendix A: Regular Expressions 1043

Characters 1044

Delimiters 1044

Simple Strings 1044

Special Characters 1044

Rules 1047

Bracketing Expressions 1048

The Replacement String 1048

Extended Regular Expressions 1049

Appendix Summary 1051

Appendix B: Help 1053

Solving a Problem 1054

Finding Linux-Related Information 1055

Specifying a Terminal 1060

Appendix C: Security 1063

Encryption 1064

File Security 1069

Email Security 1069

Network Security 1070

Host Security 1073

Security Resources 1078

Appendix Summary 1081

Appendix D: The Free Software Definition 1083

Appendix E: The Linux 2.6 Kernel 1087

Native Posix Thread Library (NPTL) 1088

IPSecurity (IPSec) 1088

Asynchronous I/O (AIO) 1088

O(1) Scheduler 1089

OProfile 1089

kksymoops 1089

Reverse Map Virtual Memory (rmap VM) 1089

HugeTLBFS: Translation Look-Aside Buffer Filesystem 1090

remap_file_pages 1090

2.6 Network Stack Features (IGMPv3, IPv6, and Others) 1090

Internet Protocol Virtual Server (IPVS) 1091

Access Control Lists (ACLs) 1091

4GB-4GB Memory Split: Physical Address Extension (PAE) 1091

Scheduler Support for HyperThreaded CPUs 1091

Block I/O (BIO) Block Layer 1091

Support for Filesystems Larger Than 2 Terabytes 1092

New I/O Elevators 1092

Interactive Scheduler Response Tuning 1092

Glossary 1093

JumpStart Index 1143

File Tree Index 1145

Utility Index 1149

Main Index 1155

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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

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.


If you read A Practical Guide to Linux® Commands, Editors, and ShellProgramming, 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).


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




editors, as well as chapters on the


pattern processing language and the


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


  • 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,


    , 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




    partition editors, the


    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.


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




    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


    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 (


    ) 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


    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


    textual editor.

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




    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


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


    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.,





    • 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






, and



  • Describes compression/archive utilities, including






, and



  • Explains how to customize and build a Linux kernel.

The book:

  • Helps you manage basic system security issues using


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


    (firewalls), and more.

  • Covers using


    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


    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,




    , 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




The book:

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

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


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 (


) 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


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


, 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


, working with root privileges, system operation,


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


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


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




, and


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


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




    , and


    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



    : 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.


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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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Very practical and useful guide to Ubuntu Linux

    While the documentation contained within the manual is well written and concise, the software DVD leaves very little option to those that intend to use the software on an older laptop per say without DVD capability. I was able to install the OS on a relatively newer system without any difficulties. Very nice interface and tons of additional applications. I highly recommend this reference to those that have previous Linux experience and understand the capabilities and uses of the additional software included.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2009

    I liked this book alot if you know Linux you'll understand this book

    If you know Ubuntu Linux this book is great for you if not it will teach you. Great for IT Professionals and Users.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    A perfect book for new people as well as a great reference for intermediates and professionals.

    This book provides all of the necessary information to familiarize you to the Ubuntu operating system and set it up to run in the manner that you wish. It does go into technical detail, but offers a decent commentary and explanation in most areas. One down side is that it covers already outdated releases of Ubuntu, but this is understandable since 8.10 is an LTS release that is backed for years to come in addition to the fact that much of the material is applicable to multiple versions of Linux with minor alterations or no changes at all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2009

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    Posted January 18, 2009

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    Posted May 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2008

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