Monday, 4 November 2013

A review of "Instant Ubuntu"

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  20:00 No comments

Introduction


I was recently approached by Packt Publishing with regards to writing a book review for the eBook "Instant Ubuntu".
 
I try to write articles for the readers on this site that I hope they will find useful and so I agreed to write the review on the basis that if it is a great book then I can share that knowledge and if it isn't then I can also share that knowledge.
 
Of course what one person thinks is great another thinks is not so good and it is purely subjective.
 
Therefore my review highlights the format of the book and the approach the author has taken. It looks at the good things in the book and some of the things that have been omitted.
 

Instant Ubuntu

 

Instant Ubuntu is 54 pages long and costs £5.94. You can buy it directly from the Packt Publishing Website.

The book has three main sections:

The first section deals with the installation of Ubuntu, the second looks at the launch bar and the applications contained within in.

Finally the third part looks at the applications that are installed by default within Ubuntu.





Installation

The installation section gives a step by step guide showing how to install Ubuntu. This section is actually pretty decent and highlights all the steps that a new user would go through for installing Ubuntu.
 
I think the guide falls short in certain areas and this is common amongst how-to guides. For example when the guide gets to the part of the installer where you can choose whether to install Ubuntu side by side with another operating system or install it on its own, the guide simply states that you can do these two things.
 
It would have been nice if the guide showed exactly how to install side by side as well as installing Ubuntu on it's own.
 
The whole partitioning section was skirted over and for a new user this is one of the key areas where they are likely to come unstuck.
 
The guide does mention that you should back up your current operating system and important files but again it would have been nice to have a brief guide on how to do that or at least links to resources showing how to do that.

Quick Start - Desktop Tour

To perform the desktop tour the author works his way down the icons on the Unity Launcher.
 
There is a very brief introduction to the Unity Dash which I think could have gone a lot further. There are also sections describing the home folders, Firefox, LibreOffice and the Ubuntu Software Centre.
 
All the items within the desktop tour are just brief one or two paragraph descriptions covering each item in the list.
 
As well as covering the launcher the guide also has a look at the top panel and the network manager.

Top 10 features you need to know about

When you open the dash in Unity there are a list of categories that the programs are stored under.
 
The categories are Accessibility, Accessories, Customisation, Games, Graphics, Internet, Media, Office and System.
 
The author writes a short piece about all of the applications in each category describing the main programs that fall into them.
 
8 of the 10 items you need to know about are therefore the 8 categories listed above.
 
The other 2 items are "Software Sources" and "A few extras".
 
The section on software sources tells you all about the update manager and where you can download software from.
 
"A few extras" deals with the installation of the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package which gives you access to Flash and proprietary codecs not installed with the base system.
 

Verdict

The guide is 54 pages long and is broken down as follows:
 
  • 1 cover page
  • A page that says "Instant Ubuntu by Christian Edwards"
  • A page about Packt Publishing
  • Credits
  • About the author
  • About the reviewer
  • Another page about Packt Publishing
  • A third page about Packt Publishing
  • A blank page
  • 2 pages which contain the table of contents
  • A brief introduction to "Instant Ubuntu"
  • Another blank page
  • 1 page describing what Ubuntu is
  • 38 pages of actual content
  • 3 pages describing other books by Packt Publishing.
So really all in all there are only 38 pages in this eBook about Ubuntu itself.
 
The installation guide is succinct but doesn't cover the trickier areas of installing an operating system such as backing up your old system, partitioning the hard drive etc.
 
The desktop tour skirts around the dashboard without really covering it in detail but it does give a nice overview of the items within the launcher as well as the network manager. There is no mention of the HUD at all or scopes.
 
The 10 features you should know really just covers that applications that are installed by default in Ubuntu and a little bit about updates and the restricted extras package.
 
The guide misses out features on privacy settings, the heads up display, how to connect to the internet, keyboard shortcuts and other key features.
 
I think the £5.94 price point is a little too high for this book and much of the information contained within can be obtained from the Ubuntu website or some of the Ubuntu blogs already on the internet.
 
Thankyou for reading.

 

 

 





 

 
 
 

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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