Cover image for Ubuntu For Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition

Book description

"A fast, crystal-clear topical tour of the amazing collective accomplishment embodied in Ubuntu." -Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

Ubuntu 8.04 has been hailed as the Linux distribution for newbies, and it's certainly the Linux for the less geeky among us. Even the name is user friendly-it's a South African term that translates roughly as "humanity toward others" and could also describe author Rickford Grant's approach to teaching Linux.

Full of tips, tricks, and helpful pointers, Ubuntu for Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition is a hands-on, project-based guide to Ubuntu 8.04 for those interested in-but nervous about-switching to the Linux operating system. This edition has been updated for Hardy Heron, the latest Ubuntu release (8.04), with its improved multimedia support and desktop effects. Step-by-step projects build upon earlier tutorial concepts, helping you absorb and apply what you've learned.

Ubuntu for Non-Geeks covers those day-to-day tasks that most non-geeks will want to perform, like how to:

  • Download and install free software, games, and utilities

  • Connect to wired and wireless networks or transfer files via Bluetooth

  • Configure printers, scanners, monitors, and USB flash drives

  • Watch DVDs, listen to music, and even sync your iPod

  • Edit and share your digital photos and videos

  • Customize the look and feel of your system

  • Tackle more advanced tasks like working with commands and using Windows applications

Whether you're new to computers, looking for a pain-free way to make the Linux switch, or just want a low-cost alternative to Windows, Ubuntu 8.04 is easier than ever. Try it and you'll see.

Table of Contents

  1. Ubuntu For Non-Geeks, 3rd Edition
    1. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    2. INTRODUCTION
      1. Who Is This Book For?
      2. Version Compatibility
      3. Concept and Approach
      4. How to Use This Book
      5. About the Conventions Used in This Book
      6. About the Projects in This Book
    3. 1. BECOMING A PENGUINISTA
      1. What Is Linux?
      2. About the Penguin
      3. Why Should I Use Linux?
        1. Is It All Just About Money?
      4. But Is Linux Really Ready for the Desktop?
      5. What Is a Distribution?
      6. What Is Ubuntu?
        1. Why Ubuntu Then?
      7. Hardware Compatibility
        1. Diving In
        2. When Research Is Required
      8. Hardware Requirements
      9. Good News for AMD64 Users
      10. Mixed News for Mac Users
      11. Speaking Ubuntu
      12. Where Do I Go from Here?
    4. 2. WADING AND DIVING
      1. Going in for a Dip
      2. Choices, Choices, Choices—Installation Options
        1. Going out for a Swim—Installing Ubuntu Inside Windows (the Wubi Installer)
          1. Uninstalling Ubuntu when Installed Inside of Windows
        2. Taking the Full Plunge—Installing Ubuntu Outside of Windows
        3. Getting Ready for Action
          1. Usernames and User Passwords
          2. Dual-Booters Take Note
        4. Doing the Deed
    5. 3. A NEW PLACE TO CALL HOME
      1. Welcome to the GNOME Desktop
      2. The Top Panel
        1. The Left End
        2. The Right End
      3. The Bottom Panel
      4. Project 3A: Customizing the GNOME Panel
        1. Adding Utility Buttons to the Panel
        2. Adding Amusing Applets to the Panel
        3. Adding a Program Launcher to the Panel
          1. Method 1
          2. Method 2
          3. Method 3
        4. Changing Panel Launcher Icons
        5. Adding a Drawer to the Panel
        6. Adding Program Launchers to the Drawer
        7. Adding the Entire Contents of a Menu to the Panel
        8. Moving Things Around on the Panel
        9. More Panel Fun
      5. Project 3B: Manipulating Menus
        1. Changing Icons Within Menus
        2. Changing the Order of Icons Within Menus
      6. Virtual Desktops
        1. Moving Running Applications Between Virtual Desktops
      7. Wanda Revisited—GNOME Easter Eggs
      8. Shutting Down
    6. 4. MORE THAN WEBBED FEET
      1. Setting Up a High-Speed Connection
        1. Setting Up a Cable or Ethernet Connection for Providers Not Utilizing DHCP
      2. Setting Up a Wireless Connection
        1. Hardware
        2. Activating Your Wireless Card
        3. Releasing and Renewing Your Wireless Connection
      3. Setting Up a Dial-Up Connection
        1. What to Do If Your Modem Isn't Compatible
        2. External Dial-Up Modems
      4. Firefox: Your Internet Browser
        1. Controlling Browser Window Clutter with Tabs
        2. Other Firefox Features: Popup Manager
      5. Project 4A: Installing Firefox Extensions
        1. Downloading and Installing the ScribeFire Extension
        2. Setting Up the ScribeFire Extension
      6. Project 4B: Installing the Flash Plugin
      7. Email with Evolution
      8. An Email Alternative: Thunderbird
      9. Other Internet Applications
    7. 5. ROUNDING OUT THE BIRD
      1. Project 5A: Installing Applications via GNOME App Install
        1. Selecting Applications for Installation
        2. Downloading and Installing Selected Applications
      2. Project 5B: Installing Applications via Synaptic
        1. Installing Frozen-Bubble
        2. A Little More Practice with Synaptic
      3. Removing Applications via Synaptic
      4. Upgrading Applications via Synaptic
      5. Performing System Upgrades via Update Manager
      6. If an Update Ruins Your Day…or System
    8. 6. A TIDY NEST
      1. Nautilus: Your File Manager
        1. The Side Pane
          1. Now You See It; Now You Don't
      2. File Handling in Nautilus
        1. Creating, Naming, and Renaming Folders
        2. Moving Files and Folders
        3. Copying Files and Folders
      3. Navigating in Nautilus
        1. Tabbed Browsing in Nautilus
        2. Spelling It Out—Typing File Paths in Nautilus
        3. Bookmarks Within Nautilus
      4. Understanding the Linux Filesystem
      5. What's in All Those Other Folders?
      6. Using Nautilus as a Network Browser
        1. Using Nautilus as an FTP Client
        2. File and Folder Permissions Within Nautilus
          1. Changing File and Folder Permissions in Nautilus
          2. Keeping Your Home Folder Private
      7. Reading Data CDs and DVDs
      8. Burning Data CDs and DVDs
        1. Dealing with CD-RW Disks
      9. Burning ISO Images to Disk
      10. Creating Your Own ISO Images
      11. Burning Multisession CDs
        1. Burning Subsequent Sessions
      12. Duplicating CDs and DVDs
      13. USB Storage Devices
        1. Putting USB Storage Devices to Work
      14. Working with Bluetooth Devices
        1. Browsing Devices
        2. Sending Files by Bluetooth
        3. Receiving Files by Bluetooth
      15. Project 6: Creating and Extracting Compressed Files
    9. 7. DRESSING UP THE BIRD
      1. Project 7A: Creating a New User Account
        1. Logging In to Your New Account
          1. Switching Users
          2. Logging In to Another Account in a Separate Window
      2. Project 7B: Customizing Your Desktop Environment
        1. Adding Emblems to Folders
        2. Setting Window Backgrounds (and Emblems Again)
        3. Dolling Up the Side Pane (and Emblems Yet Again)
        4. Changing the Desktop Background
          1. Installing Additional Wallpapers
          2. Wallpaper from Internet to Desktop—Quick and Easy
          3. Hiding the Bottom Panel
        5. Downloading and Installing the Art Manager (GNOME Art)
        6. Changing Window Borders, Controls, and Icon Sets
        7. Installing Additional Window Borders, Controls, and Icons
          1. Getting and Installing the Files You'll Need
          2. Finishing Touches
      3. Project 7C: Placing Home and Trash Icons on the Desktop
        1. Stretching Desktop Icons
      4. Project 7D: Changing Your Login Screen
        1. Downloading a Login Manager Theme
        2. Installing Your New Login Manager Theme
      5. Project 7E: Changing Your Splash Screen
        1. Enabling Automatic Login
        2. Installing Splash Screens
        3. Selecting and Activating Splash Screens
      6. Choosing a Screensaver
      7. Screenshots
        1. Why Don't My Window Screenshots Have Borders?
      8. Visual Effects
        1. Enabling Individual Compiz Features
    10. 8. SIMPLE KITTEN WAYS
      1. Meet the Terminal
        1. Shells
      2. Some Goofy, Yet Useful, Fun with the Command Terminal
      3. Nontoxic Commands
        1. $ whoami
        2. $ finger
        3. $ pwd
        4. $ df
        5. $ ls
        6. $ calendar
        7. $ exit
      4. Commands with Some Teeth
        1. $ mkdir
        2. $ mv
        3. $ cd
        4. $ cp
        5. $ rm
        6. $ rmdir
        7. $ chmod
        8. $ sudo
        9. $ locate
        10. $ apt-get
      5. A Couple of Other Biters You'll Be Using Soon
        1. $ ln
        2. $ tar
          1. Compressing and Extracting Compressed Single Files
      6. Project 8A: Creating a Plan
      7. Project 8B: More Command Practice with pyWings
        1. Getting Ready for pyWings (Installing Tkinter)
        2. Getting pyWings
        3. Creating a LocalApps Folder for pyWings
        4. Extracting the pyWings Tarball
        5. Moving the pyWings Folder to Your LocalApps Folder
        6. Running pyWings
        7. Creating a Launchable Link for pyWings
        8. Running pyWings Again
        9. Adding Emblems to Your LocalApps Folder
      8. Project 8C: Command Practice Review with Briscola
        1. Getting Briscola
        2. Extracting the Briscola Tarball and Renaming the Briscola Folder
        3. Preparing the Briscola Script
        4. Moving the Briscola Folder to a Global Location
        5. Creating a Launchable Link for Briscola
        6. Can I Do the Same Thing with pyWings?
        7. Playing Briscola
          1. The Cards and Their Rankings
          2. Game Play in Briscola
          3. Want to Know More?
      9. Customizing the Terminal
      10. Tabbed Shell Sessions in the Terminal
    11. 9. ALIENS, TARBALLS, A GLASS OF WINE, AND A CUP OF JOE
      1. Project 9A: Installing the Java Runtime Environment and Running Java Apps: Risk
        1. Installing the Java Runtime Environment
        2. Getting the Risk File
        3. Running Risk
      2. Project 9B: A Little More Hands-On Java Experience: Schnapsen
        1. Getting and Extracting Schnapsen
        2. Running and Anglicizing Schnapsen
      3. Project 9C: Say It Ain't So, Joe—Running Windows Applications with Wine
        1. Installing and Checking Out Wine
        2. Installing a Windows Application in Wine
        3. Installing Microsoft Internet Explorer
      4. Project 9D: Installing DEB Packages Not Available via the Ubuntu Repositories: Skype
        1. Getting and Installing Skype
      5. Project 9E: Converting RPMs to DEB Packages Using Alien
        1. Installing Alien
        2. Installing Qt GUI Library
        3. Getting the TuxCards RPM
        4. Converting the TuxCards RPM
        5. Installing the Newly Generated TuxCards DEB Package
        6. Running TuxCards
      6. Project 9F: Compiling and Installing Programs from Source: Xmahjongg
        1. What Is Source?
        2. Tarballs: The Containers of Source
        3. The Basics
        4. Installing the Tools You Need
        5. Downloading and Extracting the Xmahjongg File
        6. Running configure and make for Xmahjongg
        7. Installing and Running Xmahjongg
        8. Cleaning Up and/or Uninstalling Xmahjongg
    12. 10. GUTENBIRD
      1. Printers
        1. Confirming That Your Printer Is Supported
        2. Getting Ubuntu to Automatically Recognize and Set Up Your Printer
        3. Manually Configuring Printers
        4. Setting Up Printers Connected Over a Network
        5. For the Driverless Among You
          1. Checking the Connections
          2. Trying Your Windows Drivers
          3. Third-Party Drivers
          4. Trial and Error
        6. Printing Details
          1. Printing in OpenOffice.org
          2. Printing to PDF
      2. Canceling a Print Job
      3. Scanners
        1. Scanning with XSane
        2. Why Are My Scanned Images So Big?
        3. What Resolution Should I Use When Scanning?
    13. 11. FONT FEATHERED FRENZY
      1. Project 11A: Installing TrueType Fonts Locally
        1. Getting the Font Files
        2. Installing the Fonts
        3. Uninstalling Locally Installed Fonts
      2. Project 11B: Installing TrueType Fonts Globally
        1. Installing Individual Fonts Globally
        2. Installing Multiple Fonts Globally
        3. Uninstalling Globally Installed Fonts
      3. Project 11C: Installing Microsoft Windows Core Fonts via Synaptic
      4. Project 11D: Installing Microsoft Core Fonts from Your Windows Partition (for Dual-Booters)
        1. Mounting Your Windows Partition
        2. Installing Fonts from Your Windows Partition
          1. Installing Windows Fonts Locally
          2. Installing Windows Fonts Globally
        3. Unmounting Your Windows Partition
      5. Customizing Your System Fonts
        1. Making Things Look Better
      6. Creating Your Own Fonts with FontForge
        1. Downloading, Installing, and Running FontForge
    14. 12. POLYGLOT PENGUINS
      1. Read-Only Language Support
        1. Changing the Character Encoding in Firefox
      2. Typing Nonstandard Characters
        1. Using the Compose Key Option
        2. Using the Keyboard Indicator
      3. Viewing Your System in Another Language
        1. Multilingual Login
      4. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Input
        1. Chinese
        2. Japanese
        3. Korean
      5. Project 12: Installing Asian Language Input Support for SCIM
        1. Downloading and Installing SCIM Input Method Modules
        2. Typing in Asian Languages with SCIM
    15. 13. PENGUINS BACK AT WORK
      1. OpenOffice.org
        1. OpenOffice.org Applications
          1. Writer
          2. Calc
          3. Impress
          4. Draw
        2. Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org File Compatibility
        3. OpenOffice.org Features
        4. Getting to Know the Buttons
          1. Export to PDF
          2. Hyperlink
          3. Navigator
          4. Gallery
          5. Styles and Formatting
      2. Word Processing Done Lightly with AbiWord
      3. Some Other Cool Productivity Apps
        1. Sticky Notes
        2. Tomboy
        3. GnuCash
        4. Scribus
    16. 14. BRUSH-WIELDING PENGUINS
      1. Project 14A: Importing Images from Digital Cameras
        1. Importing Images from Camera to Computer Somewhat Automatically via F-Spot
        2. Transferring Images from Camera to Computer via Nautilus
      2. Project 14B: Working with Digital Images in F-Spot Photo Manager
        1. Exporting Images to Online Albums and Galleries
        2. Organizing Your Photo Collections with Tags
      3. Getting Arty with the GIMP
        1. Using the GIMP to Resize Images and Convert File Formats
        2. Dialogs
        3. Taking Screenshots with the GIMP
        4. Learning More
      4. gpaint
      5. Inkscape
      6. Project 14C: Installing Picasa
        1. Downloading and Installing the Picasa Package
        2. Running and Setting Up Picasa
      7. A Few Other Graphics Apps to Consider
        1. gThumb Image Viewer
        2. Blender
        3. QCad
        4. Tux Paint
    17. 15. TUX ROCKS
      1. Audio File Formats
      2. Project 15A: Installing MP3 Support for Audio Apps
      3. Audio Rippers and Encoders
        1. Sound Juicer
          1. The Default Folder for Ripped Files in Sound Juicer
          2. Ripping and Encoding Sound Files in Sound Juicer
      4. Audio Players
        1. Rhythmbox
          1. Adding Songs and Albums to the Rhythmbox Library
          2. Browsing the Rhythmbox Library
          3. Creating Playlists in Rhythmbox
          4. Other Cool Features in Rhythmbox
      5. Project 15B: Listening to Streaming Media with Rhythmbox
        1. Adding Radio Streams to Rhythmbox
        2. Adding Additional Radio Streams to Rhythmbox
      6. Creating Audio CDs
        1. Burning Audio CDs with Rhythmbox
        2. Burning Audio CDs with Brasero
      7. Project 15C: Listening to RealMedia Streams with RealPlayer
        1. Downloading and Installing RealPlayer
        2. Setting Up RealPlayer and Testing Your Installation
        3. Going to Town with RealPlayer
      8. Other Cool Audio Apps
        1. Other Audio Players
        2. Other Audio Apps
        3. EasyTAG and Audio Tag Tool
        4. LMMS
        5. Audacity
    18. 16. PLUGGIN' IN THE PENGUIN
      1. Knowing Your Limits
      2. iPod Filesystem Formats
        1. Determining Your iPod's Format
        2. Disabling Journaling on HFS+ - Formatted iPods
        3. Reformatting Your HFS+ - Formatted iPod
        4. (Not) Auto-Updating Your iPod
      3. Managing Your iPod in Ubuntu
        1. Managing Your iPod's Audio Files with Rhythmbox
          1. Copying Files from Your iPod to Your Hard Disk
          2. Ejecting Your iPod
        2. Managing Your iPod's Audio Files in gtkpod
          1. Downloading, Installing, and Running gtkpod
          2. Using gtkpod
          3. Setting Album Art and Editing Tags with gtkpod
          4. Copying Files from Your iPod to Your Hard Disk with gtkpod
          5. Playing Tracks on Your iPod with gtkpod
          6. Managing Photos on your iPod with gtkpod
          7. Finishing Up the Job with gtkpod
      4. Photo Transfer with GPixPod
      5. Converting Audio File Formats
      6. Linux on Your iPod?
      7. Other MP3 Players
    19. 17. COUCH PENGUINS
      1. Playing Video Streams with RealPlayer
      2. DVDs
        1. Can I Play Foreign DVDs?
      3. Project 17: Installing Support for Encrypted DVDs
      4. Totem Movie Player
        1. Using Totem to Play DVDs, VCDs, and Other Multimedia Files
        2. Making Things Look a Bit Better in Totem
        3. Totem as an Audio Player?
        4. A Couple of Other Cool Totem Features
      5. Using Your Digital Video Camera
        1. Setting Up Your System to Capture Digital Video
        2. Capturing and Editing Digital Video with Kino
      6. Other Video Apps
    20. 18. DEFENDING THE NEST
      1. Does My System Need Protection?
      2. The First Line of Defense
      3. Software Firewalls
        1. Taking Control of Firestarter
        2. Confirming That Firestarter Runs Automatically
        3. Finding Out More
      4. ClamAV: Antivirus Software, Linux Style
        1. Using the ClamAV/ClamTk Duo
      5. Project 18: Virus Scanning with avast!
        1. Downloading the avast! DEB Package and License Key
        2. Running and Using avast!
    21. A. UBUNTU DESKTOP CDS FOR AMD64 USERS
      1. Downloading and Burning Ubuntu Desktop CD ISOs to CD
        1. Burning the ISO to CD in Windows
        2. Burning the ISO to CD in OS X
      2. Ordering an Install Disk from Ubuntu
      3. Ordering an Install Disk from Other Online Sources
    22. B. RESOURCES
      1. Forums
      2. Linux Reference
      3. Blogs
      4. Hardware Compatibility Issues
      5. Wireless Connections
      6. Free Downloads
        1. Applications and Other Packages
        2. Free Fonts
      7. News and Information
      8. Magazines
      9. Books
      10. Ubuntu CDs
    23. COLOPHON