If you are planning to give a try to Linux or planning to migrate permanently from other OS as for instance Windows, I think you could not help yourself more than having this book close to yourself.
Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about the book at the beginning, and thought it is going to be a standard reference book where most of the information is taken out from the manual pages, but after reading its first 4 chapters I felt a fellow feeling to author.
Afterwards was reading the book with a confidence as seemed that author sat next to me and explained everything in simple and easy understandable words and in quite good details about each and every point I'd like to know about the Linux system.
As myself, being a Unix-like operating systems user for a quite long time, I think author covered pretty much everything you may need to know at the beginning if you want to start using Linux and don't get frustrated not being able to do A, B, C or D if you were tried it on your own.
In nowadays, we have many and various flavors of Linux distributions out there, so anyone could easily get lost among them, hence author for a start chose to explain the main differences between them, why you may like one more over the other, what are key differences, where to get information about each of them, so the confusion would no longer exist.
Another thing I liked about the book, that author appreciates communities effort in developing and supporting various distributions, so gives an appropriate credit to them. Also provides many links, how to ask and where to ask help if you are stuck or faced an issue, which in effect you get a feeling, that there is nothing to worry about in diving to unseen operating system.
Going forward author moves onto more advanced topics and explains things in further details, which gradually builds you knowledge about the system. Multiple times author suggests you start using it either via so called live image which boots directly from USB drive or DVD or host it from virtualisation software, so, even tweaking with more sensitive parameters you could be safe as the restore would be fairly simple without a harm to damage your main currently used system.
Each chapter includes some lab exercises, which forces you to get practical understanding rather than absorb dry theory, and following them in sequence you can even set up your system, which may be for a permanent use.
I highly recommend this book for those who seriously planning to start using Linux as their main operating system. You could not find many such books which takes you step by step through all the necessary details.
I give this book 9 out of 10 horseshoes.
I personally find it difficult to give 10 out of 10 to anything. Yes, this is a bl**d* good book, but if I give it 10 out of 10, what am I going to do if an even better book comes along? 11 out of 10? So don't think I am speaking ill of this book by only giving it 9.
Now to the book, which I had to buy not having Liutauras' good fortune to win a copy. I hardly opened my copy, only reading the access codes to get a .pdf, and then consigning the paper book to the shelf where it won't attract fingerprints whilst I read the .pdf.
Manning seem to be publishing a series of “Month of Lunchtimes” books. They are not intended to be read straight through. They divide into twenty chapters, each quite short, each with exercises. The length of the chapters is such that they can be read, and all the exercises done, in less than an hour's lunch break, and four weeks' reading on Monday to Friday will complete the book. Try not to read too many sections together: take breaks between the chapters. And make sure to do the exercises. The book is intended to take the reader from being a complete beginner to a reasonable level of competence. The notion is, dividing up the work into twenty chunks will make it easier to remember. Like many of us Linux users, Ovadia himself appears to have learnt mostly from experience.
This book takes a wideranging sweep through Linux; readers will know how to choose an installation, try and set up a computer, handle commands and secure their system. And much more. The chapters are written in a plain simple style with exercises to learn from. Once all the exercises have been completed, users will have a working Ubuntu system. They will also know how to customise it.
The design of the book imposes constraints on the author, who must stick to a rather narrow field. In this case, Ubuntu is chosen as the favoured distribution, and the illustrations are Ubuntu‑specific. Even so, after ten years using Linux, I learnt quite a bit from this book. I learnt much about commands at the terminal, about security and about running Windows® applications that I didn't know before. I am really glad I got this book, and expect to dip into it again and again.
You can read more where the book was discussed in our Linux forum.