In a recent story, I wrote about the best three ways to pick up desktop Linux. These are: buying a PC with pre-installed Linux; Live Linux CD/USB-sticks; and installing an easy-to-use Linux distribution like Mint or MEPIS. That’s all well and good, but a recent reader note reminded that many users need more than just a running Linux distribution to get up to speed. What these users need is a good introduction to Linux. So, for all of you to whom “root” is something that trees have but operating system don’t, these books are for you.
My favorite Linux book for beginners is still Robin “Roblimo” Miller’s Point & Click Linux!. This 2004 book may be out of date, and the copy of MEPIS Linux that comes with it several generations behind the times, but Robin does a great job of explaining exactly what you need to know to get to work with Linux. It’s still the best beginner’s book out there as far as I’m concerned.
If, like a lot of people, you’re interested in learning about Ubuntu Linux, then the best book for you is Mark Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux (Versions 8.10 and 8.04). This book takes you all the way from the basics to intermediate system administration. What I like about it is that it includes numerous real-world examples and JumpStarts, which are well-written, how-to guides. The second edition, which covers Ubuntu 8.10, just came out and, based on my quick overview, is as good as the first edition.