Ubuntu is a form of Linux. Most references on Linux will be applicable to Ubuntu, but each distribution of Linus has its own features, so if you are going to use a specific operating system (Ubuntu vs. Fedora, for example) you will be happier with a book about that distribution.

This is a selection of what I regard as the best books for the purpose, but if you are reading this post in late 2017 or later, and you click through to a particular book, do look around for more recent editions. Also, check out the book reviews on my other blog, which will include all sorts of science books, some politics, and a good number of computer related books.

For books on programming (in various languages, for kids and adults) check out this post.

Linux: General books

Two years old but still good:

How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know

Unlike some operating systems, Linux doesn’t try to hide the important bits from you—it gives you full control of your computer. But to truly master Linux, you need to understand its internals, like how the system boots, how networking works, and what the kernel actually does.

In this completely revised second edition of the perennial best seller How Linux Works, author Brian Ward makes the concepts behind Linux internals accessible to anyone curious about the inner workings of the operating system. Inside, you’ll find the kind of knowledge that normally comes from years of experience doing things the hard way. You’ll learn:

  • How Linux boots, from boot loaders to init implementations (systemd, Upstart, and System V)
  • How the kernel manages devices, device drivers, and processes
  • How networking, interfaces, firewalls, and servers work
  • How development tools work and relate to shared libraries
  • How to write effective shell scripts
  • You’ll also explore the kernel and examine key system tasks inside user space, including system calls, input and output, and filesystems. With its combination of background, theory, real-world examples, and patient explanations, How Linux Works will teach you what you need to know to solve pesky problems and take control of your operating system.

    Yes, this is good: Linux For Dummies, 9th Edition

    Eight previous top-selling editions of Linux For Dummies can’t be wrong. If you’ve been wanting to migrate to Linux, this book is the best way to get there. Written in easy-to-follow, everyday terms, Linux For Dummies 9th Edition gets you started by concentrating on two distributions of Linux that beginners love: the Ubuntu LiveCD distribution and the gOS Linux distribution, which comes pre-installed on Everex computers. The book also covers the full Fedora distribution.

    Ubuntu Linux

    Ubuntu Unleashed 2017 Edition (Includes Content Update Program): Covering 16.10, 17.04, 17.10 (12th Edition)

    … unique and advanced information for everyone who wants to make the most of the Ubuntu Linux operating system. This new edition has been thoroughly updated by a long-time Ubuntu community leader to reflect the exciting new Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release with forthcoming online updates for 16.10, 17.04, and 17.10 when they are released.

    Former Ubuntu Forum administrator Matthew Helmke covers all you need to know about Ubuntu 16.04 installation, configuration, productivity, multimedia, development, system administration, server operations, networking, virtualization, security, DevOps, and more—including intermediate-to-advanced techniques you won’t find in any other book.

    Helmke presents up-to-the-minute introductions to Ubuntu’s key productivity and Web development tools, programming languages, hardware support, and more. You’ll find new or improved coverage of navigation via Unity Dash, wireless networking, VPNs, software repositories, new NoSQL database options, virtualization and cloud services, new programming languages and development tools, monitoring, troubleshooting, and more.

    Other Linux Distributions

    Not at all current, but of historical interest and probably available used: The Debian System: Concepts and Techniques and A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (7th Edition).


    Using the Linux Command Line and bash shell

    The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction

    You’ve experienced the shiny, point-and-click surface of your Linux computer—now dive below and explore its depths with the power of the command line. The Linux Command Line takes you from your very first terminal keystrokes to writing full programs in Bash, the most popular Linux shell. Along the way you’ll learn the timeless skills handed down by generations of gray-bearded, mouse-shunning gurus: file navigation, environment configuration, command chaining, pattern matching with regular expressions, and more. In addition to that practical knowledge, author William Shotts reveals the philosophy behind these tools and the rich heritage that your desktop Linux machine has inherited from Unix supercomputers of yore. As you make your way through the book’s short, easily-digestible chapters, you’ll learn how to: Create and delete files, directories, and symlinks Administer your system, including networking, package installation, and process management Use standard input and output, redirection, and pipelines Edit files with Vi, the world’s most popular text editor Write shell scripts to automate common or boring tasks Slice and dice text files with cut, paste, grep, patch, and sed Once you overcome your initial “shell shock,” you’ll find that the command line is a natural and expressive way to communicate with your computer. Just don’t be surprised if your mouse starts to gather dust.

    Linux Pocket Guide: Essential Commands

    If you use Linux in your day-to-day work, this popular pocket guide is the perfect on-the-job reference. The third edition features new commands for processing image files and audio files, running and killing programs, reading and modifying the system clipboard, and manipulating PDF files, as well as other commands requested by readers. You’ll also find powerful command-line idioms you might not be familiar with, such as process substitution and piping into bash.

    Linux Pocket Guide provides an organized learning path to help you gain mastery of the most useful and important commands. Whether you’re a novice who needs to get up to speed on Linux or an experienced user who wants a concise and functional reference, this guide provides quick answers.

    Wicked Cool Shell Scripts: 101 Scripts for Linux, OS X, and UNIX Systems

    Shell scripts are an efficient way to interact with your machine and manage your files and system operations. With just a few lines of code, your computer will do exactly what you want it to do. But you can also use shell scripts for many other essential (and not-so-essential) tasks.

    This second edition of Wicked Cool Shell Scripts offers a collection of useful, customizable, and fun shell scripts for solving common problems and personalizing your computing environment. Each chapter contains ready-to-use scripts and explanations of how they work, why you’d want to use them, and suggestions for changing and expanding them. You’ll find a mix of classic favorites, like a disk backup utility that keeps your files safe when your system crashes, a password manager, a weather tracker, and several games, as well as 23 brand-new scripts…

    Python

    Learning Python
    Python Crash Course: A Hands-On, Project-Based Introduction to Programming is a fast-paced, thorough introduction to programming with Python that will have you writing programs, solving problems, and making things that work in no time.

    In the first half of the book, you’ll learn about basic programming concepts, such as lists, dictionaries, classes, and loops, and practice writing clean and readable code with exercises for each topic. You’ll also learn how to make your programs interactive and how to test your code safely before adding it to a project. In the second half of the book, you’ll put your new knowledge into practice with three substantial projects: a Space Invaders-inspired arcade game, data visualizations with Python’s super-handy libraries, and a simple web app you can deploy online.

    My review: How to learn Python programming

    MORE COMING SOON

    Learn Scratch Programming (For Kids And Adults)

    Scratch, the colorful drag-and-drop programming language, is used by millions of first-time learners, and in Scratch Programming Playground, you’ll learn to program by making cool games. Get ready to destroy asteroids, shoot hoops, and slice and dice fruit!

    Each game includes easy-to-follow instructions, review questions, and creative coding challenges to make the game your own. Want to add more levels or a cheat code? No problem, just write some code.

    Coding projects in Scratch and other items.

    Learn Python Using Minecraft

    Write Computer Games In Python

    Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python will teach you how to make computer games using the popular Python programming language–even if you’ve never programmed before!

    Begin by building classic games like Hangman, Guess the Number, and Tic-Tac-Toe, and then work your way up to more advanced games, like a text-based treasure hunting game and an animated collision-dodging game with sound effects. Along the way, you’ll learn key programming and math concepts that will help you take your game programming to the next level.

    Scratch Programming For Kids, By The Cards

    Want to introduce kids to coding in a fun and creative way?

    With the Scratch Coding Cards, kids learn to code as they create interactive games, stories, music, and animations. The short-and-simple activities provide an inviting entry point into Scratch, the graphical programming language used by millions of kids around the world.

    Kids can use this colorful 75-card deck to create a variety of interactive programming projects. They’ll create their own version of Pong, Write an Interactive Story, Create a Virtual Pet, Play Hide and Seek, and more!

    Each card features step-by-step instructions for beginners to start coding with Scratch. The front of the card shows an activity kids can do with Scratch–like animating a character or keeping score in a game. The back shows how to put together code blocks to make the projects come to life! Along the way, kids learn key coding concepts, such as sequencing, conditionals, and variables.

    This collection of coding activity cards is perfect for sharing among small groups in homes and schools.

    A new thing called “sporn” hits the intertubesi-b4d74b5686c2d3e402c453f559c7c5ef-ERV_spore.jpgErv writes a post: SPORE: Obvious happens, EA shocked which points out a flaw in the plan by EA games to take over the world … they may be causing the “The Internet is ruining society” scenario du jour.You see, spores (entities that users, players of the game, create on by what is all accounts amazing entity-creating software) created in this new universe are automatically converted to readily available animations, automatically uploaded to You Tube. But they can be very racy, even pornographic.

    EA has been taking down sporn YouTubes and Sporepedia entries, and putting sporn makers accounts in ‘time-out’. Evidently it is someones job to sift through every single uploaded creature to make sure they arent ‘naughty’

    Continue reading

    i-9752b458400b54f1c64d9c8ebf6fe5df-tiny_pc.jpgI like to report advanced technology that runs open source systems, like LInux.From Manufactum of Germany, we have a two pound PC, running Linux, of course, just over seven inches maximum dimension. It runs at 500 MHz, can handle a gig of RAM (default 512 MB) and an 80 gig hard drive. It is pre-loaded with Debian with KDE as your desktop. That part is totally configurable, of course.Imagine replacing all the computers in your lab with something the size of a Tom Clancy novel. That would leave piles of room for, say, a bigger fridge in which you can store samples. And beer.

    Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miller writes:

    I’ve been hearing the phrase “This is the year of the Linux desktop” for 10 years. For me, it’s been a true statement for each of those years, because GNU/Linux has been my primary desktop operating system since 1997. But for most people around the world, this is the year of the the Windows desktop, same as it was last year and the year before. But if we each spent one day telling others about GNU/Linux, could we make a difference in the lives of at least a few people? I think so. That’s why I’m promising — right here and right now — to spend at least one day in the next three months handing out free GNU/Linux install CDs, and why I invite you to join me in this effort.[source]

    Hey, I may start doing that too. In fact, I’ll start now.Here, this is for you, friend.

    They tried bribery, they tried bullying. And both worked. But only for a little while….

    Mandriva had closed a deal in mid-August to provide a customised Linux operating system and support for 17,000 Intel Classmate PCs intended for Nigerian schools, but found out last week that the company deploying the computers for the government, Technology Support Center (TSC), planned to wipe the computers’ disks and install Windows XP instead.Now, however, a government agency funding 11,000 of the PCs has overruled the supplier. Nigeria’s Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) wants to keep Mandriva Linux on the Classmate PCs, said an official who identified himself as the programme manager for USPF’s Classmate PCs project.”We are sticking with that platform,” said the official, who would not give his name.[source]

    There is still a chance that Microsoft will prevail and become the operating system “of choice” for the Nigerians….

    Microsoft is still negotiating an agreement that would give TSC US$400,000 (£190,323) for marketing activities around the Classmate PCs when those computers are converted to Windows.

    Wow. A bribe of nearly a half million dollars. Go Bill Gates!

    “Microsoft is able to offer a comprehensive education solution – including software, training and support – on the 17,000 Classmate PCs for 200 schools across Nigeria,” the statement said.After public statements from Mandriva officials implied the marketing deal is legally questionable, Microsoft said last week that it complies with international law and the law of the countries in which it operates.

    Complying with the law? In Nigeria? Do they understand how funny that isI strongly suspect that Microsoft will win this one. All they need to do is to keep paying more and more in the way of extortion, and they have the pockets to do this. The Nigerians will not have the will to resist.

    Those of you who know my older (now inactive) blog also know that I’m a Linux Jingoist. I like Linux because it gives me a clean, reliable, and superior user interface (I use Gnome most of the time) but also allows me to play with ancient, deeply embedded UNIX Mojo whenever I feel like it.One of the early developments on old Unix systems was the “Calendar File” which was manipulated and accessed with the command: calendar. If you go to a terminal prompt in Linux and type in the word, you get a listing of historical events people have entered for today and tomorrow. On some systems, if it is Friday, you get Friday and Monday.You can use this calendar instead of, say Microsoft Outlook if you can figure out how to enter dates for stuff you want to do. I’m still working on that.Anyway…. Continue reading