I’m not an author like Bejtlich, but I do appreciate when he reviews books. I like reading reviews just so I can quickly weed out the bad apples and the good apples before buying something I’ll wish I could take back. For my part, here are a couple of Ubuntu books. Just as background, I’ve run various Linux distros in the past for small periods of time, and I’ve supported Slackware boxes in a previous job, but I still consider myself a fairly new *nix user. Currently I dual-boot Ubuntu and WinXP on my main laptop, but I use Ubuntu 99% of the time lately.
Ubuntu Hacks is part of the really cool O’Reilly series of Hacks books. I’ve long enjoyed them because they take a specific question and answer it very succinctly and quickly. The authors don’t spend a chapter or 15 pages over specific topics and thus don’t get into much detail, but they get the hacks done. Ubuntu Hacks is no different and is really excellent to have for an Ubuntu newbie. I would recommend it for anyone with at least some familiarity with the Linux world. It might be worthy of being the only Ubuntu reference you need other than Google. Don’t wait too long to get this though; like other Hacks books (and many “how to” geek books anyway) it will get outdated quickly.
Ubuntu Unleashed is a much thicker book that covers far more topics with far more depth than Hacks. Sadly, the authors seem to have just taken their Fedora Core Unleashed book and repackaged it as Ubuntu with some spotty word replacements and some Ubuntu specifics. It sucks to read about using Yum or Ubuntu Core in an Ubuntu book. Still, the book works for a newer Linux user like myself, but I wouldn’t really recommend it due to the copied nature. In some places Hacks does in 2 pages what Unleashed barely gets correct in 10. With Ubuntu books dominating the Linux shelves at the bookstores, there are better Ubuntu books available than this one.