The hardest part for any newcomer to Linux isn’t editing config files or setting up services. It is finding decent documentation. Generally, when a newbie comes to the Linux scene, he/she spends a great deal of time online searching the web for that valuable peice of needed information. Blogs, wikis, forums, email lists, newsgroups, IRC channels and anything else that Google can pull up. I know. I was there once as we all were and still are.
Well, Ubuntu has made this much easier. They have released a series of help guides and documentation that is sure to help out most any Ubuntu Linux user. First, there is the Official Ubuntu Desktop Guide that can be found at Lulu, the publisher for the book. It is dirt cheap, only costing US $6.49- enough to pay for shipping/handling and printing. Canonical and Lulu both make $0.00 on every copy sold. It’s 98 pages in length.
If you would rather have an eBook than a printed copy, no worries. There are HTML and PDF versions available on the Ubuntu site. If that isn’t enough, the guides have been translated into 10 different languages so far thanks to the translation teams. Further, there is a Server Guide and Packaging Guide. The guides are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike License. Now, if this isn’t enough, the manual is available for both Ubuntu Breezy 5.10 and Dapper 6.06 LTS.
Ubuntu has always had an upper hand on guides and docs, though. With Ubuntuforums.org and the Ubuntu Wiki, you can find anything you need help with. Period. What I find interesting is the number of non-Ubuntu users who come to the forums looking for help. I have seen Fedora Core users, SuSE users, Debian users, Mandriva, Linspire, Mepis, RedHat EL, Arch, *BSD, Gentoo and a ton of others. Ubuntuforums.org is the most acitve and visitied Linux forum on the web, no doubt about that. There is also the Ubuntu Documentation Storage Facility, which I am a member of, has a ton of useful info in wiki format.
So, only one question remains then. When is your Linux vendor going to start supporting decent documentation, or when are you going to make the switch to Ubuntu?