AS WE WRITE THIS, it has been several years since we penned the first edition
of The Official Ubuntu Book. Over that time, we have seen Ubuntu continue
its explosive growth. Updating this book drives this fact home in striking
ways. For example, the number of users and posts in the Ubuntu Forums
has nearly doubled since the last edition of this book a year ago. Again. The
number of officially supported flavors of Ubuntu has increased as well. Again. Once again, we feel blessed that The Official Ubuntu Book has been
able to benefit from, and perhaps in a small way even contribute to, that success.
Ultimately, that success paved the way for several subsequent editions,
and now the sixth edition, of the book that you’re reading now.
In the process, this book, like Ubuntu, continues to mature. Our job as
authors, like that of the Ubuntu developers, now involves more updating
and polishing than it used to. Distributed under a free license, a once-risky
book on a once-risky operating system is, just a few short years later, as
close to a sure thing as an author, publisher, and if we have done our job
well, a reader, could hope for.
And yet with success comes responsibility to our readers and to our users
with high expectations. Ubuntu’s success is built in part of maturity and
excellence, and it cannot sacrifice these qualities if it will succeed. We cannot
either. Our job as writers is complicated because we need to accurately
reflect and represent both while catering to an increasing and increasingly
diverse group of users.