Book Review - Test Driving Linux by David Brickner
There's always room for a decent Linux book that is focused on getting desktop users to switch over from Linux (especially if the risk is nonexistent). This book fits the bill... Test Driving Linux - From Windows To Linux In 60 Seconds by David Brickner.
Chapter List: Getting Started; Surf The Web; File Management; Music And Videos; Play Games; Email, Organizers, and Instant Messaging; Edit Digital Image; Customize Your Desktop; A Free Office Suite; Manage Your Finances; The Command Line; Great Programs That Aren't On The CD; Pre-Switching Information; Solutions To Common Problems; Index
Brickner has taken the Mandrake distribution and created a Knoppix-like CD distribution called the Move Live CD. This CD contains a KDE-style desktop Linux environment that can be booted from the CD without touching anything on the hard drive. It means you can test drive a Linux desktop environment without having to reformat your hard drive or destroy anything you're currently working on. Great news for the curious who want to understand what all the talk is about. The author also stays focused on *just* the Linux desktop environment. It'd be easy to try and write up information on Linux servers, command line stuff, shell scripts, etc. But that would dilute the focus. He stays on task and makes sure the book will appeal to the person who doesn't want to become an OS guru, but just wants to get work done using the type of tools they are already familiar with in the Window environment.
I liked the selection of software that was covered. OpenOffice to replace Office, GIMP to replace any other image package like Paintshop Pro, and GnuCash to replace packages like Money and Quicken. And best of all, they're all free. He also spends a fair amount of time on Konqueror, which serves as a file explorer as well as a web browser. There's no reason you can't use other software like Firefox for web browsing, but he had to draw the line somewhere in order to fit everything onto a single CD. And remember... when you turn off the computer, the OS disappears. This is only to give you the flavor of what Linux is like on the desktop, so that you can make some more intelligent choices if and when you decide to switch.
Very non-intimidating style of writing, and I'd feel comfortable recommending it to nearly anyone wanting to check out Linux... Except maybe my father... who has finally figured out where all the Windows stuff is at... Some dogs are best left sleeping... :-)