Many of us work with Linux on our servers everyday but have yet to move away from Microsoft products at home. Why? Who can say? We all have our reasons, but to be honest most of mine are getting harder and harder to justify. I have been tempted for some time, as MythTV is so much cheaper than TiVo, but I have still been hesitant. This month’s book, Moving from Windows to Linux, has given me the extra push needed to stop making excuses and make the switch.
As the authors state from the outset, this book is written for the experienced Windows user who has little or no experience with Linux. So there is no need to worry about getting lost as Moving starts at the very beginning, answering the most basic questions, explaining what Linux is, distributions, desktops and shells. The authors walk you through installations of SuSE and Fedora; there are also detailed explanation for working in KDE and GNOME. Part III introduces Open Office and runs down all the basics of the Microsoft Office equivalent. Mozilla, Konqueror, Evolution, Kmail, Thunderbird, and GIMP (an Adobe Photoshop equivalent) are all discussed in detail. If you like to have a hard manual in front of you while you are learning how to use new software, these sections of the book are great but all of this information is available in various places online. Sadly there are only a couple pages on video and multimedia software.
Unfortunately, despite all the great apps out there for Linux, you might still find the Linux environment limiting. The latest games are not Linux-friendly and useful things like Quicken really do not have good Linux equivalents. Many small businesses will surely find a hard time completely switching over to Linux for lack of certain necessary applications. My personal solution to these problems is to install a virtual Windows machine with VMWare, but understandably, this may not be for everyone. I, however, am willing to overlook a few disadvantages for free TiVo.
The bottom-line here is that if you are honestly unsure about moving your home or office computers to Linux this book might allay your fears and encourage you to get started. If you are a Linux desktop newbie, Moving from Windows to Linux will certainly walk you through the process step-by-step. Many will not find this book useful, as so much of this information is really intuitive if you have worked extensively in any Linux environment.
Moving From Windows to Linux (Networking Series) by Chuck Easttom and Bryan Hoff. Charles River Media. 300 pages, $44.95 US, $60.95 CAN.