Moving to Linux

This article appeared in print in Micro Mart in February 2006.

Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! cover Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! is a book aimed at complete beginners with no experience of Linux. It starts off with an excellent introduction to the Linux operating system and the technological and sociological issues surrounding it. The pros and cons of switching to Linux are explained clearly and the book includes a version of KNOPPIX on CD, with an associated chapter guiding through the use of the distribution. However unlike other books, this one doesn't just include a CD and concentrates solely on explaining how to use that one specific version of Linux. The bulk of the book is a detailed guide to selecting a Linux distribution, installing it and then using it. It primarily focuses on the KDE desktop environment and the software included with it, although some of the tutorials include both KDE and Gnome equivalents of software. While most of the book is written to apply to all Linux distributions, some distribution-specific features are covered. Here the book covers Red Hat/Fedora, SUSE and Mandrake (now Mandriva).

Every aspect of using a Linux system is covered, from web browsing, word processing and creating graphics with The Gimp to configuring hardware, and also some advanced topics in the appendixes - most notably advanced use of the command line. This is generally considered out-of-place in a beginners' book, but including it gives new users the opportunity to go much deeper into the operating system and see what happens behind the scenes if they wish to.