From Windows to Linux

In this era of rising costs and security concerns, many people are beginning to consider a move to a Linux operating system. What holds them back are the stories they’ve heard about how difficult it can be to learn Linux and the fear that their favorite applications will no longer be available to them.

Three recent books from our friends at Addison Wesley/Prentice Hall publishing should help make the move to Linux both painless and rewarding.

Two of the books are focused on easing the transition from the familiar Windows system to Linux.

Moving to Linux (Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye!), 2nd. Edition, written by Marcel Gagné (2005-6 Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-321-35640-3, 480 pages with CD-ROM of Knoppix included)

Guide to Linux (Takes the Mystery Out of Learning Linux), written by Peter van der Linden (2006 Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-13-187284-2, 601 pages with CD-ROM of Linspire Live included)

Both authors explain the differences between Windows and Linux in language anyone can understand.

Those who currently use the Windows operating system will be shown how far Linux has come in making their user interfaces similar to their current system, especially when using the KDE desktop. People new to computers who wish to start with Linux will find a wealth of information in either book to gain an understanding of file systems, what applications are available and how to use them, how to set up their Internet connection and configure their hardware.

Both books offer the opportunity to try Linux before installing it on your hard drive. Knoppix and Linspire Live both run a full operating system from the CD-ROM. Just pop the disk in your CD-ROM drive, set your BIOS to boot from that drive and reboot. It’s that easy.

Once you’ve entered the Linux desktop, grab your faithful guide and follow along as you learn more about finding and using directories and files, using the included Open Office suite for word processing or making slideshows, how to burn CDs and DVDs and in general how to make Linux work for you.

You’ll be surprised at how familiar Linux will become in just a few chapters. Once you’ve decided to migrate completely to Linux and have installed a version to your hard drive, these books will still provide valuable information on using your system. You can even set up a dual boot system that will allow you to have Windows and Linux running side-by-side on your computer. Both books include a chapter to help you do this without worry.

One of the most useful applications that the Open Source community has provided to Linux is the Open Office suite. This suite provides all the functionality offered by Microsoft Office; Open Office writer, Draw, Calc, Impress and database. In fact, the following book was written entirely in Open Office.

Point & Click Open Office.org!, written by Robin ‘Roblimo’ Miller (2006 Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-13-187992-8, 182 pages with 2 CD-ROMs of Open Office 2.0 and an instruction video included)

Roblimo is editor-in-chief for OSTG, publishers of Slashdot, NewsForge, SourceForge and other leading online technology community sites. His background and knowledge have enabled him to write a book that flows nicely from start to finish and is easy to understand.

Since OO (Open Office) has been ported to Windows, this book will be of great use to both Windows and Linux users. Since the application is system-neutral, all the information in the book applies whether you use OO in Windows or Linux.

Many businesses have been turning to OO as a viable and affordable alternative to expensive and often bloated office suites. It makes perfect sense for the home user to investigate what OO has to offer them as well.

This book is full of tricks and ideas to make using OO effortless. Robin has also included the Firefox Web browser and the Thunderbird email application on the CD-ROMs and has added a couple of chapters at the end of the book to explain their use and how to integrate them into your work with OO.

If you need a powerful office suite that doesn’t bust your budget, you should pick up a copy of Point & Click Open Office.org. You can have all the functionality of other office suites at no cost, except the time it takes to familiarize yourself with it.

Open Office was created by folks who use and value Linux. If using the office suite makes you curious about other Linux applications, grab a copy of Moving to Linux and/or Guide to Linux and see how much you can enjoy computing without the cost and frustrations that come with other operating systems.

[tags]linux,open source,open office,cd-rom[/tags]