Book Review: Moving from Windows to Linux

by Nathan Smith

Charles River Media, 2003

ISBN: 1-58450-280-0

$44.95 US

Moving from Windows to Linux declares in its opening paragraph that it is intended for Microsoft Windows power users and Linux novices. However, the focus of Moving from Windows to Linux is not always clear. At times the book seems to be oriented more toward new computer users. There is a lot of content on shell scripts, Web servers and FTP servers that would confuse even some Windows power users and possibly leave a new Linux user wondering what they had gotten themselves into or why it was important.

A more descriptive title might have included the terms open source and desktop applications, as a great deal of the book is devoted to showing the open-source analogs of Microsoft Office and other common Windows applications. The major desktop application territory is covered here, including e-mail, Web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, graphics and presentation software. A brief introduction to GnuCash also is present.

Unfortunately, in Moving from Windows to Linux, Easttom makes you aware of only the open-source desktop applications. More of the book is devoted to learning shells and setting up FTP and Web servers than what the typical Windows to Linux switcher would probably use. It is important to make people moving to Linux aware of the command line, but the treatment of this topic seems excessive.

Easttom's writing is clear and easy to follow. Points are organized and addressed logically. More side-by-side comparisons of feature use in Windows and Linux applications, however, would be beneficial.

Using this book, Linux beginners certainly could install Linux and find their way to each of the applications described, but taking Linux to the next level will require an inquisitive person, another book or additional assistance. The text deals mainly with Red Hat 9. No CD is included, and the author recommends purchasing the distribution.

Moving from Windows to Linux is an abbreviated overview of Linux and open-source applications. Unfortunately, it teases and does not provide much more than a starting point for someone interested in using a Linux desktop. Missing the mark as a book to help Windows users move solidly into the world of Linux, Moving from Windows to Linux offers a glimpse of the possibilities tempting Windows users to move to Linux and open source.

Load Disqus comments