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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Examining "Test Driving Linux", a guided tour book.

Review by Peter Mikovitz of the Greater Charleston .NET User Group (GC.NUG)

David Brickner offers to readers of this book a unique opportunity to have a guided tour of a working Linux desktop.  With the companion CD, he offers a risk free experience on the reader's own PC, without needing to install any software whatsoever.  The choice for the CD-runnable distro is the Move Live CD, which can have its roots traced to Knoppix CDs, the original "run Linux completely from CD" distro.  Move Live is more geared toward ease of use and emphasizes a "touch nothing of the host system" doctrine.

Like any guided tour, David starts off by introducing Linux, and then proffering reasons why people should switch from Windows to Linux for a desktop.  The reasons given, namely citing bugs, virii, and exploits, were somewhat debatable, especially given that Linux as a desktop has not achieved the saturation and population that Windows has, thus has not fallen in the sights of malaware authors as a platform with sufficient population to support spreading.  I feel this section was one of the weaker parts to this otherwise excellent book.

Where this book does fulfill expectations is the coverage of the various key desktop applications that are part of this and any Linux installation.  Like any good guided tour, he not only goes over how to use the featured application, but he also discusses alternatives, consistently stressing the wealth of open source choices for each part.  While his selection of featured applications is a result of his own personal views, he really can't be faulted for these choices given that they fulfill their stated purpose.  He covers the bases enough to guide a non-professional computer user to be able to adequately use the desktop.

The only other area for this book that could do for improvement is his discussions on how a reader, upon being converted to the ideals of an open source operating system, can transition their own computers to Linux.  I'm not aware of any option on the included CD for permitting this Move Live (which is based on Mandrake Linux), to make the system its new home.  David does offer an overview of the various distros available, but I was left with an impression that adequate coverage was missed.

I feel this book more than adequately offers its target audience the guided tour they deserve and I would recommend it to people who want to know "What is Linux and why should I care?"

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2005 9:03 AM General Interest , Reviews | Back to top


Comments on this post: Review: Test Driving Linux

# re: Review: Test Driving Linux
Requesting Gravatar...
I just loaded the MOVE LIVE CD and got to about 11 pages of the book and I'm here posting to let you know how easy it was. KDE makes the whole invironment so familiar. You all have to try this! Save your self some money......check it out of your local library.
Left by testdriver on Nov 11, 2005 1:16 AM

# re: Review: Test Driving Linux
Requesting Gravatar...
If you want to check out another version of a Linux to test drive. Try the Novell web site. Under the download section you will find a SUSE 10 LiveDVD. Download it and burn it as an image to DVD. Boot off your DVD drive. It works just like the MOVE LIVE cd found in David Brickners book.
Left by testdriver on Nov 14, 2005 7:30 AM

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