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17 August, 2005
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Linux for Windows Users

In Pursuit of Good Desktop Linux:

Ease of Use and Ease of Migration Overview -- KDE, GNOME, and MS Windows Desktops

. . . we believe that the Linux operating system (OS) and the Linux desktop are better than the MS Windows OS and desktop. That is an important reason that we strongly recommend that people switch from MS Windows to GNU-Linux.

Mike Angelo -- 17 August 2005 (C) -- Page 4

Article Index

Desktop Metaphor Unraveled

Please do not let the term desktop metaphor confuse you. The geeks have co-opted the word metaphor.

Dictionary.Com defines metaphor as a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity.

So what the heck is a desktop metaphor?

In Geek Speak: The desktop metaphor is a set of unifying concepts currently used in a number of GUI-based operating systems. In this metaphor, the monitor of a computer represents the user's desktop, upon which documents and folders of documents can be placed. A document can be opened into a window, which represents a paper copy of the document placed on the desktop. Small applications called desk accessories are also available, such as a desk calculator, etc. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

In this article we pretty much use the terms desktop environment and desktop metaphor interchangeably. So if you find the term desktop metaphor troubling, just mentally replace it with desktop environment as you read this article.

Books

Most of the Linux books listed below have chapters or sections of chapters that deal with the Linux desktop, GNOME, KDE, and other desktop environments.

The Linux books also will help to show you why GNU-Linux is a better operating system than MS Windows. And they describe and help you to use much of the free software that comes with most Linux distributions.

Most of the book links lead you to Web pages about the books that also, there, have links to things such as Tables of Contents and sample chapters. The sample chapters are free and well worth reading.

  • Some Interesting Linux Books

Acing the LINUX+ Certification Exam, Patrick Regan, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131121553. $88

Beginning Linux Programming, 3rd Edition, Matthew and Stones, (Foreword by Alan Cox), Wiley. ISBN: 0-7645-4497-7. $40

Building Applications with the Linux Standard Base, Linux Standard Base Team, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-145695-4

Building Clustered Linux Systems, By Robert Lucke, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-144853-6. $50


Novell Certified Linux Engineer (Novell CLE) Study Guide, Robb Tracy, Novell Press, ISBN: 0789732033. $60

Expanding Choice: Moving to Linux and Open Source with Novell Open Enterprise Server, Jason Williams/Peter Clegg/Emmett Dulaney, Novell Press, ISBN: 0-672-32722-8. $30


Fedora 4 Linux All in One, By Aron Hsiao, Sams, ISBN: 0672327074. $40.

Fedora 4 Unleashed, By Paul Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Bill Ball, Hoyt Duff, Sams, ISBN: 0672327929. $50.


Knoppix Hacks - 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools, By Kyle Rankin, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00787-6. $30


Linux Bible, 2005 Edition, Christopher Negus, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-7949-5. $40

Linux Desktop Garage, By Susan Matteson, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-149419-8. $30

Linux Desktop Hacks - Tips & Tools for Customizing and Optimizing your OS, By Nicholas Petreley, Jono Bacon, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00911-9. $50

Linux in a Nuthsell, 4th Ed., Siever, Figgins, and Weber, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00482-6. $40

Linux Kernel Development, 2nd Ed., Robert Love, Novell Press., ISBN: 0672327201. $45

Linux Network Architecture, By Wehrle, Pahlke, Ritter, Muller, and Bechler, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131777203. $50


Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals, Arnold Robbins, , Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131429647. $40

The Linux Process Manager: The internals of scheduling, interrupts and signals, By John O'Gorman, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-84771-9. $35

Linux Quick Fix Notebook, By Peter Harrison, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131861506. $40

Linux Troubleshooting Bible, Christopher Negus, Thomas Weeks, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-6997-X. $30


Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.1 - Your First Linux Desktop, By Mandrakesoft, Mandrakesoft, ISBN: 2-84798-085-7. $64

Mandrakelinux PowerPack 10.1 - The Full Power of Linux Desktop, By Mandrakesoft, Mandrakesoft, ISBN: 2-84798-086-5. $87


Official Fedora Companion, Nick Petreley, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-5836-6. $20

Operating Systems, 3rd Edition, Deitel, Deitel, and David, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131828274. $103

Optimizing Linux Performance: A Hands-on Guide to Linux Performance Tools, By Phillip Ezolt, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131486829. $50


Point & Click Linux!, By Robin Miller, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131488724. $30

Principles of Network and System Administration, 2nd Edition, Mark Burgess, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-86807-4. $50


Running Linux, 4th Ed., Welsh, Dalheimer, Dawson, and Kaufman, O'Reilly, ISBN, 0-596-00272-6. $45

SUSE Linux 9 Bible, Justin Davies, Roger Whittaker, William von Hagen, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-7739-5. $40

Test Driving Linux: From Windows to Linux in 60 Seconds, David Brickner, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00754-X. $25

Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition, Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00213-0. $50

Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager, Mel Gorman, Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131453483. $60


UNIX Shells by Example, 4th Edition, By Ellie Quigley, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 013147572X. $50

Article Index

Growing Newbies and MS Windows Migrants into Real Linux Users

The Mandriva, SUSE, and Xandros implementations of KDE initially provide a desktop environment that is very compatible with the MS Windows desktop. However, the Mandriva and SUSE KDE implementations provide a good depth of features and functionality to which the user migrating from MS Windows to Linux can find and learn to use. Learn to use later and after he or she has become acclimated to the Linux operating system and desktop with the initial, MS Windows compatible, out-of-the-box, K desktop environment implementation.

Xandros might well have the best initial Microsoft Windows compatibility. But it lacks the depth of features and functionality found in the Mandriva and SUSE implementations of the K desktop environment.

One of the Xandros Desktop OS strengths is its focus on encouraging migration from Microsoft Windows to GNU-Linux. However, that also is one of the Xandros Desktop Linux weak points -- because Xandros does not do as much as Mandriva and SUSE do to help migrants from Microsoft Windows grow into becoming real Linux users. More about this further on in this series.

The Mandriva and SUSE Linux distributions and their implementations provide an operating system and desktop environment that allows and fosters migrants from MS Windows to Linux to grow into real Linux users. Xandros does not seem to do this -- or at least not as well as Mandriva and SUSE so do.

Fedora includes both GNOME and KDE, but the KDE implementation in Fedora is a crippled and disfigured implementation of the KDE desktop.

Mandriva, Novell, and SUSE have both KDE and GNOME. KDE is the default desktop for Mandriva and SUSE, which overall have nice implementations of KDE.

Thus, all things considered so far, for now when it comes to looking for a good desktop Linux, Mandriva still is in first place. However, SUSE and Xandros might be in the running.

In the meantime, you can download free versions of Mandriva, SUSE, Xandros and the other Linux distros that we have been looking at and see for yourself how you like them. Links are in the Resources section below.

Will Mandriva stay in the lead as the best desktop Linux available? How do other Linux distributions match up against Mandriva, SUSE, and Xandros on other measures of what makes a good desktop Linux? MozillaQuest Magazine will take a look at how they do measure up in future articles.

Stay tuned.


Resources

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Copyright 2000-2005 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved
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