Welcome to the second edition of Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! This is my fourth book, and an exciting one at that. Back in 2002, when I first suggested the idea of this book, I had some serious selling to do. A Linux desktop book? In 2002, it seemed like a crazy idea. Not anymore. The first edition of Moving to Linux was something new on the scene, a book that promised the average user that moving to and running a Linux desktop was something anyone could do. Now, as I sit here writing this preface in May 2005, there are at least four other books dedicated to the Linux desktop experience for the average user. It's nice to see that you can't keep a good idea down, and also nice to see that I wasn't crazy.
Linux continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The face of Linux that most people see has changed quite a bit, with KDE 3.4 being the latest offering of the desktop environment itself. Below that desktop environment, the graphical engine that drives it all has changed as well. Linux distributions overwhelmingly switched from XFree86 to X.Org for the X window system software. Office productivity tools took another leap forward as OpenOffice 2.0 made its appearance, providing users with greater functionality, ease of use, and Microsoft document filters so accurate that they make the whole question of sharing documents between the two platforms a virtual nonissue. The Linux Internet experience has vastly improved, and Linux multimedia is now in a class all its own. A lot has changed, and the changes are fantastic. This is a great time to move to Linux and leave your old OS troubles behind, and I look forward to being part of that journey.
Writing a book is never a solitary experience. While writers certainly spend a lot of time locked away by themselves putting words to paper, this is not something you do entirely on your own. On that note, I'd like to take a moment to recognize a few people who have been with me through this process. First and foremost, I have to thank my beautiful wife, Sally Tomasevic. She is my love, my life, my inspiration, and my strength. My family and my friends, with their confidence, love, and support, have all played a part in the creation of this book. I love you all.
Many thanks to Mark Taub, my editor, and also to Heather Fox, Robin O'Brien, Don O'Hagan, Kathleen Addis, Beverley Carkner, Lara Wysong, and everyone at my publisher, Addison-Wesley. Many thanks also to my agent, Richard Curtis, a tough guy with a soft heart.
Sincere thanks to those people who reviewed my book along the way. They are (in alphabetical order by last name) Aeleen Frisch, Lew Pritcher, and Sally Tomasevic. The process of reviewing is hard work, and I truly appreciate their efforts, sharp eyes, and suggestions.
I would like to recognize and thank the Linux community: the developers and software designers, the members of Linux user groups (including my own WFTL-LUG), the many who share their experiences on Usenet, and all those unnamed folks who give free advice under pseudonyms in IRC groups.
Finally, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the first Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! such a huge success. I thank you all.