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Degunk Linux and debunk FUD

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I met the most amazing San Francisco Muni Bus driver the other day. Let's call him Ralph Kramden. (Not his real name). I took the bus to work. Ralph was the driver. He and I chatted. Ralph wants to partition his Windows XP hard drive, but XP won't let him. I suggested Linux. Did Ralph freak out? Did he veer the bus into on-coming traffic? No, Ralph never flinched. He wants to give it a try.

Ralph personifies a trend I've seen recently. Ordinary folks are hearing about Linux. They're curious. They want to tinker around with it. And publishers such as Paraglyph Press are responding, with books like Degunking Linux, by Roderick W. Smith.

Degunking Linux could easily have been called "Intermediate Linux Administration 101", but then no one would have bought it. Degunking Linux is inherently eye-catching. The title makes everyone curious. The Microsofties are thinking, "Ha! I knew that there was gunk in Linux!" and the Penguinistas are thinking, "No way. Linux doesn't have gunk." Microsofties will buy the book to wave under the noses of their Penguinista friends, and the Penguinistas will buy the book to disprove the book's ostensible main thesis: that there is, in fact, gunk in Linux to begin with.

Both of those groups of book buyers will get more and less than what they hoped to find in the 320 pages of Roderick's book. Degunking Linux is actually a useful systems administration manual for intermediate Linux users or Windows tinkerers who want to try to play with GNU/Linux.

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