This book, the contents of which should be evident in the self explanatory title, makes you feel a bit revolutionary. It isn’t just the catchy headings, which are clever paraphrasings of song titles and geeky cultural refecences; it’s also the air of genuine excitment which permeates the pages, and makes you feel inspired during and after the reading process. I think many people’s continuing use of Microsoft, even when they know about the insecurities, and the bugs, and the horror, is caused by inertia. And this is just the book to get them up and off their swivel chairs! Tony Bove has compiled a book that is informative and easy to read and understand—you start thinking “hey, migration would be fun! Find me a free software alternative!". Bove is the author of a companion website, Get Off Microsoft which is an excellent resource package full of links and comparisons to explore for those considering migration. “Just Say No To Microsoft" is published by No Starch Press.
The book’s cover
You should buy this book because it is excellent, fun and easy to read, and of course is informative, inspiring, and has a “free software, yay!" vibe about it
“Just Say No To Microsoft" is about 224 pages of actual reading (not counting the appendicies, which are fabulous collections of useful information), and is far easier to read on the bus than broadsheet (and way more entertaining). The book consists of four parts, which are then divided into chapters. Part 1, entitled “You Say You Want A Revolution", contains a run through the history of Microsoft as a company and some of the current issues it faces. Some of it is a bit disturbing—nobody likes to be told their system is buggy! There are also immediate alternatives offered for those who just want to get the hell out with minimum fuss: the glorious Mac and Linux—the cheap and secure.
Part 2, “Rehab For Your Microsoft Addiction", discusses some of the more pressing problems with Microsoft programs and presents alternatives. Part 2 is really excellent because it’s clear that Bove has done his research. And you can tell he’s doing his best to make sure the reader is informed about what alternatives there are to using the Microsoft Office suite, how the alternatives measure up to MS Office and to each other. There is also a chapter on Media Lib—the all important music and movies section, and alternatives for them too. This part is full of infectious enthusiasm. It really makes you feel like you can migrate, and it will be worth it.
Part 3, entitled “The Whole Network Is Watching", is for those who can’t kick the habit, but want to be as secure as they can be, using the resources that they have. This is a great section, because it doesn’t exclude those who aren’t capable of ditching their proprietary gear altogether. Bove gives advice about email viruses, networks, and browsers, and how to make sure yours is okay.
The final part, “Getting On With Your Computer Life", contains a twelve step program to getting off Microsoft. It has excellent, practical advice; like testing, learning alternatives, and talking to people before wiping your hard drive by mistake in a fit of excitement. Part 4 also talks about the future of Microsoft and how it is important to be informed and smart about the future of computing.
Who’s this book for?
This book is for EVERYBODY. Those who have migrated already (such as myself) can enjoy the read, sit back smugly and think “I knew that was an excellent idea". Those who are teetering on the brink of migration may find the enthusiasm and assistance found in this book all the motivation they need to cross over. And those inert millions, who either don’t know or think they don’t care, could certainly be inspired to at least think about it! I think “Just Say No To Microsoft" would make an excellent gift for anyone with a windows computer!
Relevance to free software
“Just Say No To Microsoft" is focused on ideally migrating everybody to a free software alternative. While Bove does talk about how you can live with your Microsoft machine, he doesn’t think it’s the best alternative. He doesn’t endorse the use of proprietary software. “Just Say No To Microsoft" is VERY free software focused.
You should buy this book because it is excellent, fun and easy to read, and of course is informative, inspiring, and has a “free software, yay!" vibe about it.
I can’t think of a good reason... I suppose if you hated all things free software and were a passionate Microsoft devotee, then you might not want to read it... but you should!
Just Say No To Microsoft: How To Ditch Microsoft And Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think
Bridget has a degree in Sociology and English and a keen interest in the social implications of technology. She has two websites: Illiterarty and The Top 10 Everything. She also handles accounts and administration for Free Software Magazine.