This book is a quick way to get your hands on a dozen different Linux distributions. Some you can boot up directly (KNOPPIX and Damn Small Linux) from the CD and DVD that come with the book. Others you can install (Fedora, Debian, and others) from the same media.
If you have not used Linux before, the book was designed to help you install Linux, run basic applications (music/video players, word processors, Web browsers, email clients and so on), use the shell and desktops, and configure basic servers (email and Web servers). All the software described comes with the book, plus hundreds of other applications there wasn't room to cover.
If you are a software developer, but haven't used Linux, it presents the programming tools and environments that are available to help get started. The book also has a whole part that describes a dozen different Linux distributions, the communities that produce them, and features that make each special.
An experienced Linux person might want to use this book to find out about other Linux distributions or just have the media to show off many different Linux systems. But more likely, they would want to give it to a friend whom they want to let in on the secret.
I hope you enjoy my book. -- Chris Negus