Customer Review

2.0 out of 5 stars Free for who?, 5 July 2013
This review is from: The Book On Free Software - Vol 1 (Kindle Edition)
I thought this was a reasonable attempt at explaining the various types of free software but I can't work out who it is aimed at. The author goes into great detail about software like Linux Ubuntu, MySQL, Project Libre, Dia which really mostly applies to professional users rather home-based ones but if you are using a pc professionally the cost of proprietary software is mostly tax deductable and their cost is anyway built into any pricing structure an individual or small company might charge for their services.

For the home pc user who probably bought a bundled pc much of the book's contents won't be of much relevance. Firefox is an obvious browser choice as is Mozilla's email service: Thunderbird. The author chooses Scribus as a good freebie for desk top publishing but I've always felt that is rather daunting for the home user, a better choice could be PagePlus Starter Edition which is much more user friendly (and actually the PagePlus package is incredibly cheap for what the software delivers).

Apart from not being clear who 'Free software' is aimed at I found other problems with the title. There are no screen shots to back up what the text is saying. For example, a lot of space is devoted to the Dia software which creates charts and diagrams, a quick search on Wikipedia pulled up Dia's main window where it is easy to see how versatile it is (for free software). Screen shots of the other software mentioned would have saved a lot of text. The author is clearly no writer, the style is very amateurish and longwinded. This is always a problem with self-publishing, the text never gets anywhere near a sub-editor who would knock the writing into an everyday conversational style that is easy to read, even the technical stuff.

If I came across anything technical in the book that I didn't quite follow I checked it with Wikipedia, only to find that a lot of what is here is there too...and obviously free.
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2.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
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Robin Benson
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