StarOffice is available for a number of platforms and, although the title of this book refers to the Linux version, I took the chance on buying a copy to help me with StarOffice for Windows. I needn't have worried because, having worked through the book, it appears that the program is, in fact, nearly identical on all platforms. StarOffice is a powerful program, though the built-in Help system is highly idiosyncratic - that is, it covers some topics in reasonable detail but others do not get a mention. The lack of an index doesn't help. This "24 Hour Guide" is therefore an essential aid to anyone who is trying to get to grips with StarOffice. The lessons cover a wide range of issues from installing and configuring the program right through to getting the most out of the various components - word processor, spreadsheet, draw, presentations, internet browsing, e-mail etc..... The lessons are well structured, with frequent tips as well as exercises to encourage a hands-on approach. Almost every page features a screen shot which should give the reader greater confidence. All of this makes learning a very pleasant experience. The book does not include anything on StarBase - the database component which seems to have been added to StarOffice 5 at the last minute - nor StarBasic, the programming language. This is fair enough since it is intended as a "getting started" guide. CONCLUSION: I can highly recommend this book to anyone starting to use StarOffice 5 - regardless of the platform.
The 24 chapters take you from installation and setup through writing letters, drawing graphics, preparing presentations, and using the personal organiser. While the tutorials do not go into advanced territory, they give you the information needed to at least get started confidently in any area of the program. Having got to grips with the basics of StarOffice5 before buying the book, I was extremely pleased to find useful hints and tips on almost every aspect of the program, from good on-screen fonts, to explaining every element of the interface. Even if, like me, you can use a wordprocessor without any trouble, you will find useful information which will save hours of frustration. While a new user will be grateful for the step-by-step explanations.
I bought this book mainly because I will be saved the pain of having to download the program from the internet. Having never needed to buy a book to use a office suite before, I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the package, as well as get the CD for the program. This book does not come with the CD. In fact the author points you to web sites where you can download your copy. The statement that it comes with a CD, in the commentary above is misleading and should be removed. Barring that, its a pretty good book by itself.