REVIEW: "Just Say No to Microsoft", Tony Bove
- BKJSN2MS.RVW 20060823
"Just Say No to Microsoft", Tony Bove, 2005, 1-59327-064-X,
%A Tony Bove www.tonybove.com
%C 555 De Haro Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94107
%I No Starch Press
%O U$24.95/C$33.95 415-863-9900 fax 415-863-9950 info@...
%O Audience n+ Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 243 p.
%T "Just Say No to Microsoft"
The introduction is fairly opinionated, but buried in the meditation
is an indication that the book is supposed to be of assistance to
those who would like to explore alternatives to the Microsoft software
that dominates desktop computing.
Part one purports to be about the revolution away from Microsoft.
Chapter one seems to be a history of Microsoft, and how it came to
have a near monopoly. While the writing is entertaining, Bove
recycles some mythical and "almost" accurate tales of Microsoft's
rise. Security weaknesses are pushed, but mostly in terms of
anecdotal reports. (The danger of a monoculture is mentioned, but
given little analysis.) The author appears to be a Mac fan, so it
isn't surprising that chapter two is a promotional piece about that
product line, primarily emphasizing the idea that the Mac looks cool.
(The, rather brief, examination of why machines running MacOS are more
secure than Microsoft Windows points out the security provisions that
are present on the Mac, but doesn't stress the fact that the functions
are all there in Windows but, like any typical Mac system, the
protection processes normally just aren't used.) The Linux operating
system (and the general concept of open source software) is outlined
in chapter four. Interestingly, Bove notes many situations where
Linux is superior to the Mac, and this chapter is very well written
Part two looks at options for non-Microsoft applications software,
starting with the ubiquitous Microsoft Word word processor (in chapter
four). Word security problems are mentioned, although, in the
discussion of RTF (Rich Text Format) there is no reference to the
Microsoft-only extensions that have security implications. (Here, and
in other places in the book, there is an odd insistence upon the
benefits of using PDF; Adobe's Portable Document Format; despite the
security problems with it and the lack of application support.)
Chapter five deals with the other major Microsoft Office programs
(Excel and PowerPoint). (The deliberation on PowerPoint concentrates
on the danger of "presentations" in general, rather than faults of the
software itself.) Most of the review of music and video, in chapter
six, centres on digital rights management.
Part three turns to network applications. Chapter seven examines
email and viruses. Despite some errors (the first email virus spread
in 1987, not 1999) the advice on attachments, HTML (HyperText Markup
Language) formatting of email messages, and fraud is very good,
although it does mean that the suggestions about alternative mailers
is rather secondary. Some information about LAN options is available
in chapter eight, but the point of the chapter is not clear. Web
browser dangers, in chapter nine, points out issues with spyware,
cookies, and ActiveX.
The book concludes in part four. Chapter ten, using the twelve step
addiction recovery program as a model, recommends that you assess what
you are doing with computers (and what you need), get assistance
installing and setting up alternative software, and then convert.
Another opinion piece on Microsoft makes up chapter eleven.
(An appendix lists some Websites that may provide various forms of
help, either with alternative software or safer settings of Microsoft
Although overly verbose and biased at times, this publication does
provide suggestions and potential resources for those interested in
pursuing options other than the standard Microsoft programs. These
alternatives may be examined for reasons of cost or functionality, but
the primary thrust and argument in the volume seems to be based on
security considerations. Even for those who are not concerned about
avoiding dependence upon Microsoft there is good advice on making
Microsoft products more secure than they are by default. So, whether
or not you are interested in saying "No" to Microsoft, you will find
this book useful even if you are merely concerned with the security of
your machine and applications.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2006 BKJSN2MS.RVW 20060823
====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no
loss of enthusiasm. - Winston Churchill
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