5 Free Online Open Source Books for Beginners

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 05, 2009

Lack of adequate documentation is frequently cited as a shortcoming of open source applications and platforms, but, for the popular choices, there are surprisingly good, free online books available. We round these up on a regular basis here at OStatic, and in this post you'll find five online books that you can jump right into. They introduce basic concepts for getting started with Linux, Firefox, Blender (3D graphics and animation), GIMP (graphics), and the OpenOffice suite of productivity applications.

Introduction to Linux: A Hands-On Guide. This free introduction to Linux from Machtelt Garrels consists of a set of online chapters that start with very rudimentary lessons on basic installation of various distros, files and file systems, and more, then it advances to discussion of networking, working with sound and video, and other topics.

Introduction to Firefox. The Firefox browser is beloved for its extensibility, facility with tabbed browsing, and much more. FLOSS Manuals offers this free book that starts with absolute basics such as how to bookmark sites, and moves on to working skillfully with extensions.

Blender Basics: Third Edition. This free, online book presents an introduction and a set of step-by-step lessons for working with Blender, a widely used open source 3D graphics and animation application. We discussed the book's second edition here.

Grokking the GIMP. GIMP is perennially one of the most popular open source graphics applications, and this is a comprehensive book on it filled with visual lessons. The book takes you through layers, filters, resizing tips, masks, blending colors, case studies and way more than that.

Introduction to OpenOffice. This miniature manual from FLOSS Manuals packs more of a punch than is apparent at first glance. It goes through all the productivity applications in the popular OpenOffice suite of applications, and provides screenshots with annotations showing how most of the important features work.

For many more free manuals and guides to open source applications, and platforms, see FLOSS Manuals' many other offerings