Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Story of 3 MS Windows Users Trying Linux.

Story #1
I was talking with a guy I work with a few months ago about Linux and how wonderful and great it is, so he decided to try it on an older computer (about 1 Ghz P4) he had lying around. He said he thought the hard drive was bad because MS Windows exploded or something and it wouldn't reinstall Windows. He downloaded Ubuntu, placed the newly burned CD in the drive and to his amazement it installed and brought his computer back to life. He was impressed! That is until he tried to get online. For some reason he couldn't connect. I believe it was a DNS issue with his home network, because I had a similar issue. He went to the Ubuntu forums to try to resolve the network problem. He quickly received a reply but he didn't understand it. At work the next day, he told me of his experience and professed how Linux sucks if it can't even auto-configure his network. I voluteered to go to his home and fix it for him, I assured him it was probably something simple and could fix it in just a few minutes. He told me not to bother because Linux sucks..... yada, yada, yada.


So, let me get this straight:
1) You have a computer that will not install Windows for whatever reason.
2) Linux does install on it
3) There is a network problem, which I could easily fix, but you don't want me to (because Linux sucks).
4) So instead, you'd rather have the computer gather dust in the corner, then have it fixed in 5 minutes and be a powerful, useful tool.

Does this make any sense at all to anyone?

The guy I work with said he just tried Linux because it was free, but didn't like it because it didn't work. He said if Linux worked just like Windows, ran Windows programs then he would use it. Basically he was looking for a free Windows, which Linux is not. It's been my experience that those looking for a free Windows, just pirate it or only give Linux half a look. Linux is not Windows. Windows does somethings better then Linux (like games, and some hand holding, etc), but Linux also does somethings better then Windows (Freedom, and control over your system, no viruses and spyware, etc). They also both have their problems. I think they are both easy to use.

Now, I'll also say that this guy has problems with Microsoft and Windows, because he has complained about them, but he seems to tolerate it. Yet when it came to a very minor issue with Linux, he considered it trash and he won't put up with it and goes back to MS Windows!

Story #2
This story comes from a blog.

This guy wasn't too excited about Vista and I guess had some problems with it, so a friend at work encouraged him to try Linux.

At first he was blown away by all the choices of Linux distributions out there, but like a trooper he tried a few to see which worked best for him.

He tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu, but had problems configuring his video resolution correctly. He did comment that he liked KDE better then Gnome. Next he tried Linspire/Freespire, and he liked that it supported commercial applications, but somethings didn't install right and he had the same video problems he had with the Ubuntus (or is it Ubunti). This really isn't a surprise because Linspire/Freespire is based off of Ubuntu. Finally, he tried PCLinuxOS, and thought it was okay. His video worked great, so he left us saying he'd give it a go.


First off, people need to realize that many times the hardware problems with Linux, is not Linux's fault. Most manufactures make it difficult for Linux users to have hardware drivers, leaving the Linux community to come up with their own drivers. So yes, not everything works perfectly with Linux, but most does. In fact probably 80-90% does. Not too bad for not having help from most hardware manufactures. That's quite an accomplishment and those developers should get major kudos for all they do.

Second, Windows users are not use to choice. This guy freaks out because there are too many choices, as opposed to Windows where there are two choices now, Vista with some features and Vista with all of its features. Isn't choice good?

This reminds me of a friend I had who was visiting from China and was in America for the first time. When he went to the grocery store he was blown away with all the choices he had in cereal. At first he was overwhelming but then he came to appreciate the fact that there was more then 3 types of cereal.

I admire this guy for trying different distros, though he only really tried two, since all but PCLinuxOS were Ubuntu variants. But PCLinuxOS, worked for him and he's going to give it a fair shake. I hope?

Story #3
This story also comes from a blog.

This guy is a Windows systems admin and tries Ubuntu Gusty which is currently in alpha, so not really stable. He attempts to see if he could do his job with Linux instead of Windows. I think a very fair challenge. To summarize, he succeeds, but with some work arounds and tweeks.

This guys story was very interesting and I enjoyed seeing how he worked about various issues. This guy knew what he was doing and knew how to research to find solutions to his problems, the sign of a good admin. His one problem with Internet Explorer running on Linux with the address bar, could be resolved by using an older versions of wine. I had the same issue and it took some digging to find the anwser. All in all I admire this guy for giving Linux a fair shake.


I believe most people have some issues with Windows. Most people don't like paying for and constantly updating and scanning their computers with anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Vista seems to have driver problems. And there's other issues, but most Windows users just put up with it, mostly because they don't know they have any other choice and Microsoft likes that. People need to know they have a choice.

I hope these guys in story #2 and 3 stick with it, because if they do it won't take long that they will feel just as comfortable with Linux as they do with Windows. I've been using Linux for nearly 7 years now and I'm now at the point that I don't feel comfortable with Windows anymore. I have trouble navigating around or knowing how to configure settings. I wish Windows was more like Linux, because to me Linux is easier. Maybe I should take a similar challenge to guy #3 and see if I could get my job done with Windows. It's all about preference and what you know, I guess.

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