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Stewart's Blog

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Linux Advocacy – New Linux User

Ubuntu Linux Logo
I have passed a copy of the Ubuntu Desktop CD on to a friend, who it looks like will convert completely to open source. The unusual thing is that he’s not a “techie” or even an advanced computer user, he’s just a regular user wanting something other than Windows.

I think that one incentive was financial motivation. They had bought a computer from eBay which was supposed to come complete with Windows, but when it arrived it did not include the serial number (the sticker had been removed), and it’s now reporting that it is not a valid version thanks to Windows Genuine Advantage. He does have another computer with a genuine, but older version of Windows, but this seams to be a great opportunity to try an alternative.

It’s not just the cost issue, but also the amount of annoying pop-ups and spyware that has ended up running under Windows. This includes windows that just keep on coming back. When I said that most Linux users don’t need to run anti-virus software, and doesn’t get hit by spyware it was met with a bit of disbelief.

There are a few issues still with suggesting that people move from Windows, the biggest for me are: Movie Editing and DVD Authoring Software (to replace Adobe Premiere Elements), Games, and hardware support. For me I’ve been able to work through most hardware issues e.g.: Nvidia Video Driver Problems on Ubuntu (Dapper Drake) and Canon Printer issues (Canon iP4200, working with Fedora Linux), but these have been beyond the scope of your average computer user.

Fortunately this person doesn’t edit videos on the computer, doesn’t play games and has fairly well supported hardware.

I’ve given him a copy of the Ubuntu Desktop CD, which is a Live CD with an install option. This should allow him to have a go with the new operating system and assuming everything is working install Linux. I’ve shown him around the desktop using my laptop and he seamed quite happy about how to control things. I’ve also pointed him at the Synaptic Package Manager, hopefully he’ll be able to find the CD writing software etc. which he’ll need as well.

At the moment he’s just taken the CD, although I anticipate going around in the future to see how he’s going and see if there is anything else he needs installing.

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