Preston Gralla tried using Linux for two weeks. As an old-time Windows user (he says from 2.0), he had some challenges. I give him an A+ for giving Linux a chance and a C for utilization of resources to overcome his challenges.
Preston gets the A+ for trying and reporting that all the hardware on his T41 worked without additional drivers and all the other positive messages he gave on his experience. I truly appreciate reading what a newcomer to Linux thinks.
Preston gets the C for utilization because he couldn’t figure out the differences between Windows and Linux. It appears that he didn’t use Google for anything. For example, he didn’t look to see what sort of package Ubuntu uses (it’s .deb after Debian). He couldn’t figure out that he could use Gimp to capture a single window. He didn’t find the link that gives instructions on how to install OpenOffice 3 in Ubuntu 8.10. (I’m using OpenOffice 3 on Ubuntu 8.10 and used instructions found through a Google search. He asked co-workers about getting Samba to work with Vista and XP at the same time, but it doesn’t appear that he widened his support network by using Google or Ubuntu Forums. (I too have had challenges with Samba, especially in Ubuntu. When I used Fedora Core, I had fewer Samba issues, but that was also a few point releases ago.)
I’ve been a Linux user for eight years now and had some Unix experience in the ’90s. Coming back to the command line where ls means list the contents of the directory, mv means copy (move), etc. wasn’t difficult. I’m somewhat comfortable at the command line and always keep a terminal open. The nice thing about most Linux programs is that if they don’t appear to run from the GUI, you can issue the command in the terminal and see the messages it generates. Sometimes, I get a clue to what’s happening and can correct the problem. I haven’t been able to do that in Windows (which I use at work and support at home).
I recently had to deal with virus infections (Virtumonde) on two Windows XP machines at home. What a pain in the backside! Countless reboots later and using several malware removal programs plus the guidance of Major Geeks it appears that I’ve gotten the machines cleaned up. I think the difficulty removing malware from Windows is related to having a SYSTEM user which has higher privileges than ADMINISTRATOR. A bit more on this issue can be found at Tom Yager’s article, “Is Windows inherently more vulnerable to malware attacks than OS X?“. There are those who think this issue is still coming to Linux, but the diversity of distributions and the power of root to remove everything will go a long way to combat it.