Most might recall that time and remember some aggravating moments. Fortunately, having had some experience under your belt already, you can take that with you and use it to help you use a different operating system. Unlike your 1st time on a PC, you now have an idea of what you need to use to get your tasks done. So its a matter of learning what applications do what, and familiarizing yourself with their menus.
It may sound like too much effort, but in reality its not that bad. And of coarse, it doesn't hurt to be able to turn somewhere for help. But the key is to be willing to learn and not get discouraged.
You might ask yourself why change to begin with? Well that is a very good question, and one that may have a different answer depending on the individual. However, chances are that if you are reading blogs such as this one, that you are able to answer that question for yourself. In my personal experience, the answer to that question was simply that I was tired of not being able to browse the net without having to spend money on security tools, and even then some attacks still made it through. This was a particular recurring problem with my children's computers.
Linux offers a real solution to that problem, and that was one feature I was willing to take advantage of, and set off to find out at what cost.
Back in April, I decided to switch from XP to Ubuntu. One of my 1st fears was HW compatibility and those were quickly dismissed with nearly 100% of my hardware working right away after the initial install. There are some issues out there with some HW, don't think those do not exist. But I quickly found out that my older systems were easier to setup with Linux. This was good because, the old HW I have for my children actually couldn't handle Windows Vista and was just getting by with Windows XP. More more on that later.
Setting up my system and getting everything to work was much easier than I anticipated. Many of the answers I needed I quickly found in forums and using Google search. Within the 1st week of using Ubuntu, I had my Flatbed scanners, printers, and even my colorimeter (Monitor color calibrating hw) working. So I can say that for the tech savvy, Linux has made great strides to be easier to use and setup.
I have been using Linux since then, and will admit that I am still learning and likely will for a long time. But to me it feels no different than when I work on Windows servers at work. In fact, I feel that I was able to use my work experience as a Windows Server Admin to good use with Linux.
Pleased with my personal computer setup, I began seting up the rest of the computers in the house with Linux. I expected some resistance from the kids. But it wasn't too hard to convince them to change when they were complaining that their systems where once again being compromised with adware and other junk they were picking up from browsing the web.
At 1st there where many questions from the children. How do I do this, where is that and so forth. It was to be expected. But surprisingly, the kids were soaking it all up. Getting games to work was a bit challenging at 1st, but we have learned to focus on games that work in Linux, be it natively or via WINE. And I am happy to say that 5 months later, they are doing their own installs of games and such.
It is often said that kids adapt to change much better than adults. And while that may be true, they are also at a bigger disadvantage since they do not have the level of comprehension we have as adults. I believe that if we get past the will barrier that adapting and making the necessary changes would come easier.
One particular challenge popped up during the end of the school year for one of my kids. He had to do a Power Point presentation for a school assignment. But after 10-15 minutes, I had him working on his school assignment using Open Office. And it was no problem for the teacher to view and grade it with the Windows systems at school. This was a very satisfying experience for a few reasons that are worth mentioning here.
- OpenOffice was free and readily available for install from the trusted repositories for Ubuntu. My jaw nearly dropped! We will not go over how much I paid for an old version of Ms Office a few years back in an effort to save me from popping a blood vessel and bleeding to death.
- I watched in amazement as my son simply didn't let the different menu layout intimidate him into thinking he wouldn't be able to find the features needed to get his presentation done. I was proud of him, and couldn't help but think again, that it was his willingness that kept him focused in learning to use the tools available to him.
- Did I mention that OpenOffice was free and that i didn't have to make a trip to the store to spend a couple hundred on MS Software? ;)
The children have adapted to their new systems with little fuss. And I believe it's because with Linux their systems are fast, responsive and safe from being compromised with junk while browsing the net. This not only keeps them happy, but it sure has saved me a ton of valuable time and aggravation. There was nothing that got under my skin more than having to fix a virus or adware ridden windows install. Those days are over for me.
I will say that we are blessed to be able to adapt so easily. In reality I almost feel guilty it was this easy for me and my family to adapt. But even if I had to pay someone for Linux support, it is easy to see how in the long term it would be a much more affordable computing experience. Having a secure and much more hardware efficient operating system means that trips to the computer tech would be few and far in between.
In my experience, the small challenges to adapt were easily met and conquered. it is certainly within everyone's scope of possibility to do so as well. The rewards are many,
- longer lasting hardware
- more efficient computing experience
- less financial impact to use and support
- more secure internet experience