posted by Robert Gering on Tue 17th Sep 2002 18:11 UTC
IconFirst, a little background. I am a Windows user who has been using Windows since 3.1. I am not a programmer or a developer, I am a user. I process photos, use the internet, e-mail, write letters, play the ever important games and even use it to develop my comic strips. I am not computer illiterate and I use my computer with confidence and skill. Now with that said. I hate Windows.

Editorial notice: All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of osnews.com

Windows is what has always been around and I have always used it. I have seen the "Blue Screen of Death". I have lost countless documents and information I have so carefully assembled. I have had a complete corruption of my hard drive by Windows. I have updated to new Windows products and found out that vital software programs that I use will not work. I have had to update my hardware to keep up with the ever-hungry latest version of Windows.

So what are my options? BeOS was great and easy to use, but sadly short lived and lacked applications. That leaves me with Mac or Linux. I like Macs but I hate the restrictions on hardware and the price. I have PC based computers already, so I checked out Linux.

The first dillemma that I faced is what company should I go with? As a Windows user I really never heard of the many different companies that produce Linux. I have heard of Red Hat and Mandrake (I saw it at Borders). I have read about them sort of on web pages, but since I never wanted to use Linux before I did not pay much attention. I wanted to find a version that was easy to install, I have heard the nightmares of having to configure all the hardware yourself. I read the web pages and decided to go with Mandrake. I really could not make heads or tails of the different distros.even in the reviews. I picked Mandrake because it seemed like an easy install. Why did I have to pick? Why no just go to store and buy what ever and it is the right one?

The install process was long but fairly easy (Thank God) but I was still confused a bit by the File System option. Which was is the best one? Which one is the most stable? Which one is fastest? I don't want to make that choice. I had to stop and do some research online to find out which one I wanted to use. I never had to do that with Windows. What if I picked the wrong one? Would it taint my experience? What are KDE and Gnome? Which is better? Damn another stall; back to the Net to find out which is better. It seems most people are using KDE so I choose it. Argggg.. why do I need a root password?

OK now it was installed. I powered it up and booted Linux for the first time. I selected my cute use icon and put in my password and KDE booted up. It was nice.easy enough to use. Mount? I have used Mount when I used BeOS so I knew what that was, but my girlfriend did not. Why can't the drives just show up like they do in Windows? I poked around and found out it was hard to do some things. I figured I would just have to get use to the difference and then all would be right as rain. I figured I would change some settings to make it more to my liking. Then I realized what the root password was for and I forgot it, damn!

Well, now I am up and I know my root password. It was time to get down and dirty. I wanted a good Word processing program. I loaded up Star Office and that was more than sufficient (It was the only one I knew about) but KDE office suite was OK too. It was nice to choose what office I wanted to use. I configured Mozilla because of what I read online. It too was very nice. GIMP was nice, everything was nice. Even though Linux did not have the selection that Windows did, I was satisfied with what was available to me. Then I realized that I really did not know what software was available to me. If I was not doing the research that I was on Linux in general I would be lost to what are good programs. I know nothing about Linux.

I did not see much about Lycoris. I think I represent the standard user out there. I see things in the store and I have the impression that that is the best version out there (Red Hat, Mandrake and what was on the shelf). I looked up Red Hat and Mandrake and choose between those two so I could buy it at the store. All the other reviews on other distros (am I using the word right) seem all to be the same... I looked for the easist for me at the time. There is too many versions out there with wierd names. BeOS was so easy to use it loaded right up and was beautiful...sigh.

I have Windows 95 on one computer and I have never ran an update on it (It is not on the internet) and it still runs as fine as it normally does. But it seemed to me that Linux is always evolving and updates are very common. This scared me away. I want the system to run fine with out me doing anything (maybe a security patch now and then.ack Windows). With Windows updates come once and a while (95, 98, 2000) but It seems that Linux is updating all the time and I got tired of keeping up. I just wanted it to work, no hassles, I am just a user.I do not know if the latest update is going to benefit me. What if I miss an important one? What if it fouled up the system. I guess I do not have the confidence with Linux that I do with Windows.at least I know what to expect. I am afraid of Linux. It requires stuff from me that I do not have, I guess. I just want to install it. It works but I do not have to do anything with it again for quite some time. I am not brave enough to explore it.

About the Author:
"I am a 32 year old Project Manager from Portland, Oregon and was a BeOS user (even tried my hand at program and failed). My hobby is catooning ("The Any Key")."

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