A Beginner’ s Guide to Linux Distros provides an illuminating comparision of several of the most widely used Linux distributions. The problem, for typical non-technical windoze users looking for relief, is that their eyes will glaze over upon reading this, and they will likely be intimidated and confused by all the geek jargon.
I’ve been there, having started trying Linuxes in 1996. I have been through half a dozen different Linuxes with successively greater degrees of success (as they installs and hardware support improved). I think it’s now reached the point where there is really no reason why an average windoze user can’t learn to use a distro like Ubuntu. I don’t know if many would have the cojones to install it, but if you give them a machine with Ubuntu already on it, I can’t help but think they could be happy, or learn to be happy. Yes, Gnucash is different from Quicken, OpenOffice is different from Miscrosloth Office, and so on. Users have to want to leave the abusive relationship with windoze enough to put up with some migration pains.
I recently replaced my aging Red Hat 9 on my home desktop with Ubuntu, and it runs faster than the old Red Hat, everything works, it’s pretty, and there’s just nothing not to like. In the endless religious debate over distros I now take the side of Ubuntu for beginners and even intermediate users who want something that just works.
Changing OSes is no trifling matter for ordinary mortals. The author of the Tipmonkies piece describes himself as having been a “distro whore” trying new Linux distributions all the damn time. Who has spare computers and enough spare hours to squander fucking with those computers? I procrastinated for months before upgrading this box of mine for fear that hair-pulling and struggling with problems would eat up too much time. (Fortunately, Ubuntu is good and I was not unlucky.) But if I had that kind of time, I think I might try to catch up on the hundreds of books and movies I need to read and see, improve my French, learn to scuba dive…