Linux

Five tips for helping your users switch to Linux

You can make the transition to Linux a smooth one, even for your least technical users. Here are some ways to anticipate their concerns and help them feel at home in their new environment.

If you're transitioning some (or all) of your end users to Linux, you may have encountered a few hurdles. They aren't huge hurdles, but they can be tricky for users who can't innately learn the ways of a different desktop and operating system. In some cases, they just need to learn some new terminology. In other cases, you'll need to educate them on whole system processes. Ultimately, it depends upon how the end user actually uses the machine. But no matter how complex the job, you can help your end users make the transition easily.

1: Build similar desktops

This is one of the strengths of Linux. If your users are familiar with Windows XP, make their Linux desktop resemble and act like Windows XP. If your users are familiar with OS X, make their desktop look and feel like OS X. Most of the time this isn't difficult at all. For instance, with OS X, you can use a default GNOME and you're almost good to go. I have always found that making users comfortable in their environment is the best way to ease a transition. Even though they will be using a completely different computing environment, if the machine feels familiar, they will have much less trouble adjusting to the changes.

2: Get it all working first

The last thing you need is to roll out a new desktop to users before you get Flash working with Firefox, or get their printer working or their music playing, etc. For the most part, these will be taken care of upon installation. But as we all know, there's always something we forget. And although hardware usually works with Linux these days, it's not one hundred percent guaranteed. Make sure you iron things out ahead of time. You don't want your users to see you struggling to get a piece of hardware working -- they'll either lose faith in you or their new operating system.

3: Create user-friendly directories

It's hard enough for users to go from C:\ to /. Make things easier by following the standards many of the modern Linux distributions are starting to follow. In the user's home directory (~/) create the following (if they are not already there): Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Video. Then, make sure that applications that would make use of these directories (such as Firefox using Downloads and Rhythmbox using Music) are configured as such. This will make it much easier for your users to find files they have downloaded or need to work with. You can take this one step further and add bookmarks for these directories in the file manager and even the main menu.

4: Set up file associations

This can be your worst nightmare: If you don't associate files with applications, your users will wind up calling IT all day. When a user double-clicks a .doc file, make sure is it opened with OpenOffice Writer. When a user double-clicks on an .mp3 file, make sure it is opened with Rhythmbox or Amarok (or another media player). You can do this from within your file manager. For instance, in KDE's Dolphin, right-click a file on the Open With submenu and then click Other. From within this new window, select the application you want to use and then select the Remember Application Association... check box. Do this with the file types your users will use.

5: Give them documentation

IT departments tend to ignore the area of documentation. But in this type of migration, it's best to have a printed manual that users can refer to now and then. This manual should explain some of the fundamental differences between the operating systems and desktops. It should also include some helpful tips -- even things you might think are too simple (such as how to copy and paste). For users migrating from Windows to Linux, no tip is too simplistic to be included. Besides, the more they see the similarities (Ctrl-c copies and Ctrl-v pastes, just like in Windows), the more at ease they will feel right off the bat.


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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

98 comments
rpr.nospam
rpr.nospam

A recent article at TechRepublic (http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1816) reported that Google employees won't be able to stay on Windows or get a new Windows machine without approval from senior management. The linked Financial Times article says that employees would be able to move to Mac OS X, Chrome OS or a Linux based OS. I guess that Google employees mostly use web applications which makes the change of OS much easier. I'd say that any company with a similar environment could change the desktop OS quite easily.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Where are these mythical users that have mastered Windows and are ready to move to Linux? I'd love to meet them because I haven't worked with any. My users have no sense of adventure and are unwilling to learn anything new because it slows them down.

realvarezm
realvarezm

Eventually Linux and all of its variants will get 50% of the world used OS. So is just a matter of time and people will understand its true goal. The free knowledge

adimauro
adimauro

I tried to install Ubuntu on an 'old' laptop (4 years old, which is pretty old for laptops). The wireless wouldn't work. No Linux driver available. No matter how many forums I went to for the 'fix', it would not work. After a few hours of struggling with it, gave up went back to Windows which just works right out of the box. I mean, a laptop without wireless is pretty pointless, no? This wireless card has been out for at least 4 years already, and still no driver for it? That is one of the main issues with moving to Linux, IMHO.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And not a tech company. There was an article several years ago about a small guitar manufacturer that switched from Windows to Linux and open source apps. I recall they had around 50 employees, and I think it's safe to assume not all were computer users. I'd love to see a detailed article or third-party white paper covering a larger company that's converted, preferably one that looks at the project over a couple of years.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Based on what interview questions have come out in various articles and the industry that Google is in, one can assume there is a much higher computer knowledge level among it's general staff. Between the use of webapps and high level of IT skills, switching platforms should be near nothing on the user side.

SubgeniusD
SubgeniusD

to take an interest in OS internals then persuade "average drivers" to buy a big set of tools and learn to rebuild their vehicle engines. I keep a command prompt shortcut on my Win 7 Pro taskbar. Friends and coworkers (some who've been using computers since Windows 95) don't even know what that is. If I open it and input something simple like ipconfig they react like it's some kind of tech-voodoo. They also consider taking the time to learn CLI kind of weird - like taking the time to learn Klingon or something......

makefast
makefast

We should be careful of being too scathing about our users: someone working in HR just wants to get to work, do their thing, take the $$$ and run. Having an adventure with their IT is probably not even on the agenda!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Why should a mythical user have to master Windows before moving to a different platform? Heck, why should it even be a one or the other?

valengrey
valengrey

Most of the OS' for laptops are proprietary. Even going from XP Home to XP Pro could result in a driver error. Win 7 has solved that issue however. I went from Vista Home to Win 7 Pro without any trouble at all.

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

Which release of Ubuntu did you try? I've never had any problems with having my wireless network adapters work in Ubuntu, but did have to play around with Xubuntu on a really old HP laptop with a USB wireless adapter. The standard Ubuntu distro recognized it immediately, but Xubuntu had issues. Bear in mind that Ubuntu is updated twice a year (the current release is 10.04, barely two months ago, the next release will be 10.10 coming in October 2010). Download the latest desktop release and see if it includes drivers for your machine.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I was talking to someone just last night that dropped Linux Mint on an old Compaq notebook with complete support for wireless. You may find it worth trying the Mint liveCD on your machine to confirm if it's any better for your needs.

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

Not a guitar manufacturer, but the company that sells premium guitar strings to Eric Clapton and Metallica. Here's a CNET interview with Ernie Ball: http://news.cnet.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html This was from 2003, and he has never regretted the decision to move to Linux from his traumatic Microsoft nightmare.

rpr.nospam
rpr.nospam

I' say there are a number of employees who use PCs but don't have high level of IT skills, e.g. office staff, lawyers, sales specialists, some in HR, PR or in the management, etc.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

These days, learning cli is like learning standard transmission. Most people are going to ask "why wouldn't you just get an automatic.. isn't the standard a pain in traffic?"

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Building workstations specific to the given job description seems like a lost art outside the server room. Not everybody needs a web browser and network wide access but the popular software platform delivers a browser as a dependency and network wide access is easier to manage than a proper segmented and fire-walled setup.

mcswan454
mcswan454

With a policy in Windows, I could've done the same thing. What I dislike about this, is are we doing enough to keep our objectives in line with the business itself? Do I REALLY need to browse the web? As a tech/developer, yes. The secretary...? Why am I NOT surprised the productivity went up? I was actually going to go further with this. I had a moment of common sense that said leave it alone. YMMV. M.

Slayer_
Slayer_

If it works in IE6, good chance it will work in 7, 8 and firefox and opera. But a large demographic is still using IE6. I still get a kick out of the fact that in IE, the default page is MSN.com. But the MSN website, as well as Microsoft.com and attached websites, will all cause serious crashes on browsers IE5 and older and occasionally on IE6 (I think on the original version of XP, Pre SP1). Basically, the moment the browser starts to load, before you can even click stop, it will crash. Of course if you want to update your browser, you have to get to that page...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I sure couldn't give a press release and claim with a strait face that banning Windows while allowing osX in response to targeted attacks had anything to do with security. (Pwn2own vulns finally patched on all target platforms/browsers now.. Microsoft was last though I really though Apple would be the holdout.) In terms of the Erny Ball, what interested me was the unexpected benefits. Things like the receptionist not needing a web browser and suddenly becoming more productive without it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

On one hand, Google was responsible with it's voluntary disclosure of the breach when such breaches often become a CYA company secret. On the other hand, why where they running IE6 on production workstations? (I believe it was IE6 that opened the door anyhow)

terry.floyd
terry.floyd

The example I provided seemed an appropriate response to the question that was asked (e.g., example of a non-tech small business that successfully migrated to Linux from MSWindows). The reasons for the switch were in response to the BSA's bullying tactics. Ball said he would have been happy to comply with their licesning policies and stayed with Microsoft if they'd treated him better. As it turned out, the BSA wanted to make an example of him and put him out of business. He didn't like that at all. Google's action is entirely different. According to what I've read, they determined that their systems were hacked last December as a result of a security flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, which allowed hackers to break into their infrastructure, compromise gmail accounts and possibly allowed the intruders to steal proprietary business code. This spells far more serious troubles for Microsoft than a small company with 72 workstations deciding that they don't appreciate being bullied. ChromeOS is no real threat to Windows in the marketplace, but Google's publicly dissing MS and detailing why they don't want Windows inside their operation suggests that no business is safe from hackers if it depends on Windows for security.

mcswan454
mcswan454

Please don't go off the deep end. Did I read this article and misinterpret? If MS HADN'T come after them sideways, would they STILL have switched to Linux/OS? My impression is, they were relatively satisified with MS until THIS. Inasmuch as I'd love to claim this as a Linux OS victory (And day by day, for my OWN reasons, it is becoming my OS/Environment of choice), it's like me going into my favorite bar - let's say - having a bully pester me while I'm ignoring him, and then being upset when I go someplace else. Were I treated with respect in the bar I was in, I WOULDN'T have left: Until then I had no good reason!!! Is Linux becoming the OS of choice AFTER everyone else pisses us off? That does not bode well. (Edited to add this thought: MS pissed off Google (ChromeOS notwithstanding, or didn't we KNOW MS KNEW Google was developing its own OS?) Google says you need permission to use MS. But you can take an Apple instead? OSX? Frankly, THEY (Apple) haven't pissed us off yet.... Now I'm going to REALLY out on a limb: If I choose the Linux Distro currently offered -- it ISN't Chrome yet -- is it RedHat, Ubuntu, Mint, I get MY choice, RIGHT??) Yeah, I'll NEVER lead off on a discussion again. Although, this one has actually had more technologists expressing value, than many I've read.) M.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I hoped it would be the first salvo in volley of such articles. As NeoSam noted, it appears to have been a single shot; a small caliber one at that.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

What is needed is more examples like Ernie Ball's company. Different use cases and needs. More documented implementations. One example repeatedly waved about like a flag over and over just doesn't do it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The first article refers to migrating from Unix; hardly any challenge there, and I'm guessing no new apps were involved. In any case, the migration isn't from a Windows environment. Ditto the third and fourth article. The second case listed involved provisioning new servers and storage. Worthwhile, but no migration and nothing new. The fifth appears to be a rehash of the fourth, but is still Unix-to-Linux. The final article is a Linux-to-Linux migration, to Red Hat from an "home grown Linux" installation. Interesting stuff, but no Windows-to-Linux, servers and desktops, in the bunch.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But there will be a significantly higher average knowledge level than over at Bob's furniture shop or other non-IT industry businesses. As I'm guessing Palmetto mentioned blow; I'd also like to see a case study writeup on how the migration went for them though. Any migration has issues that crop up.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm fighting with a T60 at the moment. No driver detected from the Windows Update site. Lenovo's provided driver remains horridly unstable be it networks managed by Windows or managed by the Intel utility. The other T60s where a pig to get driver support for but this one is a flake. The outcome may be a baked wireless module but the point is that "Just works" Windows can detect it so where's the ubiquitous driver support I keep hearing about? grr.. stupid operating systems.. there all stupid for one reason or another.

eldergabriel
eldergabriel

I've worked through many situations in which I had to monkey around with hardware and drivers in winxp to get them to work as well as they did in linux. (How's that for irony?) I've even set up dual-boot systems where the linux side had better out-of-box support for the network interface than winxp (read: none). I couldn't help but chuckle when I downloaded the nic driver from within linux, saved it to the desktop folder inside the winxp system partition, rebooted into windows, then installed the driver to make the nic work as well in xp as it did in linux. Oh, the irony... grrr.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's also interesting to compare "upbringings" as everyone has had different experiences. I suspected the question was not directed at me but joined in anyhow.

mcswan454
mcswan454

My response was actually asked of a poster that has been removed. I do appreciate your willingness to respond to me. YOU should have never had to answer that question, as, I've not been on the boards long; have even made a fool of myself, but it doesn't take very long to recognize a Pro from the chatter. Thank you for responding. Hopefully, next time they'll remove the post I replied to - BEFORE - another party responds. So I guess the mods DO watch the boards. In this case, the one who needed to respond, didn't have to answer for himself. We don't always have to agree, but I bet we can fix some stuff if we do it together, huh? M.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've done at least two Dell rebuilds and had to go hunting for drivers there also or rely on the bloaty crap (50 meg or more for a wifi driver? seriously?) drivers from the restore image. If it was really about benefiting the end user, they'd all put a lot more effort into getting the drivers into the Windows repository. Lenovo's software side still takes the cake though by comparison with crap like Thinkvantage Access Connections and similar. It's all I can do to install the drivers and minimize the amount of "dependencies" like the Adware Plus that System Update suddenly depends on.

dwdino
dwdino

Lenovo and Toshiba have the worst driver availability support. On the other hand, HP, Dell, and Acers pretty much fire right up.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Dos 5 for me unless you count a Coleco Adam and Apple 2e previous to that. Dos was the first platform I become more than a user on though thanks to wanting to play BBs door games at home; lead to learning Renegade BBs, autoexec/config tweaking and, most importantly, modems. I saw Win3.1 at the local school library before I saw it at home and still remember the completely foreign feeling of it. "Where is the cursor block? All that on the screen is this 'I' shaped thing that fits between characters rather than over the currently selected one" A friend gave me the disk and book as the had little interest. Being a young'n never off Dos/Windows, I couldn't figure out how to even start with it and was too stubburn to read the manual. Red Hat was the first successful install by ftp diskette method. This is around the time NT4 was new and shiny though I can't remember the Red Hat version. FTP installs gave me a very good habit if starting with the minimum to get past first reboot since large FTP downloads failing half way through an install where an issue. Red Hat lasted a week before I formated the spare drive and went to somethign else.. again.. RTFM would have helped me out. The second time it stuck until Red Hat removed things like codec support. (goold old Tulip wired nic driver.. the memories..) Mandrake with codec support replaced Red Hat for me and remained my "new user" recommendation until 2009. I went Nextstep to Enlightenment over the course of a few Mandrake versions and ended up with KDE after it became Mandriva and started using year numbers for versions. Mandriva 2009 and some server work on the side got me into Debian and after years of Mandriva, the contrast was beautiful. I see why people like it and what managing a box through config files and cli should be like. I'm far from the average user now but those I support are an ongoing reminder. With an age range of fresh out of Uni to well into golden years I have a small group of all kinds of users. They are all highly educated and smart people do to the business we're in but they are not IT folk. I couldn't do what they do, they couldn't do what I do. I've taken it too fast once or twice resulting in clear reminders to take it at the user's pace and massage the changes in. (edit) osX was an interesting learning experience also. I'd played with OS9 long ago in highschool and later with and old machine given to me. It was not the only machine on hand so I wasn't forced into learning it beyond clicking around a little. I got access to osX more recently and again felt completely foreign poking around with the touchpad. It wasn't until I lugged in a mouse (familiar motor control input) and found the terminal prompt (familiar Unix hiding under Aqua makeup) that it became comfortable. Actually, installing a program was probably the hardest hurdle; I was trying to make it too complicated rather than simply dragging the icon from the squish archive.

mcswan454
mcswan454

Please tell us your basic computing experience. Next, please tell us in a brief sequence the relative age of the various OS' of which we speak. Then, would you please tell us that you NEVER used a computer until Linux came into being, such that you learned from the ground up? I'm not being rude: I'm not challenging your technical experience. But if you've been around for a while, you MUST have used Windows, DOS, CP-M, MacOS, etc., at one time or another before Linux. Could you relate to us how simple the switch was to Linux for you? I've a Dell Dimension LM (ancient) with 6 replaceable HDD's. 2 of them support Slackware 6.0. To this day, they still work. It wasn't easy, but I mastered it (installs, getting accustumed to X-Windows, all that jazz...) becuase I WANTED TO. I'm just asking you to remember what things were like for you to switch as an experienced tech, and translate that to the people you currently provide support for. Then ask yourself, were it so easy, WHY is so much effort being placed into using the DE in graphical mode today, when most of us Linux techs (that includes the Ladies) find the command line a more efficient means of accomplishing our tasks? Again, I'm not challenging you. It would help to clarify your posts from your experience. M.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Nvidia doesn't want to release driver source code but one has to give them credit for at least providing it along side the Widows binary driver download. I wish more hardware manufacturers would do that if not going one better with public interface specs or driver source code that can be included into the kernel.org source. This could also be a fantastic area of competition between distributions as they clamor to provide more polished support for hardware and applicable programs that interact with it. I'd like to see more polish go into supporting TV tuners unless the more recent hauppauge hardware support is more complete. Granted, tv tuner boards are boarderline obscure hardware.

mcswan454
mcswan454

No, of course not. Even believing that would be just to the left of silly. I, too, have to find drivers almost each time I add a new piece of HW that hasn't got a driver for it. But I CAN go to the manufacturer's site and d/l their latest version for Windows, if needed. There's a separate discussion by the blog author specific to problems he's having with finding drivers for Linux, even as we speak. Having said that, we'd like to make a "relatively" smooth transition for our users as a group. Unique HW concerns should only take place on an as-needed basis. Cause I'm willing to bet the rollout will use different images anyway, based on relative position within the company. But with a caveat: We'd like to keep the DE similar for general troubleshooting. So the C-level has a few more icons on their desktop (whatever), other than their specific apps, they should find little difference using the seceretary's desktop for basic stuff -- if needed. You know, the clerk typist is rather unlikely to need to sync his/her Blackberry with his/her PC. (Or maybe I'm foolish for having started this thread. YMMV) M.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I may be a we pup in the *nix world having started with Red Hat around 98 or so but even by then, distributions where very different though interoperable. Slackware, Red Hat and Gentoo are distinctly different. They may have a common kernel but the implementation of the rest of the distribution can be very different. Why should Novell and Red Hat simply duplicate each other's product when they both have different ideas about how to put a distribution together and different target purposes for those distributions? Unless Red Hat buys Novell, it's as realistic as expecting Apple and Microsoft to product the exact same OS. "MS provides support for MS Windows workstation, MS Windows server, and MS Windows mobile, as well as for whatever OS on XBox, with all their flavors." Mandriva supports it's various models of distribution. Red Hat supports it's various models of distribution (or used to when still providing a specific workstation "sku"). Cononical supports it Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and there server model number. Debian supports Stable, Testing and Unstable (Lenny, Squeeze, SID). When the product is the distribution forcing everything into a single "Linux" descriptor only confuses users new to the platform family because of the differences at the complete product level. Now, if we where talking about an issue in the kernel common to all distributions based on it; sure "Linux" it is because we're talking about that component part. In this case, the discussion was at the distribution level. Since the user did not appear to be looking for "how to compile my own kernel modules" and distributions choose to include drivers that may not be in the parent distribution.. suggesting a different distribution would be far more helpful for this user. Can you instead offer a better solution for getting there hardware support issue resolved in a timely and easily implementable manner?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It wasn't that you posted a comment but the fact that you thought a response meant to help a user was a place to jump in and make less than informed deriding points. You'll find discussions far more productive by recognizing that the product is the distribution not what kernel it happens to be based on. Why is do people often suggest just trying a different distribution? - Distributions are the product and are different from one another. - Distributions have different strengths depending on there purpose. - The cost of switching distributions is very low in comparison to a change like moving away from Windows or osX.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It blows my mind that a company like Lenovo with the thinkpad line can't get all it's drivers into the Windows repository. Do a clean install on a thinkpad and you'll still need to install Thinvantage System Updater to find and fetch all the required drivers (or do it by hand but Lenovo's driver site is a mess). I like the machines in general but "just works" with Windows is far from the truth.

john.light
john.light

Am I the only one who has had to do the same kind of process on WinXP to find a driver for some unknown device?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I was thinking a larger trailer rather than a little camper but that's a pretty awesome old rig. Definitely not something one sees every day. Still, distributions are separate products from separate manufacturers. You've seen that with your own recent experiences landing you on Mint. (actually, was the reason I suggested it to the initial post in this thread rather than suggesting Mandriva) Really, my second response was more a result of posting helpful information only to have some troll jump in with the shallow ego post. It seems to be a theme with that particular regular.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The distribution is the product not the commodity parts it's assembled from. Look at Mandriva. It's installer simply asks "I don't have a driver for this network card, do you want to use your Windows driver?". Give it the windows driver and it manages the setup from there onward. Ubuntu is popular but popularity has never been an indication of quality and there are other distributions that provide better hardware support and "ease of use". It would be nice if kernel.org's source included drivers for all possible hardware but this would require hardware manufacturers to join in far more than they do. In the end, it's a conflict of interest. Developers want an open system that can be well maintained and responsive to needed changes or specific uses. Hardware manufacturers want to generate money with artificial end of life and think limiting there consumer base through "secret sauce" stuff like firmware wrongfully placed in the driver instead of on the hardware.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

We've been over this but once again for those who you may be trying to confuse; "Linux" is not a single product. Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mandriva, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Windows, osX, OpenBSD, FreeBSD; these are all distinctly different platforms even if some of them use common base components. Cononical produces Ubuntu. They do not produce Mint. This is the same as Micorsoft producing Windows not osX or OpenBSD. Do you expect Microsoft to provide support for non-Windows products? Maybe Red Hat should be providing you with support for non-Red Hat products? Different Distributions, though they are highly interoperable and use similar components, have distinctly different goals and target audiences. Why should anyone who chooses to assemble a distribution be required to follow someone elses business goals just because they happen to use the Linux kernel? Should we demand that all car manufacturer's focuse on the same production goals? After all, if two cars have a combustion engine in them, they must be for the exact same purpose right? A VM Bug should easily manage the same workload as an F150 truck right? This thinking that one must spend years testing all possible distributions is equally silly to imply. Do you test drive every make and model of used or new car available when you buy or do you narrow it down to a short list of vehicles suited to your needs. "instead of finding solutions for Linux problems" Maybe you have a solution that would convince hardware manufacturer's to provide the minimum information needed to support there hardware? Let's put the responsibility where it's due. With the wireless example this thread sprang from; there is a whole lot more withholding of information by the manufacturers than lack of interest in hardware support by the developers. If the problem is developers then that should absolutely be addressed but it's more often the other other side of the equation for things like GPU and wireless NIC support. And lastly, if one is willing to put int he elbow grease; yes, one can start with the raw kernel.org source code, build there own kernel and add in whatever hardware modules they can find or write themselves. The impression given by the initial post was that the user was not someone who had the skill or interest in going to that extreme; suggesting a pre-built distribution which may provide better hardware support due to the producers different end goals is very reasonable. Heck, try Ubuntu, Mint, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS. That's four distributions available as liveCD; fifteen minutes each and you have a pretty good idea of which is going to work for you based on hardware support, feel and default program list. (I suspect I've given your straw man far more time than it's worth but hopefully it helps one of the readers following along.)

SubgeniusD
SubgeniusD

Imagine pointing a new Linux user to this tutorial to solve his wireless woes.... http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/how-install-and-use-ndiswrapper-video Every time a basic usability issue like this comes up the learning curve instantly goes right through the roof and the user (or experimenter) goes right back to what works for them. Wireless for Linux "out of the box" is steadily improving though.

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