The day after Thanksgiving my boss asked me if I would be willing to go to his house and do something about his computer. He had been told by Insight that his XP-based computer had a spambot placed on it and had sent out over 364,000 spams in one day. I had already attempted to fix the computer once before (before I knew there was a spambot on it) by doing the usual defrag/add spyware remover/add antivirus. The computer (a fairly nice piece of hardware) had come to a near stop. The machine was taking up to ten minutes to boot and the applications were practically unusable.

The needs of the computer were simple: Web, e-mail, instant messaging, word processing, digital camera. The problem was that the boss had teenage girls that would click on this and click on that and unwittingly install malicious software. So the boss had only one request: redo the machine and make it so this (the spambot) couldn’t happen again.

I had a plan. I would install Fedora 7 on the machine and see what they thought. We were using Fedora 7 at work and the boss could use it. Understand the boss is one of those that wouldn’t know an OS from an e-mail client. So he was pretty much in the dark with what was going on. But I did tell him that my intent was to set up his home PC just like the work PC. All good with him.

So I went to his house and installed, without hitch, Fedora 7 on his home PC. I had everything up and running (after I called Insight to get their network connection working – after the spambot incident) within an hour. KDE was up and running swiftly and reliably. So I left hoping they would be happy with my work.

I show up at work the next day to hear my boss tell me his wife LOVES me. They were so happy with their computer. It was working better than they ever remembered. And when I told my boss that they didn’t have to worry about installing any antivirus, spyware removers, or firewall, and that if there was any type of application they needed, I could most likely find them what they wanted (and find it for free). His reaction? Why isn’t everyone using this?

I told him that if the average computer user knew about it, they probably would be using Linux.

I managed to introduce a family who would have otherwise never even heard the word Linux to a new operating system that will keep them from having to ever deal with Insight shutting them down due to a spambot infiltrating their system.

The family had all their needs met, and I spread the word.

Long live Linux!