True Freedom of Choice

A ten-year Windows user makes the jump to Linux and finds it empowering, liberating and easy to do.

When it comes to using computers, I, like most people, use general software. Typically, I use my computer as a tool for a few primary tasks: web browsing, sending and receiving e-mail, home financial bookkeeping and word processing. Knowing this, why would I start looking to change my operating system, when most of the applications I need to run are provided by one vendor?

Why I Switched to Linux

Did I want to switch because I longed for the "good old days" when you knew, or at least could have a good idea about, what making a change to your computer would cause that computer to do? Was it because I suspected some better operating system was out there? Was I concerned, after reading my End User License Agreement, that use of the operating system implied a right for the vendor to gain access to my machine and apply unnecessary or unwanted updates? In a nutshell, the answer to all these questions was "yes".

For the better part of a week, I sought and reviewed alternative operating systems for my PC. What I wanted was a non-Microsoft operating system for my x86-based PC, but one that was more or less widely distributed and supported by either a corporate entity a very active community. Additionally, due to my job requirements, I needed to have applications available on this new platform that could open and save documents created with Microsoft Office. In the end, I decided that Linux would suit my needs well because of the large community of users available who were ready, willing and able to help me become the newest member of their community.

After choosing Linux as my new operating system, I thought my selection work was complete. However, as a Linux user, there is another choice to be made--the Linux distribution. Distribution preference are largely driven by personal taste and support requirements. Geography plays a role as well. For those users here in America, Red Hat is the dominant distribution, while SuSE is the leading distribution in Europe.

Which Distribution to Use?

Several of my friends and coworkers voiced an almost unanimous recommendation that I install the Red Hat distribution. I'm positive their recommendations had less to do with a technical superiority of this distribution than it did with the fact that RH is such a recognizable name in the realm of Linux. Other people may recommend Mandrake, SuSE, Debian, Lindows, Corel and so on, based on their personal preferences and requirements. As far as application compatibility is concerned, each distribution pretty much runs the same software. Where the distributions differ is ease of installation of both the operating system and subsequent applications and corporate support. If you have a requirement to provide a specific level of support for an environment, or if you feel less adventurous in terms of searching for device drivers or troubleshooting problems, I would recommend you stick with one of the more widely distributed versions, such as Red Hat, SuSE or Mandrake. Doing so will likely make your experience of installing Linux less intimidating and more fulfilling.

For my installation, I chose Red Hat 7.3 for several reasons. First, it was the one recommended by my pals at work. Next, I wanted to purchase the media rather than download it, and although other distributions were available at the computer store near my home, Red Hat was the only distribution of Linux on the shelf at the time. Finally, I chose Red Hat because of the included ability to download updates via the Red Hat network and the free 30 days of installation support.

After a week of researching and deciding, I was ready to install Linux on my home computer. Although I had the option to install my new operating system alongside my existing Windows installation, I chose to perform a wholesale switch to Linux. I did this to ensure that I would live in this new operating system and not fall back on my Windows applications. Going cold turkey, I expunged from my machine an operating system that I have lived with, in one form or another, for close to ten years.

The Fruits of my Labor

I'm pleased to say that I have been with Linux for over a month now, and due to my overwhelmingly positive experience, I have no intention of reinstalling Windows.

One of the selling points of Linux is it's a rather lightweight but robust operating system. Even if your machine is less powerful than my 1.2GHz desktop system with 512MB of RAM, depending on the services that you start on your system, you will experience a faster operating system. In fact, if you are interested in only the character-based shell terminals available with Linux, you can have a fairly robust system using a 486 processor machine with 32MB or less of RAM.

Prior to my installation, I backed up certain documents that I wanted to keep. I also exported my e-mail addresses from Outlook to both a comma-delimited text file and V-cards. During this time, I also read the installation guide that Red Hat included in their package. After I prepared myself with this data backup and extra bit of research, I inserted the first Red Hat CD and restarted my machine.

After the machine went through its power-up tests, I was greeted with a descriptive screen welcoming me and telling me how to start up the Linux installation. Simply put, pressing Enter started me down the path to my new operating system. Soon, I was watching Linux load the requisite hardware drivers required to get me through the installation, followed shortly by the greeting of the Red Hat logo splash screen.

After a few moments, the Red Hat logo screen disappeared, and I was presented with a screen introducing me to the installation configuration. For anyone who has installed an operating system or application for Windows, the graphical tool presented by Red Hat is a similarly intuitive interface. If you haven't installed an operating system before, don't fear.  The screens presented by the installer are extremely explanatory about what the system is requesting and why it is requesting the information. If you run into problems, you can get assistance from the on-screen help or by calling Red Hat installation support.

First, I was asked the type of boot loader I wanted to use. The boot loader is similar to the menu you receive on a Windows system when choosing which version of their operating system to load in a multiboot scenario. GRUB, which is the newest generation of boot loader, is recommended unless you have a specific need to run LILO.

Next, I was asked what type of installation I wanted: Workstation, Server, Laptop or Custom. Having no idea what I really wanted, I had read in the Installation Guide there is a way to install everything that shipped with the operating system. Since I wasn't short on space, I chose the "Custom" installation, and then when I was prompted to select the packages I wanted to install, I scrolled to the bottom and chose "Everything", which installed all the features that shipped with the OS.

After answering some cursory questions about the networking interface on my machine and the type of password mechanism that I wanted, the system asked if I wanted to install the firewall that ships with the OS. Since I run my at-home system behind a hardware firewall, I chose not to initiate the firewall application. On other screens, choosing the defaults is usually sufficient to get you up and running.

Next, I was prompted to tell the system how I wanted to partition my hard drive. Because filesystem installation is one of the more complex steps in any operating system installation, I was pleased to see that Red Hat included an option that allows for automatic partitioning of the drive. I chose this option and then deleted all existing partitions.

After this, the installation began. Selecting Next here would cause the system to format the drive, and I would be kissing my data "goodbye." Up to this point, I could roll back my changes and still go back to my Windows system.



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Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I just bought a TOSHIBA b/c my compaq of 1400 and three years wont power up at all. Now with my TOSHIBA, the windows os will not load properly. I have to delete everything on my system with quick resotre. I have had to do two system restore points before and again lost programs that I loaded.

So since this windows event, I want another OS, I need it for law school. I need to
1. access the wireless network
2. import my notes which use Microsoft office and are 121 pagaes thus far
3. use Office as I bought it a while ago and it is still good, or import my office files into Linuxs version of office
4. Use my digital camer which is HP and has HP software.
5. Use my scanner which is HP
6. Use my printer which is HP

So can I switch to Linux and do the above sucessfully and w/o crashes and problems for the next 3 years while I am inlaw school.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

The author is right, Red Hat 7.3 is almost too easy to install.

Although I do prefer to use Mandrake which is even easier, Red Hat is looking better for me all the time.

But for newbies to Linux, I'd reccomend one of the following distros:

Lycoris Desktop LX

Xandros(when it's out anyway)

ELX Linux

Mandrake 8.2 or 9.0(when 9.0 is out)

Red Hat 7.3

Newbies should stay away from things like Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, LFS, or anything that requires editing all config files by hand like ROOT Linux or Crux. Also stay away from Lindows, although it is very easy to use and has a great variant of Wine built in, it is incredibly insecure for a Linux distro, but no more insecure than Windows.

If you are afraid to actually install it on your computer there is a great CD based distro to try out Mandrake, it is called Virtual Linux. It however requires at least 64 megs of ram.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

If you want to testdrive Linux, get a cd based distribution called Knoppix. It can run with 32MB ram and a swap file, but 64MB+ is recomended. This CD contains 700MB of programs; support for a lot of hardware with really good hw detection. Overall this is a great distro. It is extremely useful even when you use Linux, but you want something more potrable than you ATX computer case (well, unless you have a laptop.) I carry a copy of Knoppix everywhere I go.

Re: When I get Dreamweaver, I'll switch

Anonymous's picture

Have a dual boot now because I need dreamweaver. Bluefish needs at least six more months of heavy development, and quanta plus needs even more. I envision myself using Bluefish in about a year, but right now I can't give up Dreamweaver. Linux has everything else I need, including Quicken (for relatives) Quickbooks/Pro (for relatives) MyBooks (me), an Office suite (OpenOffice, that needs help btw) an aol instant messenger that I can contact others on the aol network, and help friends and relatives migrate away from aol, Mozilla/Konqueror and more browsers that work instead of the insecure crapola used by the other 90+% of the lost souls out there, Apache, and tons of other applications.

At $199 to $299 for a MS operating system that gives operating system! (with one single user license), against $50-$125 for official versions, and free GPL legal versions that give you a rock stable operating system, along with thousands of applications, that can legally be copied to additional computers without BSA threats, how can you go wrong?

What's the cost of MS equivalents? On Linux, you get multiple office suites, compilers, advanced server applications, email clients, email servers, games, scientific applications, math applications, multiple database servers used widely throughout the world, no per seat atrocious licensing costs, and the software runs on old hardware. What more could you want?

You don't have to worry about Jack Valenti's relatives at the BSA kicking in your doors to catch you using "pirate" software, you don't have to sign up for MS's version of Carnivore, or send MS your fingerprints, blood samples, dna samples, retinal scans, stool samples, social security number or grave plot number.

Or that your email app is a platform for attacking others.

Or that the software company will blame you for security holes.

You don't have to worry when you hear that your word processor has had security holes in it for the last five years, and that the company you purchased the software from won't fix it because they want you to upgrade to their latest suite at a cost of hundreds of dollars, and locking you into a long term contract.

You don't have to worry that your operating system has security holes into it big enough to drive a truck through, and your only option is to download a patch which will be made available in a few months (against a few hours for Linux), and it isn't serious now, but will be critical to update when the patch is released, and ohh, btw, you have to agree to terms that allow MS to give you a colonoscopy every three months...

On the other hand, I like colonoscopies. I think I'll stick with MS.

Re: When I get Dreamweaver, I'll switch

Anonymous's picture

Open Office is awfully slow on start-up(Linux or Windows versions), they ned to work on that.

I prefer to use Koffice for general work and OO.o for Ms Office files.

And as for Dreamweaver I would love that myself, I see why it is a stumbling block. I think I've heard of some people having success with it under a variant of Wine, but not me.

And how can you like colonoscopies?! Unless you're kidding of course.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I think Linux is ready for the corporate masses, and for those who simply use the computer for sending email. I have been a Linux user for the last 1.5 years, and have had a good experience. It does many things better than Windows. However, I still have to keep a Windows box around for several tasks.

I "must" listen to my favorite SEC football game over the Internet because I moved away. The game is available for RealPlayer, but I can't get my RealPlayer to "react" to the web site that forwards you to the media stream. So I have to reboot into Windows when my team isn't on TV :(

I have an old USB flatbed scanner that I can't seem to get working under Linux.

I bought a new Lexmark z55 printer because it said it would work under Linux. That was very misleading. The advertised 17ppm is really about 0.5ppm when running with their driver under Linux. However, my HP LaserJet works like a champ!

I haven't been able to get my digital camera to upload to Linux either.

With that said, I am still very happy with Linux. In fact I could probably get several of my problems worked out if I just invested enough time. But, the things above are low priorities (with the exception of Football).

The point is that you have to be willing to spend time tweaking some less important things in Linux, and if you don't like to tweak then you have to be willing to sacrafice them, or spend money to buy compatable hardware or paying someone to make it work for you.

Back to my original statement: Corporate users are usually not going to be interested in connecting cheap printers, scanners, digital cameras, or listening to radio. Linux is ready now for business. And, the things I mention above are getting better by the day. It wasn't that long ago that setting up a CD-RW in Linux was a nightmare. Now, most distributions detect the drive during installation and set it up for you.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

So how much do you think it cost you to get Linux set up, in terms of new hardware and especially the time it's taken you to sort all the issues out? Is Linux really free?

At work we have Linux set up, but it takes a lot of admin time to keep it running.

Supporting Linux

Anonymous's picture

A lot of potential problems can be eliminated by having the right support-infrastructure in place (

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I highly recomend that you buy Crossover Plugin.

It is a program that uses a variant of Wine to run various Windows plugins and some programs in Linux.

For instance I sometimes use Windows Media Player in Linux for that occasional video stream that won't work otherwise. And Quicktime works too.

Lexmark printers suck anyways, I prefer HP. As for your scanner, I feel your pain. As with CD-RW's in the past, I feel as though these scanners will work soon.

Digital Camera's are often time troublesome. I wish I could help there.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

Linux is new to the "scene", so rather than dipping into the past, the future will saturate Linux! It's like, I can't get my CD player to spin my old 45s either. Duh!!!

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I am an experienced Linux/Windows user, and the only difference I see between Linux and Windows installations nowadays is the ability of my Linux distribution to be more configurable.

Mandrake is dirt simple for a starting user - I could probably get my grandmother to install it properly (and she'd probably be happier, because she had more Solitaire games to play...). The Mandrake distribution will properly use most hardware; it will tell you if there's something it can't install, and where to go on the Internet to find information regarding the problem hardware.

Of course, you have to purchase DVD player software seperately, it doesn't do Windows Media or newer Quicktime, and some complex office documents don't render well. But a friend of mine was doing his Word edit revisions on StarOffice the other day (redlines with multiple styles), and didn't have a hitch.

I've installed Mandrake 8.2 on everything from multi-processor servers with RAID controllers to standard-configuration desktops to older laptops. It just works. Time to give up on the "difficult to install" issue and move on to lack of games and multimedia support. Therein lies the final conquest.

Phoenix Rising

A Similar Experience

Anonymous's picture

The author's positive experience matches that of one of my friends at work.

My friend had bought a new PC, which came with Windows ME pre-installed. During the following weeks, my friend kept telling me stories about the problems he was having with WinME.

One day, my friend announced he was fed up with Windows, and he wanted to give Linux a try. He knew that I used Linux, and he knew there were different brands, so he asked me which one he should try. I told him that, although I used the Debian distribution, I suggested he try Red Hat or Mandrake, which should be easier for a new user like him to install. Note that, not only had he never used Linux (or Unix) before, he had never even seen it first hand.

A few days later he told me he had bought a copy of Mandrake, then the next morning he said, in a very serious tone, "Well, I tried installing Linux last night..."

His tone had me expecting to hear bad news, but it turned out he was joking. He said, "Yeah, I started the install, it asked me a few questions, then it just went automatically, recognized all my hardware, and I was working in the GUI and surfing the Net in less than an hour."

Of course, not every installation will go that smoothly, because Linux is bound to have trouble with some brands of hardware, just as Windows does.

Still, even I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Linux had become that easy for a new user to install.

Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

Who is the idiot that wrote this crap? 99.99 percent of the people who tried this (including, I suspect, the author, though he doesn't admit it) would run into all kinds of problems.

God help any newbie who reads this and thinks the Linux install is a piece of cake.

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

I have to agree with the guy who started this thread, I've now tried to move over to Linux twice in the last year and each time I've had problems. In the end I've reformated the drive and reinstalled Windows 2000. One of the problems with Linux is that it is so fiddly, to get anything seriously done there are a load of things one has to know about (via the command line usually), and it's just too much to think about when all one want to do is get the job done asap. Linux is a fine piece of kit for the average geek but for the rest of us it's not quite there yet I'm afraid.

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

All I can say to anyone who finds Linux difficult is "Try Xandros". My 13 year old son installed it and was using it within minutes (and no he

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

I would submit that the the problems experienced with linux by ex-Windows users has more to do with a different way of thinking than with the OS itself. I still remember my early days on the PC. Coming from an Amiga OS to Windows was quite a change for me then, probably moreso than my switch from Windows to Linux.

I can honestly say it took me a good couple of years to really be able to get around in Windows and make it do what I wanted it to.

I've been using Linux for nearly 4 years now(I believe my first distro was Caldera 2.something) and I must say that I've learned more about how my computer works in the last 4 years than the previous 15 years of experience with Apples, Amigas and PCs combined.

I'm not a Linux lunatic (Linutic?) as I use Windows on a daily basis at work. I use it at home for one thing, games. However, even that is slowly changing (UT2003 anyone? WOW!).

I use linux because it allows me to do MORE than I can do with Windows and do it the way I want to and not way someone else thinks I should. Anything that gives you more freedom will always demand more responsibility of you.

I, for one, think it's worth it.

-The Wandering Dru

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

Yup, it *is* a piece of cake.

I've been using Linux since the mid-90s, and I can say that things have *vastly* improved. If you elect to use, say, Debian, you're going to have a rockier road when it comes to installation (although I found that its supposed difficulty of installation is quite exaggerated), but if you go with Mandrake, Red Hat, SuSE, the install is dirt-simple. Particularly with Mandrake. So, stop the trolling and wake up.

trolls never die

Anonymous's picture

99.99 percent of the people who tried

99.99% of one person (you) still is one...

Nice troll anyway. Could be better if you include some more facts and comments.

God help any newbie who reads this and thinks the Linux install is a piece of cake.

Install any OS is hard for you then. Installing Linux doesn't mean you have to install LFS or Gentoo. You can install RH, Mdk or even Lycoris: 20 min, 3 clicks & you're done.

Anyway, nothing can prove God exists, so... (my troll :-P)

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

Troll!! That's the best way to describe your response. If you had problems, there are ways to get them answered. It's quite ease, and when you don't have to worry about blue screens, it makes life so much less stressfull

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

I forget - What are those things under bridges waiting for goats to cross called again?

Re: Wow! It's really easy to switch!

Anonymous's picture

Well, I'm a newbie and the only thing I ran into was finding a good way to set up my usb cd-rw drive. Forums helped me with that.

Works for me!

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

How has this affected family use of the PC? Of course, if you're single it's obvious.


Re: True Freedom of Choice

sbossinger's picture

The affected family, namely my spouse, continues to use her Windows XP-based PC, due to the fact that there is one game which she insists on having which has not been ported to Linux - namely, Civilization III. She was willing to change to Linux after working for a couple days on the Linux box, until she heard that this game is not there.

She does, however, use the box regularly (not directly, but by using Zope) to put up web pages at


Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

Maybe you can try Transgaming winex for Civilization 3 to work.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I first tried Linux back in the early 90s. But I found I kept booting into windows to run WordPerfect (that's how long ago it was) or play games in DOS (the bad old days of squeezing out as much conventional ram under 640k as possible. Then I tried 0s/2 2.1 and warp for a year. Then I went to Windows 95.

I tried Caldera Openlinux 2.1 a couple of years ago. I set up a printer/internet/file server for 2 wintel machines. But in time, I ditched it as a superfluous machine. It was just something to fiddle with for awhile. I ran Win98 because I wanted USB support for a Quickcam. I moved to WinME when I wanted to do digital video editing. I've got plenty of Windows games as well as the Adobe suite of graphics programs.

This year, I moved to OpenOffice and Mozilla on my Windows machine. Then I created an empty partition and tried out Lycoris after d/ling it and burning a CD. I had fun for a month or so. I used OpenOffice and Mozilla.

But, I've gone back to my WinME (which has been reliability and size-fixed using 98LIte (see it disengages Internet Explorer from the O/S and removes a lot of other windows crap). Why? Because everything works from my compact flash card reader, USB scanner, digital video camera, etc. PLus, I've gone back to using WordPerfect 6.1 for Win because I can run it on an older used notebook. (yes I know I could run it in WIne... but why bother with the extra complication?)

So, I've tried it 3 times and it's been better each time. But... I see no reason to face the annoyances of d/ling library after library and compiling to get some software to work when the SAME program is often available in Windows version as a single executable file. Sure there are packages out there, but some of them work and some of them don't. I suppose Mandrake is improving usability. As well, Linux was a lot SLOWER for me. It took a lot longer to boot in (I don't believe in wasting electricity I have to pay for in leaving a desktop machine running 24/7) and even running file managers or loading a text editor was slow. I even d/ld and installed KDE 3 which was supposed to be faster. No joy. Maybe I should try ICEWM which I hear is fast. But in my stripped down WinME, it's instantaneous already.

When I get that unbearable urge to fiddle, I try out some Linux. It's great because I don't go waste a lot of money on Win2000 or XP. Then I get it out of my system and go back to my Windows machine. I don't think Windows is any better... it just does everything I want without any compiling. And I don't really care what my desktop looks like anyway. It's black. I tend to focus my attention on the applications I'm running.

For me, the question is not: ARE PEOPLE SWITCHING? It's... okay its 6 months, 12 months, 18 months down the road. Are you still SWITCHED? What do you do with your machine? Do you have a lot of extra crap like I do? Did you go through the headaches of trying to get a USB scanner running? Did you suddenly ask yourself why you were wasting hours on this when you have a perfectly good machine working already in Windows?

I think Linux is great for home use if you want to buy a machine cheap and not pay for Windows and run OpenOffice and Mozilla and all that good stuff (though I have to say openoffice is a GODAWFUL SLOW PIG!)

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I went thru something similar - my predicament was something like this :

1) Do I want WinME - and not be able to run more than 4 browsers (of course it doesn't do the more logical TABBED browsing), or not be able to print while moving to another website, and it crashes x/day, while hunting for endless patches/fixes/updates/viruses/firewall stuff on www.m$.com.

But yes have all my bells & whistles (read nothing productivity related here)


2) run Corel Linux with StarOffice 5.2 (loads < 18 seconds on my fairly run-of-the-mill P800/128mb ram ... with Mozilla for browser & mail, AIM, realplayer, ...etc. and crossover for all the little annoying doohickeys that are M$ based, like some *.wmv or *.avi (although I could use DivX...) - you get my drift...

I have been using it for more than 18 months now, have no intention on going back into the claws of M$.

- Not one single OS crash.

- only a few mozilla abends/year

- a handful of StarOffice crashes.

- no viruses, no one has been able to hack their way thru yet (the heat is on ;-) ...

- It is user-friendly enough that my "guest" account is running a Win98 theme, with NT2000 background and appropriate music ... people are hard-pressed to figure out it's not windows.... until they realize it is not crashing ! ;-D

Long live the king !


my 2 euro cents

Anonymous's picture

as the topic suggest it: "Freedom of choice". If everything works perfect under Windows for you, there's no need to go somewhere else...

Personally my Windows experience has been Win98 on my own computer and WinMe & winNT on other computers I don't own. Prior to run Windows, I've been using Amiga and Mac for years.

I found Windows fast and nice. Not as bad as I thought it would be... until I run it more than 2 days, then I noticed myself why it was so crappy: one day it works perfectly, the other it won't run at all. The third it runs fine and after 1 hour half of it is broken.

Enough for me, I switched to Linux. I've been a bit lost in it the first days, but at least the working stuff always worked. the broken ones were fixed for good after reading the manual and going to forum.

Linux proved me why we invented computer: doing the work faster and easily. Having to deal with random bugs is not.

Now, it's WindowsXP, said to be much more reliable. Let's say that's true; it's still as unsecure as ever though and if crashes are rare, private life is so. If you apply all the patches, service pack available, new licenses make you're not the owner of your own computer/data.

As about drivers and stuff, I just wanted to say Micorosft does not do anything with this. Just the manufacturers creating their drivers for Win only and try everything to get it into Win CD. Rare are the manufacturers that release driver for Linux, that's why it's not always easy to get your devices to run under Linux: you have to build your own driver... Just the story of the egg & chicken...

And the compiling softwares stuff is funny too. why do you want to compile soft when you can get them already compiled and package, ready to be install in two click? Just look at the right place to get them...



Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

Like you, I have had a chequered past in operating systems.

I tried the first slackware distro of gnu/linux when I was still on Amigas/msdos. Then OS2/warp along with Amiga/linux/win3.11. Then win95 for 7mos, followed by debian, redhat and mandrake (which I still use).

It just happens that, for me, I kept liking and using gnu/linux more than anything else.

I use gnu/linux always, unless someone pays me to use MS windows.

You use MS Windows always, unless you feel like playing with linux.

Both are the perfect use of gnu/linux; its source and binaries are freely available to either of us whenever we want them and it costs us no money to play.

I know I will keep 'checking in' with MS Windows on the state of things as people call me and I imagine you will keep 'checking in' with the state of gnu/linux as the mood strikes you.

It's all good - there is nothing wrong with this picture :-)

Thanks for posting.

Regards, Paul Evans

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I switched 4 years ago. Never needed to switch back. My USB devices, digital camera, external drives, all work perfectly. So far as the speed of Windows... clicking the "Start" button generally takes it 10 seconds before it'll respond half the time. IE is just slow, etc. On my box, even loading something like a spreadsheet or word processor document (in Linux) is fast. granted, I haven't been able to compare Windows on this machine... but similarily configured machines at work prove to me that Linux is faster. And to me, someone who can type 120 wpm, I find the command line a lot quicker and easier.

Maybe once RH8 is out (damn it looks nice) the config/install tools for point-and-lick lusers will be easy enough as well.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

USB scanner (HP 3300c) working ok, USB printer (HP 810c) works better than it ever did in windows, USB webcam (generic CpiA) works extremly better than it did in windows, and the last bit, my hollywood+ DVD decoder working with perfect tv out (all I need now is a remote) all of this in slackware. What you fail to realise is that it's not the fault of linux if a piece of hardware is not supported, the blame lies squarly with the manufacturers for their lack support for linux.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

Not necessarily squarely with the manufacturer... some of the blame lies with the user for not ensuring that their equipment will work under Linux.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

How can you blame the user even partially for the manufacturer not supporting linux? I agree with your point but it has nothing to do with the post you replied too.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

Glad that DOS works after all these years! Eventually though, you'll have to move to NT, then I hope you will be able to cope with the compatibility blues!!!

Re: True Freedom of Choice

lpletch's picture

I believe up2date is free for one system at a time no matter where you got it. Even if you downloaded it and did not pay for it. I have kept several systems which I downloaded for free updated with up2date for quite some time now. Only one at a time may be enabled but it is simple to disable one and enable another on the web site and update one at a time.

Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

You can update many systems (free) if you don't

mind changing the "registered" system.

I usually register my "firewall" and keep it up to



Re: True Freedom of Choice

Anonymous's picture

I've been running RHL 7.2 on my home built system (P4, ATI Radeon), for several months now without a hitch. Only problem during install was getting the sound to work, but after getting the drivers (, everything was fine. I have a preference for GNOME, which in my experience thus, has been quite good. My overall analysis of Red Hat Linux on the desktop is that in about a year or so, after 8.1 is shipped, it will be in a position to sweep the consumer market. Now that, in my opinion, is saying a lot!