[clug] A New Users perspective on Linux

Andrew Pollock andrew-clug at andrew.net.au
Fri Apr 15 13:40:34 GMT 2005

On Wed, Apr 13, 2005 at 05:50:42PM +1000, Ian Bardsley wrote:
> As a new subsciber to CLUG I thought I would share the following.
> I'm sure that all the IT pro's will read and think "Dumb B*&%$d.  But 
> anyone interested in an alternative to Windows may benefit.
> I had a brief look at Linux a couple of years ago with a copy of 
> Mandrake 9.? given to me by a Linux convert.  Not a happy experience, 
> frustrating and time consuming to set up and very fragile once working.  
> I abandoned the project and returned to Windows to await developments.
> Had another look about 12 months ago with Fedora, SuSe, Debian and 
> Mandrake 10.0.  The former 3 not good but Mandrake better but still 
> fragile and given to doing odd things (albeit stimulated by my ham 
> fisted methods i'm sure).  I never made my scanner work, my TV card 
> caused the computer to crash whenever I changed channels with all TV 
> programmes tried and most attempts to burn CD's caused the computer to 
> lock up resulting in a re-boot.  However the improvements between my 
> first and second look at Linux lent me to believe that some pretty rapid 
> progress was being made in the GPL community with this alternative to 
> Bill Gates' retirement fund and I dumped the project again making a 
> mental note to have another look in about a year.  A couple of weeks ago 
> I stumbled across a distro of Mandake 10.1 on the cover of a computer 
> mag and undertook a third look.  With the same computer setup as last 
> year except a different printer. What a difference!!!
> The installation took about a third of the time that it takes to install 
> Windows XP,  the installation  procedure recognised all of my hardware  
> and in  around 25 minutes I was  able to use my PC for net access, 
> email, word processing, photo editing and  spreadsheeting.  I was even 
> able to have the TV playing in a window whilst I worked on a letter (no 
> crashes).  I was impressed!  Scanning was a problem which took about an 
> hour to solve with the help of a Net artical.
> So impressed was I that I decided to attempt to replicate every piece of 
> Windows software that I use with free open source applications and if I 
> could, I would move to the Linux platform.
> The Mandrake cds provided all of the common applications but I needed 
> Desktop Publishing, 2D CAD, a working DVD player and a sound sequencer 
> and editor.  The PC also had to be able to recognise the memory card in 
> my Camera so that I could access the pictures on it.  All of these needs 
> were met from the net with pretty good functionality and the only 
> application that gave any grief at all was the sound sequencing which 
> was solved with "Rosegarden and Qsynth" and a well written tutorial on 
> the Net.
> _I now need to research the best approach to Anti-Virus, Anti-Spywear 
> and a secure Firewall so any suggestions or feed back would be very 
> welcome._
> To conclude.  Is Linux a viable alternative to Windows for the non IT 
> industry user....Yes.... although not quite yet for those with no PC 
> experience.
> If there are other newcomers to Linux out there who may have experienced 
> problems, I hope this mail gives them encouragement to persist and learn.

Good on you for persisting.

As others have pointed out, anti-virus and spyware software isn't really
necessary. You don't even need a firewall if you're sensible about what
services you run on your computer, but look at fwbuilder. The user interface
for it isn't too bad from memory.



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