My neighbour and Linux

I recently got a call from my neighbour, whom I’ve helped with computer questions and problems for a few years now. His laptop was acting funny, and so I went over and checked out his machine, only to find out that it had a whole slew of nasties that had been installed on it somehow. Firefox had been hijacked, and 3 extra tool bars cluttered the interface. I resigned myself to having to reinstall windows for the second time this year. However, my neighbour said: “I’m kinda thinking of having you just install Linux on this machine. My other laptop that you put Linux (x64 XFCE) on never gives me any problems.” I told him to sleep on it, and I would redo the laptop the next day.

He didn’t change his mind, and so I had the pleasure of wiping out Windows 7 on his laptop for the last time and installing Linux Mint 17.1 x64 MATE on his Sandy Bridge i3 6GB RAM Dell Laptop. It took only a small amount of configuring to get everything working the way he likes it. Since the laptop is hooked up to his Smart TV most of the time, that presented its’ own set of problems and solutions. I had already gotten him into open source software earlier, so he is still using a lot of the same programs that he was using under Windows 7.

The only change I’ve noticed so far, is that he has been able to solve several problems on his own, because he is not afraid to go into control panel and try different things. Having an OS that does what you want it to, and doesn’t rot over time, is something that can change a person’s relationship with their computer to something more positive. Add in the fact that it’s free and constantly getting better, and you have something whose fan base will continue to grow as the smooth desktop experience provided by Linux Mint wins over more disgruntled Windows users.

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