Windows to Linux: Baby Steps.

Every so often, i get myself into an uncomfortable situation that involves me trying to explain to someone why they should to switch from Windows to Linux. It goes something like this, “because it’s faster, more secure, …” — but for some reason i just never know where to begin. I end up either confusing the person or just scaring them off with too much technical jargon.

I thought it would be a good idea to make a list that compared Windows to Linux softwares, side-by-side. That way, i could describe the difference between the two operating systems in terms that people were already familiar with. Try Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, Open Office instead of Microsoft Office, Thunderbird instead of Outlook Express.. and so on.

All of these alternative softwares are free to download (there’s a good reason, right?) and can be installed on a system running Windows. The idea was to prepare the person for an eventual switch to Linux. So if those 3 applications are the only ones you even use, go ahead and give them a try. You too could be running a Linux desktop in the near future.

Unfortunately, these days the vast majority of Windows users demand a lot more out of their desktop systems. When comparing softwares for things like sound, gaming, viewing dvds, and different graphics editors – there may not always be a clear Linux alternative. I was relieved to find out that there is a site called Grokdoc that has taken on the challenge of maintaining such a list, so i guess i won’t have to. Lucky me.

If you were looking for a starting point, i would recommend the page entitled: Switching to Linux, which is a very complete step by step for first timers. It does a good job of bringing together info from many different sources. There is also a page called Application Crossover Chart, that does a side-by- side comparison of softwares with links to many Linux alternatives, but there isn’t as much description, so it is more useful to have just as a reference.

I guess i’ll end off by quoting what someone once told me when i first starting asking about Linux:

“Just read a lot.”

Comments 3

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