Learning new Operating Systems and change


I was talking with a friend of mine on Messenger this afternoon, and the comment was made that people don’t like to have to relearn something after having spent the last 3 to 5 years learning it already.  We were referring to the changes between Windows Vista and XP, but it very well could be applied to the changes between Windows and Linux.  In fact, I made that very same comment—that one of the reasons why Linux hasn’t gained a bigger foothold is because of the learning curve.

If you have a computer with pre-Windows 2000 on it, you don’t have the choice of sticking with it anymore.  You either have to buy a new computer with Vista (or XP, if you’re lucky) on it, or you have to learn how to use Linux—and settle for not having all of the games and applications that you’re used to.  And soon, if you’re running anything short of Vista, you’ll be in the same boat. 

With the economy in shambles (as evidenced by the –300 + drop in the Dow Jones today), when your computer gets to the point where you have to do something, you’re going to be faced with a serious decision.  Do you spend the money to purchase a new computer with a new version of Windows, or do you try to find a use for the computer that you already have?

I say, if you can afford to purchase that new computer—but it’s going to hurt, then you should opt for both choices.  Purchase the new computer, and use it until it’s time has come.  But take your old computer and install a version of Linux on it.  Learn them both, since you have to learn one for sure. 

One of three possible outcomes will happen.

  1. You’ll love Linux so much that when it comes time to decide what to do with the “new” computer, you’ll just switch to Linux on it.
  2. You’ll tolerate Linux and keep it on one computer and keep upgrading to a “new” computer with Windows.
  3. You’ll hate Linux in which case you’ll toss the old computer in the trash.

Regardless of which, at least you’ll have given it a chance.

However, if you’re not able to afford the “new” computer with the “new” version of Windows, then your choices are worse.  You either have to continue using the unsupported version of Windows on your current computer, or scrap it and put Linux on.  In this situation I highly recommend that you look into distributions (distros) like Ubuntu, which allow you to install Linux as a file on your Windows computer (so you can “test it out” while not destroying your existing setup), or using Live CD’s to test out Linux.

The disadvantage to the Live CD approach is that when you reboot, anything you did will be gone.  Likewise it may be hard (or impossible) to migrate from the “file” on your Windows computer to a complete install of Linux.  So take both options with a grain of salt.

What I personally suggest is this.  Since the cost of Linux is the cost of downloading the .iso file (which you’ll be spending that money regardless) plus the cost of a CD or DVD, I think you should download the Live CD’s now, and give them a shake.  Even if you just upgraded your computer to the “new” operating system, and have more than enough hardware to make it through to the next “new” operating system, it doesn’t hurt to give it a shot.  Who knows.  Maybe you’ll save some money when the next “new” operating system comes out.

Have a great weekend:)

Patrick.

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