Moving to Linux– Ways to make the transition Easier (Part 2 of 2) 2

In Part 1, I started to describe the steps to ease the transition from Windows to Linux. This is all based on an article by Katherine Noyes at PC World (links are in Part 1). Now I will continue with the next three steps.

4. Give the end-user a way out. What this means is in the beginning, I would suggest a dual-boot setup. Make sure that the GRUB Screen shows up for at least 10 seconds. DO NOT wipe out any restore images on the drive. This way, if your end-user wants to go back to Windows, they can (either by booting it, or by restoring their computer to the factory settings).

Encourage the end-user to use Linux as much as possible. Tell them if they have issues, they can always boot to the more familiar (Windows), and email you (or call/IM/whatever) with their question. But make sure they know that they are better off with the Linux side. If you choose to do this, then I would suggest that on “Patch Tuesday”, the end-user boots into Windows, and leaves it overnight. That way they aren’t in a situation where they boot to Windows and have a huge number of updates waiting for them (or a system that is compromised immediately).

***This applies the “Remove the Pressure” section from Ms. Noyes article, to Home Users. While you can still put a second computer in the area, it may not be feasible (depending on your situation). For example, my mother lives about 5 hours away. So, I would only be there for a short time. And she uses dialup, so it’s not like she can boot any computer and just go.

Plus the dual-boot option is not as big of an issue for Home Users as it would be for corporate users.***

5. Set up for Success. Most of the tips in this section have been mentioned in other sections (and/or Ms. Noyes articles). Essentially this falls into some sub-steps.

  1. Make sure you have the apps that the user needs. This is similar to the “Begin With Key Apps” section. You want to make sure your end-user can do most everything that they could do before.

    Also you may want to make sure the apps are easy to find. Either place shortcuts on the desktop, or make sure you have clear instructions in the cheat sheet.

  2. Set up the administrative tasks so the user doesn’t need to worry about them. Unless your end-user is pretty computer-savvy, they probably don’t like having to deal with updates and other administrative tasks. By default Linux will apply security updates automatically. You should try to set it up to update everything automatically, so the end-user doesn’t have to worry.

    You may want to put a dialog box up (or a terminal screen) to show the end-user what’s happening. This way, they don’t inadvertently shut the computer down (or the Internet connection down) while the updates are happening.

  3. Set up password managers, keys, email clients, and other necessary things. If the end-user’s email can be read from a client (Evolution, KMail, Thunderbird, etc) then set these up for them. You may want to generate gpg keys for their computer (and email accounts), along with RSA Keys. Set up their password manager, so they can store all of their needed passwords (for websites and other things like their wireless router)–with the passwords, if possible.

    If you plan on having the end-user ask questions on support forums, set them up with accounts on the forums. Configure their settings for minimal emails (except for replies to their posts) and show them how to get to the forums and find information/ask the questions. This may also lower the amount of support time you have to spend.

This list is by no means complete. Only you, and the end-user, will know what all needs to be set up ahead of time. The important thing is to show them how to do these things (so they can update passwords and keys or configure things in the future).

6. Give the user a Cheat Sheet. Similar to the plan from Ms. Noyes’ article, you should create a cheat sheet for the end-user. Make sure it’s clear, and easy to follow. If the sheet includes commands or links, I would recommend placing a copy on their desktop–as well as printing it out. This way the user won’t make a mistake when typing the commands or going to the site.

In the future, I plan on making a sample cheat sheet for people to use. It will only be a template, and should be configured for their needs.

I encourage your comments–especially other points that should be considered.

Have a great day:)

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