BREAKING NEWS: Girlfriend Agrees To Use Linux For A Month

A few months before I started writing about Linux, I convinced my girlfriend to switch to using Firefox. This was the first step I took to getting her warmed up to the idea of using Open Source software.

At the time that she switched to Firefox, she absolutely hated Internet Explorer, and really enjoyed the tabbed browsing feature. She said even though it took longer to actually start Firefox, it ran much smoother and was more efficient. Since I’ve started writing on a regular basis about Linux, my girlfriend has shown a moderate amount of interest in Linux and has been reading most of my articles. (*wave* Hi baby!)

About 3 weeks ago, her computer had a MASSIVE infestation of some really, really nasty adware. It took over the TCP/IP stack, and redirected all URLs through about:blank, and was not something I could fix. I tried about a half-dozen different anti-spyware programs, manually removed things, and even in windows Safe Mode, the damn ads kept popping up on the screen, making the computer useless.

I had to backup her documents, pictures, etc and reinstall Windows. I mentioned at the time that we could try installing Linux, and see how that goes, but she adamantly declined.

Fast forward to last night. I asked if we could try Linux out as an experiment. I’d setup the computer to automatically boot up in Linux after 30 seconds of waiting at the bootloader menu, and if she had problems with Linux, she could simply reboot and use Windows. She said, “Ok, I’ll try it.” I nearly had a heart attack.

I decided to try using Linux Mint as a “switcher” distribution for the time being, as it is a very full-featured distribution that has a menu similar to the default Windows XP menu. I originally thought that Puppy 3.0 would be a better option, seeing as she has a little bit older computer, since Puppy Linux runs completely in RAM it would run faster that most other distributions out there. I decided due to some reviews I read that it would not be the best option, especially since I am most comfortable with Ubuntu – and Linux Mint is a “downstream” version of Ubuntu.

Linux Mint Menu

Next, we changed the background to the default Bliss desktop wallpaper, renamed the “Celina” menu to the “Start” menu, and when I woke up this morning, she was browsing the web without any issues in Firefox

What I’ll do from now is provide a weekly “progress report” of things that she needed to reboot into Windows to do, and how she subjectively feels about the switch. I think it will be a successful conversion, seeing as she has expressed just three primary needs in an O/S: Browsing, Picture Editing, and BlackBerry firmware updates.

In other news, Hell freezes over.

By popular request, her picture has been added. ;-)

233486883_l.jpg

  • venkatesh nandakumar

    way to go!!

  • LivingInX

    That is pretty awesome. But instead of you writing the ‘weekly reports,’ you should see if you would be interested in writing what she thinks about the experience.

    I love the site.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Thanks for the comments – she said that she would “maybe” write it herself. We actually already ran into a small glitch on a flash based myspace profile tonight.

  • http://www.commmanddotcom.com Adam

    I had mine running on Ubuntu on an old desktop machine of mine. She has since stopped, but in her defense, it’s because she practically has taken my Powerbook hostage.

    -A

  • defrex

    This is interesting. I think I’m going to talk my girlfriend into the same thing soon. I’ll be waiting anxiously to see how it goes.

    Love the site, by the way.

  • jake

    pics or it didnt happen.

  • Dan

    Advise your GF to visit http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20070701111340544/Equivalents.html so she doesn’t miss her fav Windows apps too much!

  • dodo

    macho fucker

  • Architekt

    Boooring…

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Thanks for the link Dan!

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    She has agreed to write about her experiences, I’ll ask her some questions every day and take notes, then she’ll compile her story and post it up here. :)

    Oh yeah, Jake: She submitted this to Digg

  • Tony

    My wife has been running Ubuntu for a year, after switching from Windows. I have had no complaints at all, and it runs more smoothly than windows. I can’t see any problems for girls running Linux since it is so bloody easy to use.

  • Zette

    Yeah linux is really cool, specially ubuntu is my fav. tbh now, i use linux on and off for last 7-8 years, don’t know why just thought in these days to switch all my company to linux, first thing i realised non of the designers were agree with that..i thought they would be the ones who would like most of all..anyway…good luck with your gf.

  • Steve

    Well you’ve also locked-in your relationship quite nicely. Very, you’ll be the only one who’ll be able help her go shopping for a camera/PDA/Scanner with Linux drivers!

  • SadPanda

    If this is the highlight of your life, you’re a pretty boring person. You should be fucking that women (and her sister), but noooooo … “please please please use Linxus so I have something to write about in my blog”

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Thanks for the nice comments Tony, Zette, and Steve.

  • http://joelburdick.awardspace.com Joel

    EXCELLENT!! Linux is the best. I began with ‘Puppy Linux’ and moved to Ubuntu dual-boot. I have two HDDs, -and my default is to Ubuntu drive but have XP for some programs that are Windoze-only. Personally, I feel that VISTA will do more for people switching to Linux than Linux could ever do by itself! VISTA is crap.

    I really hope things work out well for her. Welcome to open-souorce! Enjoy Linux!!

    -Joel

  • http://steve-parker.org/ Steve

    Back in 2004 I started weaning my (totally anti-anything-geeky) wife off Microsoft Office, which was her Killer App; OO.o wasn’t quite up to scratch, until I upgraded from Win98 with MS Office to Windows 2000 with OOo. For a long time, she assumed that it was a new version of MS Office. When I admitted that it wasn’t, she turned against it.

    I offered her the option of buying legitimate MS Windows and MS Office licenses from her own “spending money” account, and when she saw the prices, she somehow declined :-)

    Not long after, in June 2006, I plumped for Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, with (a newer version, by then) OOo, FireFox, etc, and she’s been happy with everything since then. She’s learned to do new things – rip CDs, copy the MP3s to her phone, etc etc. Tabbed browsing still seems to be an issue, for some reason.

    Linux is ready for non-geeks, and my non-geek (at least) is ready for Linux.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    I myself have issues with OOo, but Google Docs is really nice.

  • EaZiE

    Linux has a hard time w/ hardware.
    Even all the new distros.
    If you like tryin new software, figure
    on at least a day to get it installed.

    Linux has its plusses – its free.
    But don’t you think too many people
    over praise Linux. Then people are like
    wtf.

  • deon

    BREAKING NEWS: Who gives a Fuq
    you Linux fanboys can Blog from here to infinite theres a reason why most people still use MS. Linux is not ready for the Desktop till it has full %100 3rd party support. But what ever lets see if 2008 will be the year for Linux cause 2007 was not, nor 2006, nor 2005 like most of you fanboys said. -=)

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    100% third party support?

    Hmm, I can think of a few things that aren’t compatible with Vista.

    Nobody has 100% third party support, even Microsoft.

  • bogo

    My wife has been using Linux ( ubuntu ) on a laptop for the past year on a daily basis. She recently told me she’d never switch back.
    Most used applications : Firefox, Evolution, OpenOffice, IM and sudoku.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Oh hell yeah, Sudoku is a killer app… lol :)

  • ggdghd

    possibly tranny. real women dont trust faggot penguins.

    i just think it is lame you have to do anything before u can play mp3s.

  • http://www.fsckin.com/ Wayne

    Try Linux Mint, no need to do anything special to play MP3s.

  • http://deadfool.wordpress.com/ Deadfool

    Horrid idea. the point of linux isnt to be some free windows clone. A total moron using linux isnt going to be safe. Linux isnt a security fix for windows. thank you for bringing 1 more retard to linux.

  • deadbum

    My wife has been using linux on her desktop and now laptop for about 4 years now, and not any windows clone window manager either. She uses enlightenment and wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s not a geek either, she’s in medicine. People can learn new interfaces pretty quickly, and for most desktop use linux is a perfect replacement for regular users tired of the BS that windows throws up. Recently she’s had to use MS office for some specific templates for a note taking service she participates in, but rather than boot to windows she runs XP in a virtualbox VM and just resaves the files she’s already been working on in open office. I have to do maintenance on her machine every few months to fix things here and there but the quality of her desktop experience is much better than windows according to her. Plus there is something all together nerdly and satisfying about a hot chick emerging source.

  • ukprimaryteacher

    I found your article on Linux quite interesting. I’ve also had problems with spyware but so far, nothing too severe.

    On an unrelated note, can you explain how you’ve made the rss feed button stay in the browser window as the user scrolls up and down?

    Interesting articles, I’ve learned quite a bit!

    Regards,
    ukprimaryteacher

  • shawn

    I tried Ubuntu for several weeks on two P4 laptops. Wasn’t impressions. I still had to become a minor expert in command line management to get anything accomplished. It was still a resource hog and slow at times.

    As far as Firefox I prefer to use it and love many extensions. But it crashes to, can be a horrible memory hog sometimes taking for 200meg of RAM and causing my system to slow.

    Nothing is perfect for sure but acting like FF and linux solutions as far superior to MS Windows OS is a stretch.

    Now open source and free is definitely a plus, but I don’t think I’ve paid for anything in 10 years anyways.

    If everyone used linux there would be tons of spyware and virus issues too!

    Shawn

  • Drood

    “If everyone used linux there would be tons of spyware and virus issues too!”

    That’s a common misconception. Sure, there are Linux exploits, but by default, Linux has the gates pretty firmly shut. Unlike Windows whose doors are wide open.

    The popular argument doesn’t work, because Linux security is implemented far better. Any virus, unless run as root, would be nowhere near as catastrophic as in Windows simply due to the way the OS works.

    The argument about popularity is FUD put about by Microsoft sychophants that, sadly, a lot of people believe.

  • http://www.commmanddotcom.com Adam

    I will have to second Drood’s statement.

    It’s FUD that M$ is putting out. Linux (and for that matter all *nix based systems) handle security in a much more logical manner than any flavor of Windows (including the disaster that UAC is in Vista).

    By default, unless you explicitly are running as the ‘root’ user, which is disabled in Ubuntu, you are an unprivileged user. For anything to install itself or otherwise run without permission, you’ll have to at the minimum type your password in if not have to use the ‘sudo’ command to run the application. On top of this, the sudo permission is generally limited to the first user account (the administrator) on most Ubuntu installs unless you explicitly give other users permission to use it. That means that any sub user accounts you create (ie: accounts for the kids) will AUTOMATICALLY have no permission to install applications or otherwise change system files and unlike limited accounts in the Windows world, they’ll actually have little to no problem running most applications.

    Besides…any exploit that is found will more than likely have a patch out with-in a few days. When is the last time you saw MS do that?

    -Adam

  • linuxiac

    Wow! For you, her, and, Linuxchix! (google it!)

    Yes, Geekgrrls, too! Lots of smart women know and use Linux, and there are a some who are Linux coders!

    What a ‘brain drain’! Not letting the fair sex play? 55% of our species’ talents, wasted?

    Grab a live CDrom of http://www.mepis.org as it is Kubuntu on steroids!

  • http://www.gmail.com Ricky
  • http://www.gmail.com Ricky
  • Steve

    I’m so glad there are some people here who write with balanced views. Because talking to people who are fanatical over an OS bears a resemblance to opening your front door to the religious.
    The latter think your life, the world is the pits, that your religion presumes an afterlife and your God created the earth. [There are religions with large followings which do not include these].
    Linux OS zealots likewise assume that your own computing is like theirs. ie you don’t do video editing to tight deadlines, place a real priority on double-entry bookkeeping or have limited a staff-training budget. Well that’s not me – nor most people.
    [The Flat-Earth Society people are different. They *know* they're out there alone!].
    This blog has called upon our conscience besides our OS loyalties:
    Please *do* listen to your gf’s needfor a life. If she’s interested in design/accounting/a job she might wonder why she gets rejected because she doesn’t know the software specified in the job requirements.
    A modern woman won’t put up with a man who’ll make her decisions for her.

  • http://www.livinginx.com LivingInX

    Steve: What are you on? She is getting diversity. He isn’t forcing her to use it.

    Wayne:
    Any updates as to how her setup is treating her?

  • Pingback: State of Affairs: The Linux Girlfriend Project - Two Months In The Trenches | fsckin w/ linux

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