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.
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.