To Linux or Not To Linux – That Is The Question

I had friend ask what it would take, for him to move to Linux. He was having some problems with his Windows XP system and was tired of the aggravation. I decided to go take a look at his setup and see if he was a good candidate.

The first thing I did was ask why he wanted to change from XP. He said that with all of the recent electrical storms he was disconnecting his PC to protect it. When he reconnected it, it had forgotten the date and time and his security package was no longer working.

Ok, first things first. The loss of memory had nothing to do with Windows XP, but indicated that the CMOS battery on the motherboard was dead. That needed to be replaced, no matter what we decided about Linux.

Most people are afraid to open up a PC case. Fixing the battery problem can be done by just about anyone. You just have to know that the battery is going to be located some where on the motherboard and all motherboards, that I know of, use the same battery. It is a flat battery that is a little smaller than a nickel. The battery cost me $2.00.

Replacing the battery took care of the memory loss problem. Don’t you wish we humans could just go get a new battery and our memory would be refreshed? Ah, if human maintenance were so simple.

Now moving on to the second problem. He said he had purchased the security program from a local PC service person. When I looked, the program was Avast (a good anti-virus in my opinion), however, it is free with a simple download on the Internet. My friend had the free version on his PC and somehow the continuous power loss had messed up the anti-virus program and it would not initialize and update.

I downloaded a new copy of Avast, removed the old one, and installed the new one. Avast sent my friend a registration number, which I inserted into Avast and it was now happy. I have to assume that the local service person was charging for time and gas to install the program and not the program itself. As I said, it is free.

Now for the analysis of Linux on this PC. My concern, would be that my friend was comfortable with the operation of his programs on XP. He understood how to use his scanner and all procedures were understood.

I believe that I could have installed openSUSE and gotten it to recognize all of the hardware. I don’t believe the printer would have been a problem, but the Visioneer scanner would have required some research and most likely the one-button scan process would have worked much differently, requiring some education to use. The system would have been much more reliable and much more secure, but there would have been trade offs.

The peripherals that usually require the most time will be, printers that are not HP or Canon. Scanners also may require some effort to get set up. Some web cams are easier than others. In this case, I felt it was better to remove the current problems, my friend was having, and not change the operating environment.

What I find to be a shame is that there are too many people that will take advantage of those that are not computer literate. If the service person included a charge for the anti-virus and not just service time, I consider that unethical. I agree that if you can do something that others can’t, then the cost will be higher than what you would pay for having a ditch dug. However, the delineated cost should reflect accurately, what you are paying for. In this case, my friend understood that the service person was the local sales rep for the software and he had getten something special. For the software that was installed, that was a misrepresentation.

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