, I made the switch last October and haven't looked back. I feel more productive in my operating environments than ever before. A big part was the realization that almost every app I was using during the day also had either a Linux version (OpenOffice, RAR, Filezilla, VLC media player, Shredder Chess, XnView, Gimp, Nero, Firefox/Opera, my favorite fonts, Kompozer, Skype, lots of game that 'I' play, Super Flexible File Synchronizer, etc.) or had become webware staples like Gmail, Internet Chess Club, and apps like Veign offers. The only one was NewsLeecher, and even it runs well under WINE, a Windows compatibility layer for Linux that allows many Windows applications to run as if they were native Linux software.
So I looked around and asked myself: why am I still paying for and running Windows when I don't need to? I've put in over 20 years on various Microsoft OSes and I've definitely earned the right to try something new. I dual-booted for a while, but then used an older machine to test a dozen distros and really enjoyed the process of getting to know them. xubuntu is a fine choice, for instance. Like you, I love Xfce — it's functional, attractive, and efficiently minimalist.However,
understand that Linux is a different animal, a unix-like animal. And before Bill Gates came along and changed a few things (such as using backslashes instead of forward slashes), it was the way computing was done. And much like learning a foreign language, immersion makes a big difference. As for walking up to an Ubuntu machine and being able to click away, you're not too far from that with its deep online support; use Google (or Google Groups) and find your answer in a millisecond. Do that enough times and you'll remember the solution just like you have in Windows.
I now boot Linux (Mint 5) on the new machine and keep Vista relegated to an older machine that I rarely turn on now. I surf the web, burn discs, listen to music, play games, analyze data, write letters, watch movies, and download pictures. That's basically what I do on a computer each day, sometimes I do more. Here's a good tip. Buy your hardware from a place like Newegg.com
and read the customer feedback sections. They'll tell you whether a particular videocard or printer works with Linux or specifically provides Linux drivers. That will save a few headaches. Vista users got to experience that same headache for some hardware that companies like HP, who wouldn't write many drivers for the OS before SP1.
Finally, here's some cool sites that will prove highly useful (and informative about open source and open standards):Tips for Linux ExplorersThe Linux TutorialBob Sutor, Open blogGlyn Moody
The bottom line is that, while Linux is a mature and fully functional desktop OS, the process of migrating away from Windows is complex and should not be undertaken lightly. An effective migration strategy must set realistic goals, plan contingencies, and be flexible enough to change direction in the event of unforeseen roadblocks. Making the break from proprietary software vendors isn't easy, and that's by design
. Open source developers have made the first critical steps for you. Now it's up to you to take it the rest of the way.