while at my sister's place a couple weeks back my brother-in-law, mark, asked about linux and if we could install it on his system. at first i thought, "oh man. i'm supposed to be here enjoying myself, i don't know if i want to have to support someone through the process of switching to linux ...." and then i caught myself. i mean, this is 2007 not 1997. if we can't make it now, when can we?
so we downloaded a linux distro (kubuntu), threw another hard drive in his computer and installed it. well, actually, he installed it. then he configured printing, networking and started exploring all the software that was right there. within days he had the family accounts in kmymoney, was playing web games, sharing drives and much more ...
the only thing he needed help from me for was getting multimedia (read: proprietary codec crap) to work (we really, really, really need a solution for the codecs problem; and it needs to be gratis for users and integrated into the distro), to set up gpg-agent so he could cache his password (he'd never used gpg before but discovered it in kmail and decided he wanted that =) and to share his printer over the network with windows machines.
except for the multimedia issue, these aren't overly trivial tasks on any operating system and to be honest, *buntu doesn't make printer management as easy as it can be.
he fell in love with the system. for one, unlike xp which he claimed took a coffee break to boot up, he was at his kde desktop in less than a minute. for another, there was all that great software. and he was doing everything he was doing on windows (he couldn't get print sharing to work reliably there either, btw =).
i saw him installing the system updates every day they were available and he really dug the idea that there was all this really great software to use at his disposal. he ended up spending more than a couple nights up late playing with things.
but best of all: he didn't ask me how to do this-or-that trivial thing. he just point-and-clicked his way around to his satisfaction. i overheard him a couple times telling some of his friends and workmates who came by the house about how cool this new operating system was. =)
it isn't 1997 anymore, indeed.