Yeah, so I ripped the title off Star Wars, so what? emoticon

About three weeks ago (I think… I lose track of dates eas­i­ly) on a Sat­ur­day I got a rather fran­tic call from my old friend Reaper. Here’s the Hol­ly­wood ver­sion (for your read­ing plea­sure):

Reaper: “Aaargh! I’ve screwed up my hard dri­ve and my com­put­er is now use­less! I have an appoint­ment to have cable Inter­net installed on Tues­day and I need a work­ing sys­tem so that the tech­ni­cian can install every­thing. Can I bring my com­put­er to your house so you can take a look at it? Help me Yama, you’re my only hope.”
Me: “You may, my min­ion. I know all. You may bow and kiss my ring.”
Reaper: “Yes, my Liege! Thank you, Lord!”

*ahem* Well it went some­thing like that, any­way.

About an hour lat­er, Reaper shows up at my house with com­put­er in tow. He some­how man­aged to kill his par­ti­tion table, and after much fid­dling I final­ly man­aged to fix it using gpart and (GNU/Linux) fdisk. He need­ed a copy of Win­dows installed for the cable guy, so I chucked on Win2K (which sadly/humorously is the best MS prod­uct since OS/2). To bal­ance this out, I installed Man­drake 9.0.

Reaper is a Win­dows user, so I tried to make his Win­dows expe­ri­ence as non-MS (for both secu­ri­ty and eth­i­cal rea­sons) as pos­si­ble. OpenOffice.org and Mozil­la are not only very capa­ble appli­ca­tions (and IMHO are bett­ter than their MS coun­ter­parts), they also have direct equiv­a­lents in GNU/Linux. So the only thing keep­ing him in Win­dows is Win­dows itself. Reaper is a games play­er, but I think WineX can fill that void nice­ly. Of course, KDE is great for Win­dows con­verts.

I think a Win­dows to GNU/Linux tran­si­tion is best achieved in two stages (to sim­pli­fy the process). In the first stage, the user weans himself/herself off pro­pri­etary (par­tic­u­lar­ly Microsoft) appli­ca­tions. In their place, open alter­na­tives like Mozil­la and OpenOffice.org are adopt­ed. Once the user has grown accus­tomed to those pro­grammes, they can make a tran­si­tion to GNU/Linux (or BSD, Mac OS X, etc.). The apps stay the same, and only the OS changes. The whole process can take place over a pro­longed peri­od, and the user is free to switch back and forth (dual-boot) between oper­at­ing sys­tems.

Reaper, I know you’ll read this soon­er or lat­er, so tell us what you think. Am I talk­ing junk or am I talk­ing junk? 🙂

Update: Reaper messed up his hard dri­ve when using Par­ti­tion Mag­ic 8. Yet anoth­er rea­son not to trust pro­pri­etary soft­ware, I guess.

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