Sunday, August 17, 2008

SSC #73 Time to face the change

Change can be a stressful thing.  And fear of change can be a big factor in whether or not a person will embrace something new.  Much in the same way that people can manage hold onto an abusive relationship for years on end, despite myriads of people telling them they should leave, people still continue to use an operating system that abuses their trust.

While Linux hasn't exactly permeated our culture, bashing Microsoft and complaining about Windows seems to be something that is so widespread that its a wonder there isn't an Olympic event.  If there were, I'm sure I'd have more medals than Michael Phelps.  Its commonly agreed upon that Windows is not all it is cracked up to be.  The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) error screen has been integrated into pop culture to the point where people take snapshots of it in the oddest of places. Just search google images for BSOD and you'll see the most famous error screen of all time on those giant screens at Times Square, even at the Olympics torch lighting ceremony.  

We can all agree, pretty much without reservation, that Microsoft Windows is bad.  Its buggy, its full of security holes that viruses just slip right through, there are hidden "features" that compromise your computer's security and allow outside agencies to snoop on your machine.  There are a lot of problems, but still people refrain from changing.  The bruises still haven't healed from the last time Windows came in drunk, reeking of viruses, emailed all your friends to tell them about some shady stock tips and crashed on the coffee table destroying all your files.  But people just aren't brave enough to put their foot down and kick Windows to the curb.

Life with Linux IS different.  It is a change.  And I'll be honest, for many people its very uncomfortable at first.  The more you know about Windows, the more you'll feel out of place when you get rid of it.  The icons don't look the same, the menus are different, you may not be able to use your favorite programs.  You could be the most knowledgeable Windows geek in fifty miles, and when you boot into Linux for the first time, you'll feel like a complete moron.  This is natural.  This is change.

The less you know about Windows, the easier the transition is.  But if you are a Windows power user, you've likely built up some skills that deal with finding information.  While a switching from being a Windows noobie to a Linux noobie isn't that uncomfortable, they're still noobies when all is said and done.  They have simple needs and so long as these needs are met, they're happy.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  I don't subscribe to the philosophy that everyone needs to be a computer genius.  Not knowing is ok.  But it won't feel okay for a Windows power user.  Transitioning will be slower.  There's much more to relearn.  Many more skills that need to be translated.  But speaking as a Windows power user who has taken the time and effort to make the switch, it is so totally worth it.  There is help in abundance.  The internet is quite actually teeming with support.  From IRC chat channels to online forums to community LUG meetings, the answers to your questions are out there.  And you can use the informational search skills that you've built up in the Windows world to steadily increase your Linux knowlege and slowly wean yourself from Windows one application, one neat hack, one cool trick at a time.

By the time this reaches print there will be less than a month until Software Freedom Day.  On September 20th I invite anyone and everyone to come down and give Linux a try.  Whether you're a power user or not, we will customize Linux to your needs.  We will make sure you know where to get help.  Change IS frightening, but you won't be alone.  You won't have to worry about viruses or BSOD's anymore.  You'll be free from the abusive relationship you've had with Windows in the past and you can start to enjoy your computer without all of the fear and uncertainty that many of you have come to accept as just part of owning a computer.  Its a new day.  Be free and enjoy it.

If you live in Russell County or the surrounding areas and you need help fixing your computer, give me a call at (606) 219-4088 to set up an appointment.

If you have a question or comment, feel free to email me at

If you'd like to read my past articles, browse to

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