Yes We Can 🙂
Not long ago, it was only “tech” people who wanted – or tried – to run Linux as their personal computer operating system. Things are different now.
I was committed to finding an alternative to Windows shortly into the new millennium. Back then it was a complicated, frustrating process; so much so I couldn’t do it. I would install one distribution after another, then end up going back to Windows in frustration. Microsoft kept encouraging me though. Their OS was just horrible enough that I did not give up. Finally I read an article about Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu. My first try at installing and using Ubuntu was a game-changer! I could actually see myself using Linux full-time.
Then came Linux Mint, a desktop distro based on Ubuntu and Debian that checked all my boxes and is a pure joy to use. Without getting into too much history or tech, if you want something that has the familiarity of XP or Win7 without the frustration, try Linux Mint. For surfing, paying bills, record keeping, communication, website administration, and more, you will likely need no other OS.
If you actually like a shotgun blast of icons for navigation similar to a cell phone, then you might prefer the Ubuntu distro over Linux Mint. If you are more comfortable with logical text based cascading menus like the older versions of Windows, then you’ll prefer Mint. I’m old school in that regard. (It seems much more comfortable to drill down through text-labeled categories rather than scan through dozens or hundreds of identically sized, similar unlabeled icons to find specific functionality. Or worse yet – use a search interface!
While this is all peachy, for me there is still a need for Windows on occasion. I work part time editing video and images, and there are two programs written for windows that I need, so I keep copies of XP and Win7 running on virtual machines to do that work. To do this in the past I have installed dual boot systems so that I can boot into either Linux or Windows and it has been flawless.
This is really the easiest route to using both systems for most people. If you have a Win7 machine, or even an old Vista or XP machine, just pop in a live Linux Mint DVD, restart, and try out the OS. If you decide you like it, the installer will walk you through installing a dual boot environment. The Linux Mint forums are there to answer most any questions you may have before diving in.
Also, it’s a really good idea to save your data to an external drive just in case!