Yesterday on Datamation, Matt Hartley wrote what could best be described as a reminder piece about the folks using Windows XP at home or in small businesses having options when it comes to replacing that particular operating system, and that the best option — go ahead and say it with me — is Linux.
Hartley mentions an adequate lineup of distros — Linux Mint, Ubuntu MATE, PCLinuxOS, and Puppy Linux (okay, for the really old machines, I’ll go with that one) — but in the wide world of Linux, there are more. Several more. Okay, maybe more than several more.
I understand that Matt may not have wanted to get bogged down in a distro food fight, and while I enjoy that as much as the next guy or gal, I’m not looking to hurl edible projectiles either. But I don’t shy away from it either.
Starting with the simple premise — lost on some FOSS elitists (and you know who you are) — that most Windows XP users are actually people of average intelligence or better, and not digital Neanderthals who need to be shown where the on-button is, the path from Windows XP to Linux is somewhat simple.
The key here — drumroll, please — is offering something familiar to those taking this significant digital step. Bear in mind the fact that familiarity is a plus does not stem from the assumption that folks do not want to try new things. For those who wish to try desktops like GNOME and Unity — and even ready-for-prime-time desktops like those on Elementary OS or Bodhi Linux (to say nothing of a variety of window managers) — they’re certainly welcome to knock themselves out.
That’s why first on my list to expand the Datamation article’s is any distro with either the Xfce, MATE or Cinnamon desktop environments. This would include Xubuntu, Korora, Manjaro or any other distro with these desktops available on them. They essentially look and work like what most folks are used to on older Windows versions. That’s a good thing, not a knock.
Next, we can take this a step further: Let’s go to KDE-based distros as well, which come in the cast-of-thousands variety. The reason I didn’t start here is because all the bells and whistles that come with KDE — too numerous to mention here — are both a blessing and a curse. The upside is that no stone is left unturned in providing a user quality software, but the downside is that when one of these bells and/or whistles fails to work properly — and it does happen, especially on older hardware (voice of experience here, in three-part harmony) — and brings down parts or all of the system, it doesn’t paint a good picture of Linux to the new user.
So, boys and girls, here’s the question of the day: If you had to convert and XP user to Linux, which distro would you provide them with? Don’t be shy — put your answers in the comments below.
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