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When Peer Pressure Nukes Linux for Windows

Ed Matthews

A grandson was happy with the flame throwing hot rod Linux gaming computer that his grandfather had built — until peer pressure came into play.

It’s Sunday evening and I’m in my daughter’s kitchen. My grandson and I have taken over the table with the computer I built for him, the family’s desktop, his laptop, and my laptop.

I have read multiple sources in the newsgroup saying that Windows is much, much easier to install and configure than Linux. Some people say those guys are trolls. Whatever. I need one of those sources to meet me in my daughter’s kitchen in the lower left corner of Missouri, USA, to show me how to finish installing Windows 7 on my grandson’s computer.


Several months ago, my 16-year-old grandson decided he wanted a powerful computer for gaming. I showed him Steam and some other stuff in Linux and he thought that looked good, so I started accumulating parts. If it was substantially more powerful than anything I have for myself, it was on the list. Sorry I don’t have the details list nearby, but it had a motherboard with a name I had heard, a fairly fast AMD processor with six cores, maxed out RAM, 1TB hard drive, video that took up two slots and had two fans, power supply you could use for welding, and a pair of 22″ monitors.

I installed Mint 17.3 KDE in less than half an hour (the usual), including separate swap and home partitions (it’s a neurotic thing), setting wallpaper and the like, and doing whatever came to mind at the time. It ran flawlessly and I was happy, so I played with it a while. I really liked it. If I could think of a use, I’d build one for myself.

Delivered it early in December. Three weeks passed. My daughter called. It wouldn’t connect to the Internet. That was strange. It connected fine when I was installing Mint. I was going to their town anyway, so I arrived early.

Picture my daughter’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon: my grandson and I have taken over the entire table with the computer I built for him (cover removed), the family’s desktop, his laptop, and my Mint 17.3 KDE laptop. If you’re going to eat, find a TV tray.

The computer I built for him? Somebody convinced hims he needed an Intel processor, so he bought an open box motherboard on eBay or Amazon or somewhere. No docs and no CD. Found an I5 processor somewhere. The new board wouldn’t take the RAM from the other board, so he bought RAM. Has ordered new video. What’s bad is I assembled a fairly nice toolbox and tools for him a while back. I’m sorry. He should not be allowed to have screwdrivers. No, this isn’t the computer I built for him.

Some gamers he met were running that other OS, so he decided he needed it too. He wiped the Mint 17.3 from the drive and started installing Windows 7 on Saturday afternoon. He got it to light up and boot into Windows. Nice. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t connect to the Internet — or do anything else for that matter. Wouldn’t give any information a mere mortal could understand about anything. Call Granddaddy.

The Ethernet driver was missing from the Device Mangler. In fact, there were yellow triangles everywhere, with essentially no drivers for anything. It somehow was running very default video. Okay, if we can get it online, Windows can find its own drivers. I read that somewhere. Really easy, I understand.

I had a USB thumb drive with Mint 17.3 in my laptop bag, so we booted the new computer from it. It ran beautifully and snappy fast, on the thumb drive — even going online via the Ethernet cable without requiring a prompt from us. Grandson found a pencil and paper and we ran lsusb and lside so he could write stuff I told him to write.

Fired up my Mint 17.3 laptop, went to Intel’s website, and downloaded the Ethernet driver for his computer. Copy it onto the thumb drive and we’ll be flying!

Oops! His computer can’t find the thumb drive. No USB drivers. A brainless…er, driverless Windows can only read a hard drive or CD. Grandson found a blank CD, so back to my laptop and K3B to put the Ethernet driver on the disk. Put the CD in the new machine, pointed the Device Mangler to it, and in five minutes or so the network was working. Well, if you ignore a 10-15 second delay between clicking the mouse and seeing any action on the screen. Grandson used his laptop to go online and somebody told him to let it do its updates.

Okay, get the updates started and it’s going to all be automatic. Everybody says how much easier Windows is than Linux. Smooth sailing from now on.

Start the update process. Thirty seconds later: “Windows Update cannot search for updated drivers. Windows Update has encountered an unknown error. Get help on this error?”

It was time to change the topic by going out to eat. My daughter and her husband had a meeting at church, so I was elected to take grandson and granddaughter to supper.

On the way, I asked my grandson about his laptop. He had bought a fairly nice used Asus “gaming laptop” — headphones with boom mike, fancy mouse, and all that — running Windows 10 quite a while back and was using it for online games. He didn’t remember the laptop details other than 8GB RAM, a bunch of cores and a 1TB drive. He was going to sell it after the new computer was running.

“So, what antivirus are you using?”

Deathly silence.

More deathly silence.

“I’m not running an antivirus.”

On a Windows computer that has online games as its only use?

We were halfway to the restaurant, but the car slowed down all by itself. It didn’t stop, but if this had been anybody’s grandchild but mine he might still be walking and very hungry.


On the plus side, I’m getting back the motherboard, RAM, processor, and video from the computer I built, so I can build a nice computer for somebody. Or myself. Whatever. Maybe I can find a pirate copy of Windows 10 somewhere, because I hear Windows is so much easier…


  1. juan juan January 16, 2017

    Yes, take your parts back, let him become a grown man and fix all those easy to solve Windows issues he is having. That way he can go back to be a little child and learn how to shot at stuff on a screen.

    Sadly that is the state of computing.

  2. Fabs Fabs January 16, 2017

    There is Windows 10 ISO in evaluation for a month on MS site
    If you really want to try it

  3. Mike Mike January 16, 2017

    Windows is complete crap, but you have to let each person find that out for themselves.

    Building a PC for a someone just getting into gaming and putting Linux on it…I can see how that could end up the way it did. Most gamers run Windows and a large number of games are Windows only. There are a lot of great games on Linux (and some truly great FOSS games), but the pressure to run Windows, especially for someone not prepared to choose Linux for moral/security/privacy reasons, is probably too much to resist.

    Just like giving up Netflix or Steam due to a dislike of DRM, giving up on the larger pool of users/games on Windows has to be a reasoned decision. Trying to decide for someone else typically won’t have the results you would like.

    The best you can do is point out why closed source software like Windows is inferior and dangerous to your freedom compared to Linux. Let them make up their own mind. At least you tried to help.

  4. Hyperion1337 Hyperion1337 January 17, 2017

    I have 3 or 4 Windows licences and I even have one on a SSD. Everytime I use windows 10 it crashes my Linux SSD superblock and I have to run Fsck to fix it.
    Also I have a “Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Sound Card” and Windows 10 can’t see it and drivers are not supported. Linux everything just works.
    You have to use a Pirated copy of Windows 10 to get a up-to-date version with all updates integrated, if you want the install to take less than 8 hours (Normally 8 or 9 reboots and 450+ updates). Linux 15-20 mins then run 1 command in terminal for all the programs I use “sudo apt install bla bla bla”. No need to reboot, just use it.

  5. Shawn Hicks Shawn Hicks January 17, 2017

    I have been building and configuring computers since the mid 80s. Computers today are just like cars, a commodity. You can invest as much or as little time as you wish getting things working or tuning for performance. Cars used to be carbureted and have 4 wheel drum brakes, computers used to have dip switches, jumpers and trim pots. It all worked, but wasn’t as easy to maintain. Now you just buy the system (or car) that meets your needs, with the operating system (trim package) that you like. If you try installing a different os, it may not work well because there is poor or no driver support for a given piece of hardware. I have used and supported most commercial operating systems and computers in my 30 year career, intel, apple, sun, dec, etc. and embedded systems. I have to say that if you want to have something that just works, buy it as you like it. If you want to be an enthusiast and choose the individual parts, you choose the os then pick parts that work best with that os. Also, most consumers today never experience installing an os, nor should they have to; I used to attend linux “install festivals” because everyone needed help getting it to work. There are a few YouTube channels that go to great lengths to demonstrate old hardware and the os that went with, I’m glad those times have passed. Computers work so well today that the enthusiasm has shifted to aesthetics far beyond function.

  6. Mwamba Natanga Mwamba Natanga January 17, 2017

    My approach to this kind of situations is: “You decide by yourself. If you are happy with your operating system, stick to it. If you have problems with your operating system, I am more than willing to help, provided that it has got ‘Linux’ in its name. If it hasn’t, I can’t help you. It’s not because I hate other OSes, it’s because I don’t know anything about them. You decide.”

  7. YY YY January 17, 2017

    Yes, there is this (small) possibility that Windows installs more easily on a computer. To be precise, that specific OEM DVD with the corresponding PC/Laptop it came delivered with. This is the reason people often mistake the ‘ease’ of installing Windows. However, take an OEM PC/laptop with the corresponding Linux DVD and Linux still install far easier.
    In almost all other situations Linux installs far far easier with much more hardware.
    One advice, though, next time give the kid a GNOME desktop. I know I know, this may give a lot of discussions but the effect on (younger, less conservative) people of a GNOME desktop is the same when people saw the OSX desktop the first time. Its beauty and revolutionary new and different way of working along with the bling often has an awesome effect on them. I’ve literally had persons saying that they’ll never want to use anything else anymore. It has also a much less complex/fuzzy structure for finding or doing stuff. For non-techs, that’s a must 🙂
    Nowadays I use openSUSE Leap Gnome when installing it somewhere.

    Anyway, you can be sure one day your grandson will be back. With his computer infested with viruses and other malware. Just install Linx then and don’t say “I told you so” because this is the way youngsters learn and it’s their right to make mistakes 😉

  8. JF Messier JF Messier January 17, 2017

    I will not BASH Windows (pun intended), others do it very well. However, I will remain on the positive side and really hope that you will continue using Linux (one flavor or another) from now on and stay on the road to freedom of choice. Such freedom is important today, in a world where control over people is becoming more and more important, where all those corporate systems will somehow spy on you and will force you to spend only more and more money on products that you just do not care about.

  9. Concerned Concerned January 17, 2017

    Ed I feel your pain.

    I’m on the other side of your perspective Ed, My grandparents raised me. My grandfather was a Radio Ham, and obviously being exposed to electronics, DYI project builds, computers and other fascinating tech, he handed me my first PC when I was 10 years old. We started with win 3.11 and when we could afford it we got Windows 95. He let me do with it as I please and man, I re-installed Windows a few times a week after messing it up. After a while his friends would ask for help over the radio and I was able to assist them.

    We had games on there back then, but I was not interested in those things. I wanted to know more but these days kids are handed devices that have Operating systems built-in if I can say it like that. All they want to do is play games, non-constructive games.

    My brother in law spends hours playing games and when something goes wrong I’m the first he phones.

    I would have consulted my Gramps on everything since his view was respected yet these days, the peer pressure causes most of our kids to derail with all the nonsense they see on Youtube and misinformation provided by peers. No research, the word of another is Gospel.

    How did we land up here, when did it become acceptable to believe people that advertise wrapping a wire twice around your ADSL line will increase the speed 100 fold?

    I have seen many youngsters loosing direction in life due to spending hours playing games.


  10. Mike Mike January 17, 2017


    > “I have seen many youngsters loosing direction in life due to spending hours playing games.”

    Don’t worry about it. I’ve played more games (console and computer) than most people could tolerate and yet I turned out fine (by most accounts).

    If they haven’t found their direction yet, it isn’t due to games. Games will occupy them in a much better way than some other alternatives. Games also can teach, and lead to interest in other topics (modding and level creation can lead to and interest in programming, digital modeling, artwork, music, etc.)

  11. Collin Collin January 17, 2017

    The kid got himself into it, and will only learn by having to fix it himself. We do no justice to anyone by trying to fix things, especially when Windows isn’t our cup of tea. And the only way anyone learns is to screw something up and have to fix it himself or herself. I can deal with Windows, have to for clients, but outside of that? Sorry – I don’t know anything about Windows, I tell everyone else. Figure it out yourself, google what you need to know and have a nice day… lol…

  12. Jo-Anne Jo-Anne January 17, 2017

    In those beginnings, ALWAYS make a dualboot my friend. Because Windows is an addiction only few can cold turkey.
    In time, Windows will always self-destruct while the Linux alternative will be used more and more. Until its superiority is recognized. THAT is the moment of liberation and freedom. THAT is the second birth 😀

  13. Daniel Hill Daniel Hill January 17, 2017

    Yes I see a few mistakes here, AMDs 6 cores are pretty slow, video games want high IPC and only scale to about 4 cores, a haswell or Skylake is much faster, Zen is proposed to catch up with Haswell, and maybe AMD will show some profit for the first time in sereval years.

    On the GPU front two fans and two slots is pretty common on entry level GPUs, generally a one size fits all setup for the 60w to 250w range of GPUs, drivers by both AMD and Nvidia seem second rate on Linux,

    Even companies like Valve (who run Steam) tend two push buggy patches in games like Dota 2, other Games like Doom haven’t seen a Linux release yet, dispite history of Linux support.

    and VR is not happening even on SteamOS.

    Nor can you find the plethora of classic games that will even run outside of windows.

    I’ve setup windows on sereval machines and never had issues with Internet not working, and basic accelerated video support running at 1920×1200, you have to update driver on both OSS if you want to game though. Perhaps you had the wrong isn’t all disk, these days MS provides free downloads of the retail ISO on there site.

    Your USB drive not working is possibly because you choose the wrong file system, windows only supports vfat, exfat and NTFS.

    No doubt Linux has some unique features, but gaming isn’t one of them.

    Without huge backing from a company who want to commit to long term support (supporting all ~4000 steams back catalogue) for wine, and a DX8/9/10/11 driver sitting on top of Vulkan for respectable performance.

  14. Mike Mike January 17, 2017

    “Nor can you find the plethora of classic games that will even run outside of windows.”

    Classic games tend to run fine under Linux via emulators.

    “No doubt Linux has some unique features, but gaming isn’t one of them.”

    That’s a huge generalization, and not particularly accurate. Gaming has been making huge strides on Linux the last few years. Windows is losing its edge even here, as it struggles to maintain its 30-year near monopoly.

    “Without huge backing from a company who want to commit to long term support”

    This isn’t needed. All that’s needed are decent open standards like Vulkan et al, to drive forward development in place of crappy proprietary stacks like DirectX.

  15. Eddie G. Eddie G. January 17, 2017

    AS far as this situation goes. After removing all my hard work and time and effort put into building a gaming rig, you’d be on your own, relative or not. And it’s actually happened to me. My youngest brother coming to me to help his ailing HP laptop, I installed Linux Mint with the MATE desktop environment on it. But because he couldn’t get it to play nice with his then new PS4 he decided to blow away the installation and install Windows 7 on it. Within four or five days he had no choice but to throw the laptop in the garage to collect dust, because it was so bogged down with viruses malware and antivirus programs telling him they discovered like 2,000 so-called potential threats. He would boot up and it would take over 30 MINUTES to load all the way! He went out and bought more laptops all running Windows 10, but I don’t badger him to switch, some hardware just isn’t built for Linux….and in the same way…..some people just aren’t built for Linux. They won’t ever grasp the concept, they feel suspicious or afraid that they’re breaking the law, they feel that they should be able to do everything they did in the Windows world in exactly the same way. So yeah….some folks aren’t going to be able to use Linux due to their OWN ignorance and not because of any flaw or defect coming from Linux itself. Understand, I’m not a fanboy, but I’ve been using Linux since 2003/’04 and it has NOT let me down yet! Even through the times I’ve completely hosed my system due to entering a command wrong, or not paying attention to where you place that period! But it taught me things that I would never learn using a Windows machine. Here’s to hoping your grandson gets wise and goes BACK to Linux.

  16. Nonya Nonya January 17, 2017

    Sadly, far too many people believe the hype that Windows is better for gaming than Linux. This may have been true in the past, but is just no longer true. Some friends and I get together and play games over LAN about once a week. All of us but one use Linux Mint(KDE). The one stubborn hold-out is running Windows 7. Mainly he does not want to have to learn to use a different OS. While we tease him a little, we respect his decision to stick to Windows 7. He is adamant that Windows 10 will never get near his computer.

    I used to run Windows. All of the way back to 3.11, through 95, 98, XP, and Windows 7. I skipped ME and Vista, not being an early adopter, and am glad that I did. Until recently, the desktop machine that am writing this on was set up to dual boot Windows 7 and Linux Mint(KDE). I removed Windows 7 when I realized that I had not booted into it for more than 6 months!

    On this machine and my 2 gaming laptops, all of the hardware just works in Linux. The HP Laserjet 1505n worked after I installed the driver in CUPS, but kept asking for a plugin. That was easily installed via the HPLIP printer utility. I really can’t say if the FireWire works or not, having no devices that can use it.

    Installation takes about an hour here, when you include updates, and the extra programs that I install. Installing Linux is far easier than any Windows install that I have ever done. No having to look for and download drivers, and no spyware either!

  17. Sven Sven January 17, 2017

    Well, being a UNIX/Linux user for more than 25 years now can I still admit when Windows is better at something. It still is better at gaming than Linux. If it’s then your dumbass brother who build the PC or your beloved grandfather won’t change the fact that gaming on Windows is still the better choice. You have got to stay realistic. You are talking about computers and aren’t telling fairy tales to your grand children here.

    And by the way, Windows Home isn’t that expensive that one has to pirate it, you know? Microsoft employees have families, too, and they need the money for their children just as much as anybody else. Not sure what kind of values you are teaching your grandchildren with such a sentiments. It’s a bit shameful, isn’t it?

    To appreciate Linux means more than to just hate Windows. Perhaps learn to understand both. It will impress your grandchild more than being disappointed at the choices it makes and then wanting to fix it by stealing Windows …

  18. Mike Mike January 17, 2017


    It’s pretty obvious the author wasn’t being serious about pirating Windows. He was being sarcastic regarding the supposed ease of Windows installation.

    > “It still is better at gaming than Linux.”

    If you don’t mind your machine treating you like a criminal by taking away fair use rights to games you legally purchased, then sure Windows has some advantages due to the sheer number of released games.

    If you care about your freedom, then Windows is a horrible alternative. There are plenty of good games that work superbly on Linux, many of them FOSS. Video, sound and input differences between the platforms are negligible when developed properly, leaving only the sheer volume of games as Windows’ sole advantage.

    I have more games on Linux than I could possibly ever finish, so giving up Windows hasn’t resulted in any loss to me. I just play different games (in some cases) than people using Windows.

  19. W. Anderson W. Anderson January 17, 2017

    This article serves no informative or logical purpose on benefits and/or disadvantages of a Linux versus Windows gaming computer.

    The convoluted commentary to the concept of building a computer from various – mostly used?? – components purchased over EBay is ludicrous, considering the drastic warranty, reliability, absense of technical support documentat/drivers, and questional professional technical support issues (for Linux install) that are guaranteed to be a disaster.

    If the idea of story was to promote Windows over Linux for this project, then it is a fail, by absense of reasonable and intelligent detail on all relevant issues.

    FOSSForce really needs to get better technology journalistic sources.

  20. Mike Mike January 17, 2017

    @W. Anderson

    > “This article serves no informative or logical purpose on benefits and/or disadvantages of a Linux versus Windows gaming computer.”

    Well duh, because that’s not what it’s about.

    > “guaranteed to be a disaster”

    Actually from the article, the Linux machine worked fine.

    The story was about pressure from peers on a young-ish gamer to choose a similar gaming system, i.e. Windows. This is a real thing and every bit as worthy of an article has the pros/cons of building a gaming rig with a given OS. Sheesh.

  21. looneyx looneyx January 17, 2017

    Peer Pressure, I thought that was part of the linux training manual.
    You guys are hilarious, and very sad.

  22. Mike Mike January 17, 2017


    >”You guys are hilarious, and very sad.”

    Speaking of hilarious and sad…thanks for providing an example.

  23. Luiz Luiz January 18, 2017

    I still dual boot, we have plenty of games on linux, but not all the I want to play, simple.
    and not talking about the quality of the ports, I hope when vulkan dominate I can just erase windows for good.
    To make it clear, I only dual boot to play, to everything I just use my arch linux.

  24. jelabarre59 jelabarre59 January 18, 2017

    I can certainly say the suggestions of “dual boot” have an added advantage; when your hardware starts to crap out, you can use a dual-boot configuration to verify that. My brother’s machine has been getting progressively worse about freezing and outright locking up for no apparent reason. I had thought perhaps a problem with MSWin7 or the HDD, so I put in a new HDD, and a fresh MSWin install. Still bad. Eventually set it to boot to the Mint18 partition by default, (have it pointing to his documents on the MSW partition, and email is configured with IMAP). So guess what: periodic lockups, sometimes 3 or 4 times in one day. Last thing to try is a Radeon video card (thinking the trouble *may* have started when the onboard video quit, and I put in an NVidia card). If it’s still bad then, it’s off to get a whole new machine (he’ll just have to deal with it having MSW10).

  25. Sum Yung Gai Sum Yung Gai January 18, 2017

    Yeah, I hear that all the time, too…”Windows is easy!”

    Oh…really? Does that explain the plethora of curse words I heard with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 when they came out? Heh…people essentially have to relearn how to use Microsoft Windows.

    The author’s experiences are very similar to my own when not dealing with an OEM disk specifically intended for that hardware, a’la Dell or whatever. I build all my own PC’s and have for years. Installing Microsoft Windows on them wasn’t too hard with Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 9x. However, ever since Vista, versions of Microsoft Windows just don’t play nicely out-of-the-box with standard PC builds anymore. Nothing fancy, just standard stuff. Can’t get the network driver to connect to the Internet…unless you connect to the Internet! Stuff like that.

    By contrast, on the exact same hardware, GNU/Linux distros install and work just fine.


  26. tracyanne tracyanne January 18, 2017

    A bit off subject but.

    While using a Windows operating system, you may be plagued with a message that states your Windows is “not genuine.” If you’re using older versions of Windows, the desktop may turn black, a small message at the bottom-right will warn you that it’s not genuine, and you’ll be locked out of viewing the system’s properties. In this case you might be interested in how to fix Windows’ not genuine errors. If this happens to you, there are a few reasons this could have happened.

    1. You’re using a copy of Windows that you downloaded off the Internet for free.
    2. You bought a PC or Windows product key from a seller, and the error message has appeared since first boot.
    3. You bought and used a genuine copy of Windows, but it suddenly claimed it’s not genuine.
    4. The computer’s hardware changed in some way.

    Fixing the “Windows is not genuine” error depends on which of the above categories you fall into.

    I’m so glad I don’t use Windows.

  27. Eddie G. Eddie G. January 18, 2017

    AS far as it goes? I for one will never go back to using Windows again. I’ve settled my debt with them, don’t need to hack or pirate anything they have to offer, not with the plethora of open source alternatives that are out there. And I know there are those who will chirp up immediately about Adobe Photoshop and how GIMP isn’t on the same level, well you know what? I don’t use PhotoShop…for those peopel that do? they can go buy a Windows machine or a Mac and have fun editing all the photos they want. In the world I live in? I much more need a complete office suite that doesn’t cost me anything, but that will be compatible with Microsoft Office. I also need an OS that doesn’t come pre-loaded with all kinds of junk-ware, noe one that spies on me. I need something that won’t crash and give mysterious codes that I have to hunt down in order to know what they even mean, I need a desktop that isn’t so flashy that it makes my computer crawl, I need applications that are intuitive and don’t require me to “Agree” to terms that are 15 pages long…and filled with legal-ese! I need a browser that’s not so much fast as it is reliable, and that won’t freeze up when trying to show HD videos I stream. And finally I need an ON that cannot be infected just by perusing a webpage, or that will allow surreptitious code to be injected into my machine…or that needs 5 different anti-virus / malware programs just to keep me safe. In short, I need Linux. To those who would rather pay to jump through hoops, and who have to scurry around like blind squirrels looking for their EULA documents or their license which fell off the CD case months ago, here’s to wishing you a long, happy life of unnecessary misery!…LOL!

  28. wb7odyFred wb7odyFred January 18, 2017

    Marketing Message for Linux? Seems that the grandson bought the common knowledge message, “Gaming users use MS Windows”.

    What would you meaningfully say in 30 seconds to give a good word for your favorite Linux or BSD Distro? Comment below, please.

    Linux and BSD are garnering new converts daily from MS Windows users tired of experiencing difficulties or problems. We see that in the story line above. Yes,a Windows Gaming experience must be very enjoyable to counter the problems and virus updates necessary to keep your gaming PC free from virus. Maybe Windows Gaming is very addictive to the user to endure the pain and problems.

    So besides “word of mouth” sharing/advertising from a Linux user to a Windows user with existing problems, What advertising avenue exists to show case or give real life examples of moving from Windows to Linux / BSD to eliminate problem areas (like virus or locking up) from a user’s PC experience.
    Countering, I did have one system administrator supporting business Windows PCs, say, “he never had a problem with virus on the PCs he was supporting.” So that made him a “No Sale” to any benefits of moving from Windows to Linux.

    Comment below if you find articles in PC magazines, that give directions for installing Linux? I think I saw one article on “Installing Ubuntu” a few years ago in MaximumPC magazine. Yes a simple web search would find the necessary information to install a Linux Distro.
    Found this Dec 22, 2016 article from PCWorld about using Pixel Desktop on a x86 PC or x86 MAC.
    I believe this type of Magazine article advertising and the RaspberryPi Foundation brand name recognition will do much to inform MS Windows users about the easy availability to test drive Linux on their PC hardware with no changes. If you don’t like the Linux experience, remove the USB Flash drive and reboot back to what you were using before, warts and all. At least you gave Linux a test drive.

    So what information exists in what format (website, magazine article, youtube video) to point people to a solution to their existing MS Windows problems by testing out a Linux Distro: such as or or

    How do you explain/advertise that in a 30 second quote?

    I made that attempt in a much longer format than 30 seconds in this blog post.

    How can I test drive a Linux or BSD Distribution, starting from MS Windows and a USB Flash Drive?
    Install a linux distributions into a USB Flash Drive.
    Boot from that USB Flash Drive.
    Checkout using Linux on your present PC hardware.
    See if you can perform the tasks that you want to do using Linux instead of Windows.

    This is my question. When an individual has problems running Windows, how do they search out/come across a solution that suggests using Linux? Where is the advertising for Linux? Clearly the grandsons friends only say use Windows OS for gaming, and that is what the grandson assign value to (Windows for gaming). Linux, even when shown to work on his PC hardware does not rate as a solution. Where is the advertising for Linux?

    You know Linux works, I know Linux works. But who have you shared about “Linux works” with a neighbor or co-worker lately?

    ps. I read many of the comments left at . Many said “Wow this works. Now Waiting for a version of Pixel OS (Debian 8 Live Linux with persistance to USB Flash Drive) to perform a full hard disk install to their older PC.” My knowledge of using various versions of PuppyLinux, told me that a USB Flash disk installed with PuppyLinux, ran in a Frugal install would suit this user very well. They could use it today! But how does knowledge get transferred to that individual, unless they read about Linux or web search for a solution on running Linux? MS Windows user HowTo for installing PuppyLinux PIXEL Desktop for Puppy Build your own with a simple .PET file install to your running LxPupSC PuppyLinux.

    Thanks for reading. Comment below and enjoy your computer experience choice either Linux or MS Windows.
    pss. I typed this running Raspbian Pixel DE (Debian 8 Live) from a USB Flash drive that I wrote with USB writer utility . Works well I would say. I have been running day & night for 4 days. Has not crashed either. Stable Solid, Even downloaded HexChat IRC application from the internet and installed with out rebooting. HexChat IRC application has been running continuously, too!

  29. Thong N Thong N January 18, 2017

    Let me clear this 1st: Did you check the BIOS settings, make sure the ethernet cable is connected correctly and working?

    Why don’t use the hardware that you got back to help out your gandson? Thats why he call you you, you are that computer guy???

    1) Set up you hardware again.
    2) Google windows 10 usb install.
    3) Go to Microsoft and download the files you needed and read up on how to make a USB drive with their tool.
    Stopping getting pirated versions, this is not helping you…

    4) If yoou have a Win7 Serial number, you can use that to register. They still honors it as an upgrade.

    5) Once everything is install and running, make a system backup before installing anything else.

    6) Practice using your system backup to restore. b) Learn to use Windows Firewall. c) Learn torely on MS Windows Defender.

    7) Since you now have more experince with it, you would be a better help to your grandson.

    Hope this helps,

  30. Thong N Thong N January 18, 2017

    Also, tell your grandson
    1) to go to the library is he want free books, music, and movies. Thats why its there and why we pay taxes. Going to sites that advertise free/pirated stuff will give you virus and etcs.
    2)Stop clicking on popups, and if he get a virus warning to unplug the ethernet 1st from his computer and then do a shutdown.

    I see small company helped by Linux and also where Linux almost destroy.

  31. tracyanne tracyanne January 18, 2017

    @Thong N

    Speaking as someone who has been in a similar position as the article writer.

    When my son decided he wanted Windows in preference to the Linux computer I had given him, he was on his own. As clearly he knows better than me.

  32. Mike Mike January 18, 2017


    The author isn’t pirating Windows. ***It was sarcasm.***

    Windows sucks.

  33. tracyanne tracyanne January 18, 2017

    @Thong N

    >>>Let me clear this 1st: Did you check the BIOS settings, make sure the ethernet cable is connected correctly and working?

    Do you also explain to your Grandmother how to break eggs?

    >>>Why don’t use the hardware that you got back to help out your gandson? Thats why he call you you, you are that computer guy???

    Perhaps because his Grandson seems to think he knows better.

    >>>6) Practice using your system backup to restore. b) Learn to use Windows Firewall. c) Learn to rely on MS Windows Defender.
    >>>7) Since you now have more experince with it, you would be a better help to your grandson.

    You are assuming a hell of a lot here.

    First you are assuming this Grandfather knows very little about computers. Telling him to check BIOS and make sure the network cable is plugged in.

    Second you assume he has never used Windows. It’s probably his experience with Windows that is the reason he uses Linux, so why should he learn to rely on Windows Defender, or any other piece of crap Windows “Security” software, or how to use Windows Backup and Restore (it’s not rocket Science, although Backup and Restore on Linux is more Obvious)

    But lastly, if his grandson isn’t interested in his advice, why in hell should he support his grandson’s decisions? The boy is a teenager, it’s time he took responsibility for them himself.

  34. philnc philnc January 18, 2017

    So. Fact is that Windows dominates in gaming because of momentum and sheer volume. That and driver support. It’s true that you can get Linux up and running on most hardware without having to install third party drivers (in contrast to Windows, which almost always requires additional drivers.

    But if you want access to the advanced features of that new nVidia card, you’re going to have to install they’re proprietary kernel patches. A lot of devices, like most capture cards, don’t have Linux drivers and won’t any time soon. That’s because many manufacturers are hostile to open source and the supposed tiny size of the desktop Linux market doesn’t present them with enough incentive to ship their own closed source drivers.

    I don’t do any gaming. As a systems architect who works almost exclusively with Linux web and application servers, I’m doing project management, remote administration, pretty heavy scripting and documentation writing most of the time. For content managers and creators like me, Linux is a terrific desktop or laptop choice far superior to Windows. But a teenage gamer who wants to run a high end graphics card or who might be interested in streaming is going to find working with Linux very frustrating, and probably won’t be too kindly disposed towards open source as a result.

  35. Cesar Cesar January 19, 2017

    I still remember when I had my Monster2 3D acceleration card alongside with my Diamond 4 MB card, I was using slackware by the time, it was possible for me to play GLquase without any videolag that any of my friends using windows 95 this was in 1997, than everything Changed When The Fire Nation Attacked and created DirectX, in the following years more and more games started to use that thing ( directX ) and we became oppressed waiting for the return of the avatar openGL ( in this case vulkan ).

  36. Thong N Thong N January 19, 2017

    Such harse words, base on your reply. The only thing I get from this posting then is that if you need help with a “Windows” program, don’t ask a person who uses Linux because, they will tell you to install Linux instead. As a Linux user, this type of message is wrong. Like others have said, the person needed help with a Windows program. If you are going to complain about Windows then don’t even start helping.

    Oh yea, if I recalled Linux was complied using MS products and it was that way for a very long time.

    You know even experts make mistake with BIOS config and forget to make sure their cable wire is not worn out.

    Fact is his grandson needed help with a program, and looks like gramps is the best computer of the family member who could not make the program works. Instead of asking for help on how to make it work, he write how bad Windows is.

    Its like asking an auto mechanic to fix your almost new broken car. I can’t fix your car and you need to buy the same care I that I drive.

    BTW, I use both Linux, Unix, Windows, and mainframe MVS.

  37. Mike Mike January 19, 2017

    @Thong N

    > “Oh yea, if I recalled Linux was complied using MS products and it was that way for a very long time.

    No it wasn’t. Ever.

    Don’t spread misinformation, including and especially Microsoft propaganda.

  38. Thong N Thong N January 19, 2017

    I think you might be right, base on Torvalds’s talks I think he used Coherent or Minix on his i386.

    Back to the article, what is the name of this game and lets start figuring out how to make it run using Linux?
    I can see a follow up on this article now : “Peer Pressure Backfires and Nuking Windows”.

    If we want people to use Linux, we have to show them how Linux can solve their computer issues.

  39. tracyanne tracyanne January 19, 2017

    @Thong N

    >>>Its like asking an auto mechanic to fix your almost new broken car. I can’t fix your car and you need to buy the same care I that I drive.

    That reminds of the Auto mechanic who was asked, by a potential client for help in choosing a Bus to convert into a motor home, and the mechanic said don’t buy brand X, because we can’t get parts for those, so the potential client goes out and buys brand X, and gets upset when the Auto Mechanic says we can’t do the work you want.

    He, like the grandson didn’t take the expert’s advice.

  40. tracyanne tracyanne January 19, 2017

    @Thong M

    >>>>Oh yea, if I recalled Linux was complied using MS products and it was that way for a very long time.

    Not ever, Linus Torvolds used Minix, another Unix like operating system, created for Educational purposes by Andrew Tanenbaum.

    Minix uses a Microkernel architecture, as opposed to the monolithic kernel used by Linux.

    Please do not continue to spread your misinformation.

  41. Thong N Thong N January 20, 2017

    >>Please do not continue to spread your misinformation.

    I learn something, so I will not misinfor others now, Thanks!

  42. Thong N Thong N January 20, 2017

    Something about this post bothers me…

    >>I had a USB thumb drive with Mint 17.3 in my laptop bag,

    I know you been at this and at time when you are “heat” of just getting things working, sometimes we forget the easiest thing. Since you are able to boot from Mint on the new computer that your grandson built, why not mount his harddrive and place the file on it?

    I hope things turn out better…

  43. Rasmus Rasmus January 23, 2017

    I see quite a few people saying “…using the dvd that came with it…” I’m sorry, but i haven’t seen a OEM windows DVD for 6 or so years. Instead, you have a “windows repair partition” on the harddrive, and if windows fails you can go into repair mode from there.

    Then there’s the issue of the system growing slow. If dogs age 7 years per year, windows installs are more like 70.

    I’ve worked with windows PC and Server versions for a couple of years now. And getting home to my Ubuntu machine is just a joy. Even if it has some problem, because it’s 99% of the time SOOOO easy to fix.

  44. Thad Thad January 23, 2017

    Yeah, the notion that Linux has poor driver support is way out of date; Linux has been better at drivers since Windows limped into the 64-bit world with Vista.

    That said, I hate to say it but I can understand why a gamer would prefer Windows. The HTPC in my living room is a Windows machine, and my primary OpenSUSE box has a Windows boot on it. Because Linux game support just isn’t quite there for my purposes.

    The good news is that indie games with modest hardware requirements almost always show up on Linux now, thanks to multiplatform build kits like Unity.

    The bad news is, high-end, “AAA” releases often don’t, WINE doesn’t always work, and OpenGL is simply not on par with DirectX in benchmarks. (Vulkan seems to be bridging the gap, and that’s great news, but it’s still poorly supported.)

    I don’t like Windows. I’ve used various Linuxes as my primary OS for 15 years. But unfortunately Linux hasn’t quite closed the gap on gaming. I still keep Windows around so I can play certain games. I’m hoping a day will come when I no longer need it at all, but I’ve been waiting for that day for 15 years and it still hasn’t come.

  45. Bob Bob January 26, 2017

    Let’s be honest here for a moment, there are two things Windows does much better than Linux, Gaming & Microsoft Office ~ simple as that. If you’re looking for latest version of a game, it will be on Windows, that is almost as good as a guarantee.

    Put yourself in the shoes of 16yo boy for a moment. You’re interested in keeping up with your friends and using what everyone else uses at school, and guess what, that’s going to be Windows 10. A simple matter of marketing, market penetration and cool factor.

    Perhaps you might’ve had a little more WOW factor with Elementary OS or Solus (if you kept the OS a surprise) – but KDE? (well Mint was a good choice at least).

    Now i’m not saying I wish this was the case, and Linux gaming and Wine have come an incredibly long way to meet the needs of an average gamer. But you’re not going to get teenagers to support the Linux cause just yet – not unless they or their friends have stumbled upon it on their own, or you bought him a premade Steam rig.

    And quite frankly there’s still lots to do in terms of making Linux a perfect User Experience and at the moment there are pressing issues with X11 in terms of security,containerising / sandboxing apps and even things like outbound communication by software and gaining root through video drivers or another running application. Linux for all it’s benefits, has similar problems to windows at the moment and fewer people addressing those problems (apparently it’s too complex to stop certain components in X11 from talking to each other, once a program is behind the X11 wall, it has access to everything and why the Unity 8 and Wayland projects were launched – along with Snaps, Flatpak, etc).

    If you want him to love Linux the way you do, then wait until he finishes school or college to introduce him to Linux properly or better yet build him a cool retropie benchtop cab (now that’s influential).

    I personally stopped using Windows about six months ago in favour of Elementary OS, it’s not the perfect distro, but it’s getting there – and works a whole lot better after extensive tweaking. The user experience though is quite endearing – and even with all its flaws its still much better than Windows 10 IMHO.

  46. Mike Mike January 26, 2017


    > “If you want him to love Linux the way you do, then wait until he finishes school or college to introduce him to Linux properly or better yet build him a cool retropie benchtop cab (now that’s influential).”

    I strongly disagree with the first part of your statement…don’t wait. Get them involved in the infinite number of cool things you can do with Linux that Windows can’t even pretend to do. Projects using Raspberry Pi are a great example. From games and robots to gadgets and drones, Linux on the Pi is the king of the maker community. More kids are being introduced to computing this way than ever before.

    To be brought up knowing the freedom of Linux makes the prison bars of Microsoft Windows and Apple all the more visible.

  47. Reid Reid January 26, 2017

    Several years ago I helped a lady at church with her terribly slow, cluttered XP machine – she couldn’t afford a new computer and XP was out of support. We installed Mint and it ran like new – she’d never seen it so fast & responsive, even when it was new. She liked her newfound freedom from malware, too. In short, she was very happy and she could even maintain it herself, since one click updated everything she had installed. Sounds like a happy ending.

    Then last year her grandson got old enough to be interested in games, and since his family had a Windows machine those were the games he wanted to play. He’d come over and complain that he couldn’t play them on her computer. So she became determined to have a new Windows machine – and she wanted a laptop so she could take it on trips. But she had almost no money – wanted to spend less than $300!

    I reluctantly helped her evaluate several dirt-cheap laptops that went on clearance prior to Christmas. She ended up with a very low-end Dell. I warned her that it would be a poor gaming machine, but she said her grandson had told her that his games weren’t that demanding.

    So now she’s got it – her pined-for Windows machine. It’s a complete dog – her old repurposed desktop running Mint is much more responsive. But you know what? She seems to be happy. Now she’s got Windows! Too bad, but a lot of folks are that way.

    The big downside is that I’m still her support guy, and I can’t really say no to a little old lady.

  48. tracyanne tracyanne January 26, 2017

    >>>>So now she’s got it – her pined-for Windows machine.

    The under $300 Windows machine won’t be much good for games either, so I guess her grandson will still be complaining

  49. CFWhitman CFWhitman February 1, 2017

    I give out Linux computers to relatives (particularly nephews and nieces), but not semi-state of the art gaming rigs. I give them free computers that are more than five years old (sometimes significantly more) and I have revived by installing Linux on them. Core 2 Duo machines are the common ones I give out at this point, and putting Windows on them to play the latest games isn’t even a consideration.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for games at all. These machines run Minecraft, for example, quite adequately. Also, they work great for YouTube, which seems to be a favorite spot on the Web for kids these days.

    The teenage boys (the girls not so much; if they game they are more likely to use a console (note that I am not claiming that as a general trend for girls vs. boys; it’s just the way it is among my relatives)) do sometimes game with Windows, and I don’t try and stop that in any way. I just provide a lot of auxiliary machines (mostly laptops) that allow more people to access computers in these households at the same time. The Xfce or LXDE desktops that most of these machines have are easily picked up by the kids.

    I game on my desktop machine. Although I have a Windows 10 installation on its own hard drive, I almost never boot into that. I have plenty of games to adequately entertain myself on my Linux drive. My brother does use the Windows drive for some Windows games that aren’t available for Linux.

    A lot of my brothers’ and sisters’ families want or need a Windows machine for certain things. However, most of them also have some kind of Linux machine that gets used in their house as well. One of my brothers bought a Windows 8 laptop on a black Friday sale then bought another the following year and asked me to convert the first one to Linux so it would run faster. He is much happier with it since I did so. He just needs to have one Windows machine around for certain things. He uses the Linux machine a lot.

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