Re: Which way to go?
I'm afraid that this will seem like I'm raining on the parade, but a certain measure of realism should accompany the encouragement you are getting to try Ubuntu out. I am particularly concerned about your insistence that there be no passwords. If you are set on this point, then I honestly think that sticking with Windows is your best bet. I admit that one reason I suggest this is purely selfish. I don't want Linux to get as lousy as Windows on the security front. It's bad for the reputation of Linux and bad for computer users in general when unsecured computers get owned by malware and become another drone in the spambot army. Right now, almost all of the millions of spambots out there are infected Windows computers. By crippling Linux security (and that is what you are doing when you disable passwords), it will only be a matter of time before you also get owned.
However, my selfish reason is secondary to the primary reason I would advise you against Linux. And that primary reason is this: if the simple safety procedure of a password challenge is enough to turn you off, then dealing with Linux file permissions, command lines, ownerships and the concept of users/groups will have you throwing your computer out the window.
The people on this forum are almost all Linux enthusiasts, myself included, and we want Linux to grow. But it is important to tell you the cold sobering facts: the superior qualities of Linux come at a cost. It requires a completely different mindset from its users and a willingness to learn and adopt its better security practices. I've been either dabbling in or using Linux in various forms for over 15 years, and have helped many friends and family transition from Windows. I have noted that the only time such transitions work is if the user is prepared to leave their awful Windows habits, mindsets and expectations behind, adopt disciplines that they're not used to (perhaps for the first time in their lives) and commit to a pretty radical psychological transition from Windows to something entirely different. As much as we may tell you that passwords can be disabled (they can), you will find that there are so many other built-in restrictions and safeguards that you will go crazy unless you come into Linux with the proper mindset and expectations. This mindset is the opposite of crippling password authentication.
If you expect Linux to be just a better Windows, then you are guaranteed to be disappointed and are better off not starting, as it will invariably prove to be nothing but a waste of your time.
If, despite my warning, you are still curious, then I strongly urge you to read the following:
"Linux is not Windows" intro:
Psychocat's intro to Ubuntu:
Because you are asking about crippling password challenges, I would also recommend this:
Last edited by DuckHook; May 9th, 2013 at 05:24 AM.
Reason: Added link
Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just let me jump.