Re: how do you wean someone off of windows?
I managed to wean my father-in-law off of Windows. His old computer, which had Windows 98 on it, just got to where it was so slow as to be unbearable, so about a year and a half ago he asked me if I could get him one with Windows XP. It took me a while, but I finally got my hands on one with XP on it on Craig's List for only $65 (we're not exactly made of money, and neither is he, you see).
I went down there one weekend to spend it with my wife, who was on a summer job at a Girl Scout camp there in southeast Missouri, and it's a summer job she's had for quite some time that she enjoys (she's a college student right now who plans to become a teacher). Anyways, I'd gotten it all hooked up and then my wife and I went out to dinner in Poplar Bluff. While we were out to dinner, a severe thunderstorm rolled through where my father-in-law and his wife life. He didn't bother to shut down Windows the proper way, he just unplugged the computer. After the storm blew over, he plugged it back in...and Windows wouldn't boot. He called us right as we got out of the restaurant and told us what happened, so I swapped computers with him once more and took the new (to us) computer back to here in St. Louis.
I had a friend of mine look at it, and she said the hard drive itself was toast. I told my father-in-law what happened, and he asked me if I could get another copy of Windows XP -- but I really didn't have the money. I tried convincing him to switch to Linux but couldn't until my wife (who, oddly enough, I still have yet to convert to Linux) told him he wouldn't have to worry about defending against viruses and spyware anymore, and that piqued his interest, so he said he'd be willing to give Linux a try.
I wound up putting PCLinuxOS on it, as I was a KDE fan at the time before they came out with KDE4, which drive me to GNOME for computers that could handle it and Xfce for those that couldn't -- and naturally, this switch led me to Ubuntu. Anyways, I set it up to be intuitive for someone who's not very computer-literate at all (hey, my father-in-law freely admits he's computer-illiterate LOL) took it down to him, and he was quite pleased with it.
However, that computer takes a long time to get past the POST (power-on self test). This is a hardware problem and is not a problem with whatever happens to be on the hard drive. I recently bought a new computer (yes, NEW) for only $50 that was already pre-loaded with Ubuntu and I've decided to put Hardy Heron on my old computer, which works great and boots up in a normal amount of time, and give it to him for Christmas and set it up for him. Not to mention, I've found GNOME to be more capable of impersonating the Windows XP look and feel than KDE, which I think he'll like, since XP is what he originally wanted to begin with. Oh, and I'm pretty certain my father-in-law doesn't know about this site, either. SHHH!!!
Have you heard that Microsoft bought Hoover Vacuum? Now they finally have a product that doesn't suck!