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FLPCGuy
January 23rd, 2007, 06:08 PM
I recently sent this letter to several friends running old versions of Windows.

FYI,
Eventually, you will have to replace Windows 98/ME on your PC with another OS, either Windows or Linux. Soon, you may not be able to purchase XP any longer so you would have to buy Vista which takes even more resources than XP and must have at least 512MB of available system memory (plus any shared video memory). I don't think it would be worth the cost to put Vista on most older PCs. Right now, you can buy XP Home upgrade for $105 and it will even run on 256MB of RAM, but not very well. You would notice a significant drop in performance compared to Win 98/ME. XP is slow, even before you add the anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall apps you must run. Linux comes ready to use with no add-ons (firewall included).

Linux is available for free or almost so if you mail order the CD's. But Linux is not Windows. There is a learning curve for Windows users, but that is also true of Windows Vista. A lot of hardware is not supported with drivers for Linux (or Vista).

Older PC's likely have only 256 MB of RAM memory, so it might be difficult to install Linux from a LiveCD. There is an alternate install CD further down on the page that doesn't run the GUI desktop but loads a text-based installer instead. Once installed, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mepis, and PCLinuxOS (all based on Ubuntu Debian) run fine on 256MB of RAM. You can download the KDE desktop and software in Ubuntu (making it Kubuntu) if you have a broadband connection.

You will have to put in some time to learn each new OS and may even have to change some applications you are used to using as you may have when you switched from Microsoft Office to Open Office or Internet Explorer to Firefox (a far better browser, even on Windows). Many people avoid change at all costs. Others accept it more gracefully. Your success with Linux is mostly a reflection of your willingness and ability to learn and deal with change.

Even with your best effort, Linux may not turn out to be a suitable alternative for your computing needs and hardware. You might not stay with it, but only use it as an interim solution before obtaining another PC with Windows pre-installed. Or you could grow to love it and join that vocal minority who won't go back to using Windows. One of the things I like most about Ubuntu is the helpful community forum where I can read and learn and even ask for help. It is widely regarded as the best Linux support forum. Here are some articles from the Ubuntu support community forum if you want to learn more.

Is Ubuntu for You?
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=63315

To New Users and those thinking about using Linux: the Rude Fisherman (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=1488521&postcount=1)

(http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=33183)New to Linux? Need a program? (http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=33183)
Download CD Ubuntu uses the Gnome desktop by default. LiveCD (http://www.ubuntu.com/products/GetUbuntu/download?action=show&redirect=download) PC (Intel x86) alternate install CD (http://ubuntu.cs.utah.edu/releases/edgy/ubuntu-6.10-alternate-i386.iso)

Kubuntu (uses KDE instead of Gnome; has default blue desktop theme rather than tan)
http://www.kubuntu.org/download.php alternate install CD PC (Intel x86) desktop CD (http://ubuntu.cs.utah.edu/releases/kubuntu/edgy/kubuntu-6.10-desktop-i386.iso)

Once you've obtained the CD image, burn it to CD with this guide
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto

(There is a menu option on the live CD to check the CD for defects. Check the CD before installing to your HD.)

You might alternately want to consider adding memory. If your PC has both memory slots filled already with 128 MB modules, you would have to replace one with a 512MB module yielding 640MB total. A 512MB module costs about $45 US while a 256MB one costs $25 (possibly only increasing what you have by 128MB). It is a simple matter to plug in a SIMM or DIMM module once you orient the module to the match the slot. An off-center bump prevents improper installation. The tricky part is ordering the right memory to match what you have installed.

How to Identify PC 133 memory
http://www.dewassoc.com/performance/memory/how_to_id_pc133.htm
'Simply put, usually the last digit or two of the part number on the memory chip will indicate the memory type. PC66 memory chips will be "12", PC100 will be either "8" or "10", and PC133 will be either "-65", "-7" or "-75",'

I suggest reading up on the installation process, especially dual booting with Windows and making detailed plans before doing anything you can't undo. Most people can't backup Windows and don't even have a Windows CD to reinstall it, You may have to learn to install/repair Windows before you add Linux. There is considerable risk in making any system changes you can't easily un-do.

Be sure your personal data, favorites (bookmarks), email, music, photos, downloaded software, and other items not already on CD or DVD are copied to one before you do anything other than running the LiveCD (without installing).

I'm new to Linux too so I can't promise to provide the same support I did for Windows. But there is an excellent forum community available. The good news is that Linux can add years of enjoyment and useful life to your older PC for little or no cost beyond your time and effort.

As the value of your PC diminishes, the risk of loss drops with it. Take advantage of this opportunity to really take control of your PC and learn something new.

taurus
January 23rd, 2007, 06:14 PM
Move to Cafe.

jeffc313
January 23rd, 2007, 06:28 PM
sounds like an advert, if i got your email, i would probably just archive it without reading

EdThaSlayer
January 23rd, 2007, 06:31 PM
At least you tell some true points such as the learning curve.
I especially like this quote

Your success with Linux is mostly a reflection of your willingness and ability to learn and deal with change.
:rolleyes:

I agree with jeffc313 that it does sounds a bit like your trying to sell them something...
But at least you give them a lot of information.

Insomniac20k
January 23rd, 2007, 06:37 PM
People don't generally respond to being talked down to. I hope these weren't your friends.

rickyjones
January 23rd, 2007, 07:07 PM
Or, if these people are happily running Windows and don't do a lot on the internet, then Windows 9x/Me will probably run just fine - at least until their hardware fails. At that point they will probably go to the local computer store and drop $500 on a new computer, which will already be running the latest version of Windows. Then they will continue using their computer like they always have been, until that one dies. And the cycle continues.

Just my two cents.

mustang
January 23rd, 2007, 08:02 PM
Yeah---it definitely seems like you're trying to sell them something. I wouldn't be surprised if they accidentally thought it was a spam message.

I probably wouldn't try to convince them in the first place but even I did, why not come across as more personable? These are your friends after all. You come across more as a salesman than a friend. Shorten it up too.

And as EdThaSlayer pointed out, that "willingness" remark is very condescending and absolutely untrue. First off, transitioning to linux depends on one's hardware and one's needs. Second, the degree of success they have with linux says nothing about their moral character (which is what your statement implies). It's an operating system for crying out loud---not some sort of life test.

whitefort
January 23rd, 2007, 09:21 PM
FLPC Guy.

I really, REALLY wish someone had sent me a letter like this before I tried to switch to Linux. I would still have tried, but at least I would have gone in with my eyes open, and been spared a lot of frustration and disappointment. IMO, people who promote Linux as 'like Windows, but better - and free' have a lot to answer for!

TheWizzard
January 23rd, 2007, 10:20 PM
Once installed, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mepis, and PCLinuxOS (all based on Ubuntu Debian) run fine on 256MB of RAM.
:-k i don't think i agree. i have some experience with 256MB and it was certainly not "fine". upgrading memory helps.

Quillz
January 23rd, 2007, 10:31 PM
Just thought I would point out that Windows and Linux are not their only two options. There are many OS available on the PC, or they could use the Mac platform instead.

userundefine
January 23rd, 2007, 10:31 PM
Personally I just upgraded an older woman's computer that had Win98 on it. Unfortunately she got it after being swindled by some jerk computer shop that said the problems she was having with Win2k on her computer would be too expensive to fix. So, the guy said he'd give her a Win98 box, since it was better, and she'd give him the Win2k and $110 and call it even. Sadly, she's an old woman and people are always taking advantage of her.

So, I told her I'd fix her computer up and she agreed to let me put Linux on it. How I explained it was that there were so many free programs out there and what I would put on would run much better than what she had (AOL, spyware, antivirus, firewall, etc. slowing the comp down to hell). I put Xubuntu on, installed gnome-games, and BibleTime. I didn't really "sell" her on it, I just said it was better and left it at that. She has no serious needs on a computer, she just likes to type a letter once in a while and use the Internet. She's the perfect person to benefit from Linux, IMO.

BTW, the comp had 128MB of RAM and 500Mhz Celeron. It runs XFCE reasonably well, far better than Windows. Plus, it's all free (a good selling point to someone who had a bunch of expired evaluation versions of closed-source payware, and to someone who has significantly low income). Soon, I'll explain that it's also free as in speech. :)

Quillz
January 23rd, 2007, 10:33 PM
Personally I just upgraded an older woman's computer that had Win98 on it. Unfortunately she got it after being swindled by some jerk computer shop that said the problems she was having with Win2k on her computer would be too expensive to fix. So, the guy said he'd give her a Win98 box, since it was better, and she'd give him the Win2k and $110 and call it even. Sadly, she's an old woman and people are always taking advantage of her.

So, I told her I'd fix her computer up and she agreed to let me put Linux on it. How I explained it was that there were so many free programs out there and what I would put on would run much better than what she had (AOL, spyware, antivirus, firewall, etc. slowing the comp down to hell). I put Xubuntu on, installed gnome-games, and BibleTime. I didn't really "sell" her on it, I just said it was better and left it at that. She has no serious needs on a computer, she just likes to type a letter once in a while and use the Internet. She's the perfect person to benefit from Linux, IMO.

BTW, the comp had 128MB of RAM and 500Mhz Celeron. It runs XFCE reasonably well, far better than Windows. Plus, it's all free (a good selling point to someone who had a bunch of expired evaluation versions of closed-source payware, and to someone who has significantly low income). Soon, I'll explain that it's also free as in speech. :)
This is a good migration story. After all, if an old woman can use Linux, surely anyone can with enough patience and the willingness to learn.

Lord Illidan
January 23rd, 2007, 10:36 PM
FLPC Guy.

I really, REALLY wish someone had sent me a letter like this before I tried to switch to Linux. I would still have tried, but at least I would have gone in with my eyes open, and been spared a lot of frustration and disappointment. IMO, people who promote Linux as 'like Windows, but better - and free' have a lot to answer for!

I agree with you. I couldn't understand what the fuss was all about at first too!

lucia_engel
January 24th, 2007, 12:18 AM
Not everyone uses Win9x/ME because they don't know any better. Some just have a low end machine and still want support for their printer, scanner, webcam video conversation, etc. Is it worth it to hunt down those drivers just so they can use another OS that does the same thing as before (or not even, for webcam video conference I still have to boot to my XP to get it working).


ETA:

Even with your best effort, Linux may not turn out to be a suitable alternative for your computing needs and hardware.
oops, I see you already mentioned hardware support. Must learn to read.

Maybe you should make it less wordy. If someone send me a long email, I probably won't read it.

whitefort
January 24th, 2007, 01:38 AM
This is a good migration story. After all, if an old woman can use Linux, surely anyone can with enough patience and the willingness to learn.

Well, yes... but it's one thing to get a machine that's already set up, then learning to use the apps at your leisure. Getting it set up can be another thing, however. (I admit it - I have an axe to grind - After weeks of running Ubuntu, I still can't get my network to work!) Basically I was dumb enough to read the Official Ubuntu Book and believe that I could install Ubuntu and get everything working with not much more than a few mouse clicks... but it just ain't so. Something like FLPC's letter would have given me a better idea what to expect.

locutus42
January 24th, 2007, 01:42 AM
People don't generally respond to being talked down to. I hope these weren't your friends.

And interesting observation is that if you even mention RAM, CPU, Linux or any other words or acronyms which are unfamiliar to the average MS Windows user, they'll shy away from you. It's not always a matter of "talking down" but just knowing more than them or bringing up a subject which they are unfamiliar with and that often turns them off and away. Their corporate IT expert is probably not helping. ;-)

IMO, this is one of the hurdles to getting people to try or even discuss trying Linux. It's only after 2-3 re-installs of MS Windows will they start asking you about "this Linux thing". I've got one friend who's paid someone twice to clean their system and get all their software installed again and they paid ~$300 each time. They did ask me about Linux in one email recently but that was about it. I'm guessing they either purchased a new computer or paid another $300.

The new Ubuntu Windows installer could help get people to try Ubuntu without having to have a Linux 'expert' around to help them. Hopefully, there'll be a CD to help with this install since the download is way too time consuming and no Windows user is going to wait that long.

FLPCGuy
January 24th, 2007, 09:35 PM
People don't generally respond to being talked down to. I hope these weren't your friends.

I was rather surprised as the range of responses to my letter. I posted it here to highlight some of the issues that new users must face as well as the people who support them like me.

"Eventually, you will have to replace Windows 98/ME on your PC with another OS, either Windows or Linux. " Someone pointed out that this isn't necessarily true. I beg to differ. Because Win9x is no longer supported by Microsoft or many Third Party firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware vendors. It is becoming increasingly risky using that version of Windows on the internet, especially the old IE browser.

I had mentioned the security issue to these customers/friends often in the past and skipped it here. We were already at the point of considering alternatives and what each choice demanded of them. I'll grant, doing nothing is always an alternative but assumed they want to change OS.

Windows XP demanded only money and more RAM memory which I could have installed for them, little learning curve and their old apps will run. Since I had the link to the PC133 identification page I thought I'd throw that in as nice-to-know but never really expected them to actually use this information themselves. At most, I thought it might help them appreciate that some tech knowledge is needed to upgrade a PC.

I thought I was just being informative pointing out both good (free as in beer) and bad points (driver support) about Linux and the fact that there is a learning curve involved in changing to any other OS. That means learning to use a different word processor, email client, and browser which they had already done to some extent since I had previously installed OpenOffice and FireFox on their PC's and got only a few questions on their use [default Ofc file format not readable by others--Save As RTF or Word]. I expected them to reflect on their own application transition experience and apply that to a possible OS change.

I guess I goofed up pretty bad when I paraphrased some other forum comments I had read that concluded, "Many people avoid change at all costs. Others accept it more gracefully. Your success with Linux is mostly a reflection of your willingness and ability to learn and deal with change." I wasn't making any judgments about THEM either way but simply about human nature in general. However, it appears many readers took this personally and felt that I was implying something.

I thought my next sentence should have cleared that up. "Even with your best efforts Linux may not turn out to be a suitable alternative for your computing needs and hardware." I knew they would be just as uncomfortable with Linux as they are with Windows and went on to suggest perhaps this would only be an interim solution until they bought a new PC.

I then provided some helpful links to get the software (I had just demonstrated the LiveCD to each of them) and knowing that the RAM memory issue would be a problem for at least one of them mentioned the cost of adding enough to switch (to any newer OS).

I concluded with the usual boilerplate advice, back up your data, plan ahead, don't do anything you can't undo. I even confessed that I couldn't provide support for Linux as I do for Windows since that was something to consider as well.

I should have quit here and actually did in the real letter but I put the concluding sales pitch into the forum mostly for dramatic effect. It had a dramatic effect alright, but not the one I intended.

Anyway, I hope I pointed out some issues and the decision regular PC users and those who support them face when considering whether to try Linux.

devnet
January 25th, 2007, 03:35 PM
Once installed, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mepis, and PCLinuxOS (all based on Ubuntu Debian) run fine on 256MB of RAM.


PCLinuxOS is RPM based my friend...not Debian Ubuntu based.

It's a blend of Mandriva, Red Hat, and SuSe along with just about any other feature that is a good idea to have for a desktop distro. Texstar picks through what he and the community likes from other distros and pieces it together.

FLPCGuy
January 26th, 2007, 12:14 AM
PCLinuxOS is RPM based my friend...not Debian Ubuntu based.

It's a blend of Mandriva, Red Hat, and SuSe along with just about any other feature that is a good idea to have for a desktop distro. Texstar picks through what he and the community likes from other distros and pieces it together.
That's strange, because mine [0.93a] has a Synaptic front end to APT, just like Ubuntu. http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pclinuxos

I see more in common with Ubuntu than Red Hat. I agree these guys used the very best code they could find, the Mandrake installer, Aptitude with Synaptic pkg. mgr, Yast-like control panel, various other functionality ala Debian and Ubuntu, and excellent graphics and polish ala Mandriva or their own programmers. I "m anxious for PCLinuxOS 2007 to be finalized in a few weeks.

meng
January 26th, 2007, 12:15 AM
Yes, PCLinuxOS uses Synaptic AND is rpm based.

Insomniac20k
January 26th, 2007, 06:46 AM
I was rather surprised as the range of responses to my letter. I posted it here to highlight some of the issues that new users must face as well as the people who support them like me.


Well the tone of your letter sounded very condescending, as a lot of people have mentioned. It comes off as sounding like you're telling them that they're stupid and you have the tools to enlighten them (which could be true, it's just not what they want to hear.)

It's been a few days though. Has anyone responded?

steven8
January 26th, 2007, 07:11 AM
I didn't think it was at all condescending. I'm not sure why so many people felt it was. ithought it was informative. Has anyone responded yet?

seijuro
January 26th, 2007, 07:57 AM
:-k i don't think i agree. i have some experience with 256MB and it was certainly not "fine". upgrading memory helps.

I have a tower with only 256mb in it and not only does it run fine it also installed Ubuntu and Kubuntu fine from the LiveCD. FYI it also runs faster than my wife's laptop which has 382mb.

slimdog360
January 26th, 2007, 08:37 AM
that really looks like spam

PatrickMay16
January 26th, 2007, 08:42 AM
:-k i don't think i agree. i have some experience with 256MB and it was certainly not "fine". upgrading memory helps.

I know what you mean. Ubuntu runs usably, but not so well on 256MB RAM.
Coming from an ubuntu veteran like myself, the thing with us vets is, turn off unused services. That's right, just turn off unused services. This is the vet's way of handling a machine with lower memory. Turning off unused services means more free memory and faster boot time. But on the other hand, you might lose some functionality if you turn off a services that you actually did need. This is the key. And then, it's delicious. This is unbeatable. However, if you do this, then there's a chance that you'll be marked by the forum administrators from the next time on; it's a double-edged sword. I can't recommend it to amateurs.

steven8
January 26th, 2007, 08:45 AM
that really looks like spam

got rid of big image

TheWizzard
January 26th, 2007, 06:29 PM
I have a tower with only 256mb in it and not only does it run fine it also installed Ubuntu and Kubuntu fine from the LiveCD. FYI it also runs faster than my wife's laptop which has 382mb.

try opening 20+ tabs in firefox :evil:

TheWizzard
January 26th, 2007, 06:33 PM
I know what you mean. Ubuntu runs usably, but not so well on 256MB RAM.
Coming from an ubuntu veteran like myself, the thing with us vets is, turn off unused services. That's right, just turn off unused services. This is the vet's way of handling a machine with lower memory. Turning off unused services means more free memory and faster boot time. But on the other hand, you might lose some functionality if you turn off a services that you actually did need. This is the key. And then, it's delicious. This is unbeatable. However, if you do this, then there's a chance that you'll be marked by the forum administrators from the next time on; it's a double-edged sword. I can't recommend it to amateurs.

indeed turning of services doe help a bit. i just feel it is misleading to tell people a 256mb pc runs "fine" if you use ubuntu.

FLPCGuy
January 26th, 2007, 09:08 PM
I have a tower with only 256mb in it and not only does it run fine it also installed Ubuntu and Kubuntu fine from the LiveCD. FYI it also runs faster than my wife's laptop which has 382mb.

I've never actually tried it with less than 512 MB myself (I wouldn't run Win2k or later on 256 MB either), but I've seen lots of comments indicating 256MB is adequate.

Of course, it all depends on how you use your computer. Personally, I can't imagine opening 20 tabs in Firefox at once and I almost never run multiple major apps at the same time. I generally don't even use OpenOfc unless I'm writing something complex.

Ubuntu Forum HowTo
http://www.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=62650

System Reqmt. 6.06
http://linux-man.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?products_id=320&osCsid=7c0d75ecd89da08a045f85b6b7705510

I haven't received any response to my letter, but I almost never do. I frequently pass on Security techniques, articles about new threats, tips & tricks and other tech info without response either positive or negative. I've sold these people service and computers for years and they call me whenever they need help. I suppose I should ask them if they are annoyed when I send them tech info, but it is easy enough to ignore. I have noticed they don't always delete my emails but that doesn't say much.