Selasa, 02 Maret 2010

Minting the Girlfriend

A few weeks back the girl I have been dating for awhile now had idly made a complaint about her laptop being poky at certain tasks. I'd used the thing once or twice to check my email and recalled it was running Vista - no surprise there. I like this girl a lot and figured it was time to take that next step in our relationship:

I offered to put Linux on her laptop.

She had used my many computers which all run various forms of Linux several times and was open to the idea. After reassuring her that none of her data was going to be lost by installing Linux and in fact I would even leave Vista on the computer should she want to go back to it, she was ready to let me get Linux installing on her laptop. Thankfully she had a 320gig hard drive in the system, most of which was unused, so I was able to give Linux 80gigs to reside on.

For a long time I have always installed Ubuntu on friend's computers who where interested in moving away from Windows, however as I recently stated I now feel Linux Mint is better suited for this situation. Thankfully I keep a 1gig flash drive in my laptop bag that boots a Linux Mint LiveCD (Created using unetbootin - if you have never installed from a flash drive before I highly recommend it, much faster than installing from a disc). Around half an hour later I had the operating system fully updated and installed. I spent another five minutes creating a mount point and fstab entry for her Windows partition. And lastly for the sake of easiness I created symlinks in her /home directory so she could easily access her pictures/documents/music stored on the Windows partition.

Then came that fateful question: What about Microsoft Office?

Personally I had grown up using Office 03 for a short bit and then mostly, so when I made the move to Linux just having OpenOffice on my own systems was fine for myself. She was used to the ribbon setup of Office 07 though, beyond that she also had all of her calender dates residing in Outlook and she used OneNote a few times a week. The solution?

Thanks to this wonderful GUI front end for the Wine Project, Office 07 can be installed under Linux just as easily as on Windows. In fact, after I had installed Crossover on the system and she saw the GUI she took the computer from me and installed Office 07 herself because "anyone can follow an installation wizard". Which is very true, the point of the Crossover products is that you don't need to be a Linux Guru or even a computer tech to install Windows software on Linux and it does a fantastic job to this end.

Was the move to Linux successful for her? More than three weeks later and I can say with confidence:

Yes it was.

Is Vista gone from her laptop? Not yet, but maybe someday (Move Media Player not installing on Linux or through Wine is the last hangup). She is booted in Mint more often than not and has found her way around the Ubuntu Software Center to install Frostwire (among other things). She also used the Linux answer machine to hunt down the driver for her Cannon MP190 printer when it was not auto-found by the printer installer on Mint.

All in all I must say though, the best part about installing Mint on her laptop is that now when I use it to check my email I no longer have to use Vista :)

~Jeff Hoogland

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