As you may know from previous posts I read Garry Conn‘s blog on a regular basis. When he wrote an article on Microsoft Windows I couldn’t help but comment. You can read the post in full here.
Below is one of the comments I left for him. I think I covered everything but you should check out his post and chime in your thoughts. If you have any questions as always you can leave me a comment and I will answer them. I’ve added links in this post to highlight everything I mentioned to make it easier to find what I’m talking about.
Ubuntu is probably the best for new new users. There are different flavors to choose from this too. You have Ubuntu which ships with Gnome, Kubuntu which is KDE based and Xubuntu which has Xfce. I like Xfce because it is light weight but it doesn’t have the best file manager. Therefore I would recommend Ubuntu. I think that the setup is a little easier now, it has automatic partitioning and all of that.
One advantage to Mac OSX / Linux while running Firefox is that you only get 1 instance for Firefox. Open it up on Windows (Even when you press CTRL+N for a new window) you get a separate Firefox instance taking up resources. This is not the case with Linux or OSX, it runs off of the same process which means it uses less resources.
Ubuntu has a nice program called Automatix which is great to install stuff like Video Player Plug-Ins and PDF readers.
The only thing you will have trouble with Garry is Photoshop. There is NO Photoshop for Linux. Some may argue that The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the replacement but it is far less sophisticated and difficult to use for the Photoshop user. I have got older versions of Photoshop working with Wine but they are a little buggy and sometimes crash, which is understandable since .exe files were never suppose to run on Linux.
You can use Pidgin for your instant messaging and it supports AIM, Yahoo, GTalk, Jabber and a bunch of others. That knocks out a couple of applications if you were to install each of them on Windows
Grahpics support is one of the things that really needs to be set up properly to enjoy Linux. The easiest to install by far is the NVIDIA graphics driver, I always try and make sure my hardware has a GeForce video card for this reason. ATI has some well supported 3d accelerated cards but all of the GeForces I have used have been much easier to set up.
I like my Toshiba Tecra M2 and Linux runs great on it. Mostly everything works with the exception of the SD card reader, Infrared and Modem, but I don’t use those and they apparently can be made to work. I have suspend when I close my lid and can also use Hibernate if I wish.
For my Windows Apps I can run VMWare and Windows XP and you could not tell the difference from running Windows on bogged down machine in my opinion. I showed a professor Office 2007 running in a full screen Virtual Machine and he was amazed at how much quicker my Virtual Machine was then the 2.6GHz+ with over a gig of ram computers in the Lab. I have a 1.7GHz with 768MB of memory. So you could probably run Photoshop in that, I’ll try to get a video cast up some time if possible.
Again, Linux isn’t for everyone. It does break and its quite possible that when it breaks that you could spend a lot of time Fixing it. I have had it break right at the most inappropriate times but, at least I could fix it without having to reinstall everything which it seemed like I used to do on a bi-monthly basis before.
Hope this answers more of your questions.