Switching a friend to Ubuntu

Bas Roufs basroufs at gmail.com
Wed Jan 20 12:43:46 UTC 2010

Hello Alain and Everybody

> >
> > Please any positive advice on what *buntu would be best for my friend?

Late 2007 I switched from Windows to Kubuntu. Probably I was a bit
more computer-literate compared to your friend, but for the rest I
recognise a lot in the profile in the profile you gave about him:-).
In my case, I knew already about 1 year before the actual transit that
I would switch to Linux. In that year I started using at Windows XP
multi platform software for daily use purposes: Open Office, Firefox,
VLC (a multi media player) and Thunderbird, an e-mail client.. So, I
was already quite experienced in that software when I started using it
at Kubuntu. This had made the transit considerably easier. Already
within three months, I managed to solve about 95% of the problems my
self and 3% via one or more of the user forums, like this one and 1%
by falling back on the Windows partition in case of need. For less
than 1% of the problems I need advise sometimes from Linux experts in
my surroundings - by example from the friend who fulfilled a role
similar to yours :-) The main thing you need to get between the  ears
of your friend is that a Linux computer does not bite him :-)

However it may be, I would advise you to take about 2 weeks time to
prepare your friend for Linux. As he is already using Firefox and
OpenOffice, he only needs to do one thing more before starting at
Linux: installing the Thunderbird mail client at his Windows
Partition. More info:
http://www.mozillamessaging.com/  Thunderbird has a lot of rough
edges, which is why I am transferring right now to Kontact, which
feels more stable. But Thunderbird has one advantage which is
essential in the situation of your friend: it can easily import the
emails, settings and contact persons from Outlook or the present day
default email client at Windows. The next step will be the
installation of Thunderbird at the Linux partition in whichever *buntu
distro you friend will choose. Than, you can export the mails,
settings and contact from the Windows to the Linux partition.

> If he is only using such a limited subset of apps it really makes
> little difference which *buntu you use.  You could download live CDs
> for Ubuntu and Kubuntu and let him see what they look like and he can
> make the choice.

In principle Colin is right about this. However, I would advise your
friend to start his Linux experience with a distro with some KDE based
interface: either Kubuntu 9.10 or the latest stable KDE version of
"Mint" or e.g. "OpenSuse". With "Mint" and "OpenSuse", I have no
experience myself. But according to someone else I know who is using
"Mint", that distro is quite user friendly and working 'out of the
box'.  However it may be, Mint has gnome, kde and xfe versions which
are all based on Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu respectively.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to help your friend with a distro you
feel yourself comfortable with.
> Changing his email client may well be the most traumatic aspect of
> this from his point of view so it may well be worth deciding which of
> the available clients is most like his current one.

I think "Thunderbird".  My transit from Outlook to Thunderbird was quite easy.
See above for the details.

Respectfully yours,


> Colin
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