Converting a Windows 7 user to Xubuntu 13.10 & Miscellaneous Observations about Xubuntu 13.10

Eero Tamminen oak at
Sun Dec 8 19:19:53 UTC 2013


Some comments...

On perjantai 06 joulukuu 2013, raleigh rivers wrote:
> The way to sell Linux to the customer is not to talk about Linux, but
> about Firefox, because people recognize Firefox. It turns out the
> customer had indeed used Firefox before. I reckon 99% of her time on the
> laptop, she will be interacting with Firefox, not Linux and not Xubuntu.
> So why preach about Linux? All I needed to mention was something along
> the lines of, "oh yeah, no viruses on Linux," and maybe add that Linux
> is free. These are two huge selling points. LibreOffice covers the
> Microsoft Office angle, the last killer app in Microsoft's arsenal. Once
> people know they can open and modify Office documents in LibreOffice, an
> important bridge has been crossed.

You need also same fonts (or at least one with identical font metrics),
otherwise documents don't look good.

Btw. I've found Impress unbearably slow with powerpoints that work
fine in Powerpoint in Windows, no idea why.

Personally, I use LaTeX with LyX GUI, but that's too much to ask
from people whole accustomed themselves to using Word, as a typewriter
(doing formatting with spaces etc). :-)

> These two things together will
> convert a lot of Windows users, just not the high-tech gaming crowd.
> More and more, the only reason to stick with Windows is gaming, but
> that's a fortress that can be breached too.

Steam seems to be working OKish on Ubuntu.

There could be more AAA games available, and I've read (from steam forums)
that some games can be a bit more unstable under Linux, but things are

> I had to stray from the repository just once to install Skype on her
> laptop, because I know she will need it. Using Software Manager, I
> installed LibreOffice to replace Microsoft Word, which she had used
> before. I also installed VLC, if I remember correctly, K3b, and
> Ktorrent, because I am used to and prefer Ktorrent, and she might ask me
> a question about torrents one day, and I don't want her to be looking at
> Transmission while I'm looking at Ktorrent. I know about xfburn from the
> Windows world, but K3b is pure elegance. Xubuntu had everything else
> already.

K3b is indeed great and it has always worked fine for me.

Last time I tried Xfburn was several years ago and while it worked fine
with CDs, all backups it did to DVDs were invalid.  Somebody would need
to do quite a lot of convincing to get me to use it again.

> Some performance tweaks I made include adding "noatime" to the fstab, to
> eliminate unnecessary hard drive I/O,

It was many years ago when "noatime" made a real difference:

> and setting vm.swappiness = 10, which is recommended for desktops.
> I wonder why Linux distros don't already have these as defaults.

Everything might not work correctly with "noatime" and setting low
swappiness means that you post-pone swapping in problemic situations.
Post-poning it will mean that you get *more* swapping when system
won't anymore have other alternatives.

If the device has enough memory to handle all normal cases, low
swappiness can make it more responsive in normal cases.  Better
results you get by adding more RAM though.

> I could have set /tmp to tmpfs in the fstab, as well, like Fedora
> does, but I forgot. It was late. The only startup service I disabled
> was Bluetooth.

Traditionally some programs have stored e.g. download files in
/tmp.  That's not very nice if /tmp is in RAM (= tmpfs).  Make
sure none of the programs user uses, stores large (temporary)
in /tmp, before switching /tmp to tmpfs.

> Thunar is a powerful file manager, and I like that I can make custom
> actions. I made a couple of custom actions for my customer last night
> and feel they should be included in Xubuntu. One is "Edit file as Root,"
> although I named that one "Edit file with Administrator Privileges" to
> make a little clearer for a Windows refuge. Another is "Open as Root"
> ("Open with Administrator Privileges"). One of the frustrating points
> for a Windows refuge is how to edit, move or copy a file in Linux. These
> simple custom actions can remove an obstacle for them.

Why normal user needs to edit move or copy files as superuser?

	- Eero

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