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

Peter Flynn peter at
Sat Dec 14 22:55:44 UTC 2013

On 12/14/2013 05:59 PM, Richard Elkins wrote:
> I have converted neighbors and family members to home-PC-Linux since 
> 2003, lately exclusively to Xubuntu. They were all non-computer-tech 
> people with various levels of experience and education. My simple 
> approach (like an interview):

This is an excellent summary, thanks.

> Would you like to
>   * avoid being forced to periodically purchase new hardware by the
>     basic software vendor?
>   * avoid being forced to periodically purchase new versions of
>     essentially the same basic software and office software?
>   * stop being tempted into stealing software from Microsoft and other
>     Windows vendors?

I doubt that would apply here; most of my neighbours and family wouldn't
know how to steal software, and perhaps not even know that it is
possible. But in many circumstances it would be important.

>   * reduce time dealing with spyware and viruses because your "basic
>     software" (OS) is being targeted by miscreants?  Linux like Android
>     could still be attacked but this is a probability question.  One
>     still needs protection on a Linux system.
> Nothing is "free".  There are ONE-TIME (fixed) "costs" in terms of
> personal time investment associated with adopting Xubuntu for a new
> non-computer-tech user:
>   * During the migration, stored data must be backed up from Windows and
>     restored to the new Linux system.

Not usually a problem, but watch out for foolish Windows applications
that store their user files by default in the program installation
directory (probably not under Win 7/8 but certainly a problem with XP).

>   * Learn a new desktop and set of programs.  Essentially, learn how to
>     go find things one uses and operate, in general, in a different
>     manner.  Change is always a pain.  Intelligence and curiosity
>     helps.  People locked into habits will probably not succeed.

Terminology is also sometimes a problem.

> Potential large hurdles:
>   * Gamers and XBox owners.  I said "potential".  If this is a teenager,
>     you can try to sell them about the rebellious open source
>     community!  (-:

N/A for me :-)

>   * Migration of Microsoft Office to LibreOffice - Fortunately, the
>     Microsoft Word-documents, Powerpoint-presentations, and
>     Excel-spreadsheets are normally converted without too many issues;
>     some will probably require some manual cleaning up.  

If it's possible to configure Libre Office to Save As...Office 2010 by
default, I haven't found it. Training is needed if the user wants to
exchange Office documents with others.

>     The big
>     obstacle here is the Visio drawing tool.  There isn't a way that I
>     could find to convert their drawings to be imported by `dia` or
>     other Linux drawing tools.  Mine too.

Save As...SVG from Visio. Import into Inkscape.

>   * Outlook mail/calendar/etc. - I converted myself a long time ago by
>     doing a lot of Windows and Linux programming which effectively moved
>     me from Outlook to Yahoo almost-equivalents.  I don't recommend this
>     approach.  This is probably an individual by individual solution,
>     assuming there is one for a given individual (no other stumbling
>     blocks).

If they were Outlook Express users, move them to Thunderbird. Otherwise
they're almost certainly using web-based email, where the problem
doesn't apply unless they want to use Chrome/FF/Safari to access OWA, in
which case they get the dumb interface instead of the smart one.

>   * Photoshop to The Gimp?  Photoshop is very complex to operate and so
>     is the Gimp.  I could not find a way to migrate one artist (my
>     daughter) from Windows to Linux because of this single issue (she is
>     already a Firefox and LibreOffice user).  I don't think she is
>     unusual in her disdain for large-scale change of habits.

If this is a deal-breaker, for the sake of $50, get Crossover WINE and
install Photoshop in it. Both Photoshop and GIMP are pains in the butt,
and GIMP used to be one of the most non-obvious interfaces I have used,
although it has improved marginally in the last 2-3 years.


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