when linux evangelism falls flat

I managed to put my Linux foot in my mouth. Bad nerd!

A few days ago I was having coffee with a few friends when the topic of computers came up. Now, this particular group of friends does not get together to talk about technology (I have other interests, you know) but various topics come up when someone is having problems they think one of the group can solve. One guy gets asked about cars, another about snowmobiles and I often get asked about computers.

The problem was a new Windows Vista machine that a friend recently purchased. He was having a lot of trouble: not able to get user accounts set up, having problems with specific peripherals, unable to get a reliable internet connection (dialup). Since I have absolutely zero experience with Vista, I could only speak in general terms about Windows issues and what I knew about the new security methods used. Naturally, the topic of Linux came up.

Someone asked me if I thought Linux was a good alternative to Windows and, of course, I enthusiastically shouted “Yes!” and began dancing on the table in celebration of another instant convert!

Okay, so maybe that was an embellishment. I proudly mentioned that I use Linux on my laptop and have the option set up to use it on my desktop. The follow-up question is where I really slipped in the cow pie of my own self-confidence: “So it’s pretty good as far as using different kinds of applications?”

“Sure is!” I said with a big nerd grin. “Well, except I use Quicken so I need Windows for that to run without major surgery. Oh, and I also have the TiVo Desktop to download shows from the two TiVo machines. And I guess I also use at least one video editor that isn’t available for Linux.”

I’m an idiot.

After such an utter display of failure I kept my mouth shut other than to make arrangements to go over and help my friend fix his computer.

But this really got me thinking about how I use Linux and how much I really want to get away from using Windows as the primary desktop in my house. (And I decided I needed to write about it after my wife asked me when we were going to switch.)

So I’m starting this week to make a more concerted effort to take care of those last few things that keep me tethered to Windows. Those things are:

  • Quicken
  • iTunes
  • TiVo Desktop
  • Video Redo

I’ve got a few ideas, but haven’t been able to get them going. I’ll try them out and post something on the success or failure here. Here we go with the next project!