My town runs Linux

re-using and recycling with the bakfiets Many of the key organizations I deal with in my daily life now run Linux on the desktop. First, let’s taken as given that I run it home and work and my wife runs it, too. Many other organizations in Richmond, Indiana have switched over to Linux on the desktop as well:

  • My church has three computers, one for the pastor, one for the office manager and one for the hardware recycling program. They all independently chose to run Linux. It’s a popular choice in the congregation as well, as with more than a dozen systems in use by members ranging from 4 years old past 64 years old.
  • My doctor, Kurt Ritchie, runs his business exclusively on Linux
  • My lawyer, Thomas Kemp, runs his law practice primary on a Linux-based groupware solution now, and travels with a Linux laptop
  • My grocery store, The Clear Creek Coop, runs exclusively Linux on the desktop. They bought a Dell laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed.
  • My bike shop, Ike’s Bikes, now runs exclusively Linux on the desktop.
  • A local high school, North Eastern, runs primary Linux on the desktop, as part of trend of over 20,000 Indiana students running Linux.
  • A local college, Earlham, features Linux labs
  • Local graduate schools, Earlham School of Religion and Bethany Seminary, also use and promote Linux on the desktop
  • A local computer store, System Solutions, has had a stack of Linux install disks to give out, and pledges interest to support Linux more in the future, citing frustrations with Windows Vista and Windows malware problems in general.

Those are the commercial desktop Linux desktop uses I can think of off the top of my head. Among home users, I’ve found that a number of people are installing Linux themselves now, from farmers to bloggers.

Microsoft may still have majority share on the desktop here, but in my world they are losing ground fast to the benefits of open source software.

Who has switched in your world?

9 Comments

My 78 year old Momma down in GA runs Mandriva.

My three sons(21, 19, 15) and me (combo of Mandriva and Xubunto).

I switched aboout a year and 1/2 ago.

My household runs linux. That's 2 full-time adults and some occasional hangers-on. The household has 2 desktop machines of recent vintage and a household server (file, print, backup, mail, intranet web server, git and svn repositories), a 1997 vintage P3/500. There are 2 recent vintage laptops.

In early 2007 there were 2 desktops, both ancient by modern standards: the afore mentioned P3/500 and a P2/300. Both ran Windows 2000. I had run Linux and written for Linux in my last gig (1996 to 2001) before retiring. The home desktops where Windows since 3.1 days. When I retired in 2001, it was Win2K.

When WinXP came out, I vowed not to ever use it because of the security issues, the phone home issues and later WGA. When I got my first look at Vista, that was the last straw. DRM slowdowns. The security issues were addressed by annoying users with "do you really wanna do that" dialogs. No, the underlying security issues were never fixed, just covered up with the dialogs, effectively transfering the security from the operating system directly onto end users.

In April 2007, the P2/400 died. I could have fixed it, but at what cost? Time for new machines. A pair of Q6600 based machines with NV8600 video, big LCDs and other goodies for desktops. I was able to buy them from my favorite WhiteBox maker without having to pay the Microsoft tax. I slapped Ubuntu 7.04 on 'em both. Sweet!

Ubuntu server was put on the old P3/500.

In August I got the two identical laptops, Dell something or others. I paid the Microsoft tax and ate it; Dell wouldn't budge on the issue. Know that I won't forget it either. Both never ran the Vista Home Basic they came with. Their first boot was with the Ubuntu live CD straight to install, wiping out the Vista. There was some trouble with sound and some of the non-mainstream goodies, the webcams didn't work well and the like. This all sorted itself out when Ubuntu 8.04 was released.

There as one Windows applications that we still run. Quicken is run in a Win2K VMWare virtual machine. Quicken just was too ugly, jerky and unstable in Wine in the 7.04 days. Though Quicken runs much better in recent versions of Wine, I keep the Win2K VMs just in case I ever need to run anything else in Windows. ... Hasn't happended yet.

I used to do tech support for friends and family. I stopped or tailed that off sharply, except for Mom (age 88), in early 2008, pleading that I no longer ran Windows myself. When presented with Windows problems, especially where big doses of malwere was involved, I'd recommend they convert to Linux. Most did. At this writing, I claim almost 40 desktops converted to Linux. I got Mom converted in September.

The local WhiteBox system builder is now offering classes in Linux and has set up several Linux kiosks for customers to test drive. He tells me he is selling up to 20% Linux boxes, mostly because they are "smaller", meaning less RAM, less CPU than what he'd have to sell a Vista user. Factoring in the license for Vista, his average Linux sale is about $275 less expensive than a Vista box. That's a big incentive in this economy.

Will I ever use a Microsoft OS again? I doubt it.

almost 40 desktops converted to Linux

That's impressive, Rex! Your story of the local system builder who is supporting Linux is also inspiring.

My home is a linux home. 1 laptop runnin ubuntu 9.04. 2laptops running a personal version of debian etch. the wifes desktop running openSuse (unfortuneately it also has XP in a vm due to some work obligations.) another desktop running fedora. on top of all that, thanks to some industrious ppl, even my ipod runs linux.

My parents also have an ubuntu (7.04) based desktop. oddly enough, my mother asked me to install it after she had been to my place and saw that she could play burgertime (used to love it on the intellivision. probably the only person i've ever heard request linux for games.....

forgot, my ps3 also runs fedora

I use ubuntu at home, except for the media server for my xbox, which as far as I can determine, still needs windows. I'm looking to get an aspire one soon, which ships with Linpus, but will probably have ubuntu netbook remix soon after arrival.

At work, the stats and experiment software we use are windows only, and there's no linux equivalent - that's a bit of a fib, actually. There is a stats package, but it's brutal to use, and my productivity would take a huge hit if I switched.

I received this follow-up:


I'm essentially "the computer guy" here in my community. I've given a couple of people Ubuntu, and I continue to support them. I'd really like to bring more people over, but I know I'm going to be their only support. What really concerns me is that I may leave and I don't want to see these people get stranded with Linux and no way to fix things if there's a problem. Can you give me any more information about how this is working in your community? How did this come about? How are systems being supported? etc. Thanks.

Here in Richmond, Linux and Ubuntu have been spreading not from a single point, but from many points simultaneously. Several people converted themselves independently, and have been spreading Linux among their personal networks. So there is not just one person able to support it, but many.

I personally support several people myself, though and I understand that I have limits to what I can do as a single volunteer. So I started a free Google Group, and let people know that is there as a community resource and they can ask questions there instead of directly to me. ( Although I may answer the questions through there. )

A number of people switched because they had problems with Windows, and had to ask for help with that, and sometimes pay for it. So, they don't expect Linux to be perfect, they are happy if it just has fewer problems than Windows, and are willing to pay for some Linux help (although I usually don't charge for this).

If I was gone, help could be found through the local Google group, or through other local Linux users. People at church know that several other people there use Linux, for example.

Finally, a number of users are comfortable getting free help the same way I do...by looking things up online. Kurt found and installed Puppy Linux. He loves it, and he doesn't mind that no one else he knows is using it, even though he's not a "computer guy" himself. Jonathon, a high school student, is new to Linux but is comfortable looking up answers and supporting multiple Linux installs for his family.

It's only a matter of time before local computer consultants officially support Linux for pay, but in the meantime, there are a number of people who continue to be willing to support it for free, in addition to the many resources available online.

I have been running on my laptop for 3 years now (without windows) and before that on my desktop for 2 years.

I started off with CentOS a few years ago and had a really good experience, but it was a result of a patient expert brother and being so frustrated with MS and, ok, an illegal MS install with WGA. I have since switched to Fedora since CentOS is still too far behind on a couple of issues for me to use it (printer and the like.)

I have two old computers (PIII 450 laptop and PIII 550 desktop) and one not so old (P4 2.8) all running Fedora. The PIII 550 is a home file, VPN, VNC and download server, while the laptop and P4 are main desktops.

What I find interesting, beyond all the "oh there he goes again yakking about linux" with rolled eyes is that at least 2 people if not 3 at my church use OpenOffice.org -- one because of me when they mentionned that they needed to reinstall MS Office (which I immediately surmised would likely be an illegal or at least grey copy) and I told them "oh go to openoffice.org, it's free, perfectly legal, and the only thing you need to do is remember to change file formats when you send files to others", another who had his computer cleaned up at a store, which installed OpenOffice.org, and I think a third person has been quietly using it for years after I suggested it a while back, since his computer didn't come with MS Office installed.

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