Linux for Windows XP Holdouts: Page 2

For those users still running the ancient Windows XP, there are some Linux distributions well-suited to help them migrate.
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This distro utilizes a simple activity-based layout that makes using the Linux desktop much easier for newcomers. These activities can be broken down into Internet, Office, Games, Multimedia, Graphics, and System. With each activity selected under the PCLinuxOS Full Monty desktop, the wallpaper will display the tools and applications needed to take on the needed task relating to the activity selected. This type of layout is outstanding even for seasoned Linux veterans as it provides related tools in one area, all within easy reach.

In addition to an outstanding layout, PCLinuxOS also offers its users hardware support and a rolling release. This distro will appeal to XP refugees looking for an “install it once and forget it” experience. Software stability is valued and offered over a bleeding edge experience. The general rule of priority with regards to updates are security, stability and then updates to commonly used software.

While PCLinuxOS may not have as many desktop packages as the alternatives above, its stability is the thing of legends. At no time have I ever switched someone to this desktop and had a call later on about an update breaking their system. I mean never, ever has this happened to me.

Now there have been minor issues in the past that were easily fixed with some help over the phone, but never have I had someone with a non-functioning desktop. I cannot say this about ANY other distribution out there.

For the XP user looking to make the switch alone without any help, PCLinuxOS is what I recommend. It just works. It detects your hardware and walks you through the process of installation. Bundle this with the outstanding community who support the project in the forums, and you can easily see why I consider this the "set it and forget it" distro of choice.

Puppy Linux

I know people who own older laptops that, despite being incredibly dated with their XP installations, still have working batteries. Unless you have money to burn, there's little sense in buying a new notebook merely for a new version of Windows.

Now I can't in good faith make the case that a casual Windows XP user is going to be able to install Puppy Linux without some help. But if you're a relatively experienced Linux user, installing Puppy on an XP box is fairly straight forward.

The release I recommend because of this software availability is Tahrpup 6.0 CE based on Ubuntu 14.04. What this means is that if you need to install software that's unavailable from the software repositories, you're free to install a deb package built for Ubuntu instead.

What I love about Puppy is that I can install this on older netbooks or even an old Pentium 4 computer. Considering how many PCs in these two classes came with XP installed, Puppy could be the perfect fit to breathe new life into a computer otherwise destined for the computer recycling center. And perhaps the biggest advantage of Puppy Linux for older XP based PCs is that it not only runs well, it also comes bundled with solid software that runs lightning fast on older hardware.

Once installed, Puppy Linux is easy enough that a person can become familiar with its inner workings over the course of a weekend.

Security Concerns

If legacy software keeps a user married to using Windows, then that's fine. But for the sake of security upgrade to a modern version of that OS! However, for casual users at home and small businesses utilizing software types duplicable on Linux, now is the time to make the switch.

The distributions mentioned above are easy to use, solid and provide an outstanding user experience. Whether it's a small business looking to migrate to something modern like Linux Mint or a home user who simply wants a consistent desktop such as Ubuntu MATE, Linux in 2015 is ready for the masses.

The key to getting folks off of XP is to realize that end users don't seriously upgrade their operating systems without help. This is why there are PC repair techs in most areas throughout the world. To get people off of XP, it's going to take Linux enthusiasts such as ourselves.

We're the ones that need to help folks evaluate whether or not they're ready to make the switch to the Linux desktop. Otherwise, it's time to get them to upgrade to a modern proprietary desktop instead. Either way, XP needs to be taken out to a field and buried due – at this point it’s truly obsolete.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: Linux, Windows XP

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