Not many of my friends know this but I do use Linux and have a Debian Linux server running at home which I remote into (where ever I am in the world) using Xceed. Its actually one of the most reliable machines on my home network and its the one I usually hop onto when things go wrong with my Windows machines. I installed Debian more as a learning exercise, at the time (5 years ago) everyone was going on about how good Linux was and I thought I had better check it out to see what it was all about. Windows really didn't have anything to worry about in my mind Linux was still wearing the "geek mantra". Even though I like to credit myself as being a geek, I still needed a Linux guru friend of mine to show me the basics and help me to install Debian on the old IBM desktop, I had managed rescue from being placed on the skip.
Now 5 years later I have decided to checkout out Unbuntu Linux, would this be faster to install? Would I need a Linux guru to help me set it up? Would I have issues with network cards and hardware not working with it? The simple answer to this was NO! I was so amazed by how easy it was to install Unbuntu on my brand new Vista laptop.
The ease of installation is all thanks to to Wubi a program that allows you to install Linux on your Windows based PC without having to worry at all about partitioning your PC's hard disk and worrying about deleting your data. Wubi actually creates a Virtual Image file on your hard disk from which it boots Unbuntu, pretty neat hu? I must admit when I first ran the Wubi installer from my Window Vista install I did take a second look at the install docs (which don't give you much assurance) that I was not blowing away my Windows Vista installation but low an behold Vista still worked as normal...super!
The Hardware and WiFi
Usually my next gripe with Linix installs is the lack of support for the machines hardware, but with Unbuntu that wasn't a problem Unbuntu even picked up my Bluetooth, firewire and USB ports, now that's impressive. That aside my next gripe with Linux was the support for networking cards I have had all kinds of problems in the past finding drivers, but not with Unbuntu it picked up my Wireless card in a matter of seconds and then proceeded to show me a list of network available - great! The next test was to see if I could log onto my work Wifi which uses WPA which is hard enough to connect to with XP or Vista as it is. Unbuntu connected straight away I didn't need to configure anything all it did was ask me for my log in credentials and I was up and running.
My verdict is that Linux has finally started coming of age. Its seems as though someone has finally said "Lets start thinking about usability guys!" the older installs of Linux has always been more in "geekdom" we geeks always think that because we understand how something works everyone else should ... right? Microsoft has always had the leading edge on this part of the OS market. You place the CD in the machine and it sets up the machine for you. Linux used to have all kinds of issues with this but Unbuntu has definitely changed that.