The Linux Convert Corner


Share your Linux conversion success stories here! If you've switched your friends, family or workplace to Linux, we want to hear about it. Please post below! (This page originally started as an Open Ballot for our podcast, but it became so full of positive reports that we want to keep it as a permanent feature.)

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I've converted 2 people, my next door neighbour asked me to look at a broken laptop which had a dodgy keyboard and was full of viruses and spyware. In the course of fixing it for him I had to reinstall the OS but as he did not have a windows licence on the PC I offered to get him a copy of XP which he would have to pay for or that I could install Linux Mint for FREE. I said I would give him some initial support and show him how to do the stuff he used the PC for. He agreed to try Linux especially as I explained he would have a lot less risk of it becoming infected with spyware and viruses. I duly installed the laptop with Mint 9. After this I gave him some tuition on the basics and left him to it. I gave him some more support a few days later and installed some software that he needed to create DVD's. since then (and it's now about 6 months) the only other support I have given him was reconfiguring his WiFi connection after a he accidentally changed a BIOS setting (nothing relating to Linux). He has been very happy with Linux Mint and this is the only PC in his house.

The other person I converted was a friend with a very old P3 that had ground to a halt with XP and even with an upgrade to 512mb Ram would have been slow. I again offered to install Mint and as he had heard of Linux was willing to give it a go. I've since upgraded his PC and he is now running vanilla Ubuntu 9.10. Again fairly trouble free although I did have to configure his new all in one HP Printer for him as the printer configuration utility would not pick up the drivers and I had to download drivers from the net to get it to work. At least HP do provide support for Linux developers to create drivers for their hardware.

The best thing about helping others use Linux is as I'm solving their problems I'm gaining more knowledge of how Linux works for myself.

I've also had my failures, installing Linux for people after rescuing old hardware without a valid Windows licence but later finding out they have gone down the windows highway somehow for free!!! only to have to rescue them when the PC becomes full of viruses again.


Even if I'm a pure Debian user, I converted somme friends to Ubuntu 'cause I still think it's the better way to be introduced in this free and so full world. Now, one of them is yelling in his company to get a GNU/Linux workstation. When I began with GNU/Linux, it was almost five years ago, it was a little difficult with all those closed drivers. Now GNU/Linux rocks !


I converted a friend to use Linux on his server, but I've failed to convert anyone to use Linux on the desktop. Truthfully, I'm not sure I should try- Linux is still too rough and unpolished for most people, and it's hard to prove it's better if you're not up against users who routinely get viruses, or who can't debug their way out of a paper bag.

Lots of friends but the Enterprise is next ...

I have helped lots of folks migrate to Linux over the eleven years I have been using Linux. Over recent years, Ubuntu has proved very successful with most people able to pop in the CD and install it themselves with no assistance.

I work for a major financial institution and on our server roadmap is the adoption of Linux. I predict that we will be moving to zLinux at some point in the near future. Excitement lies ahead.


Built a desktop PC for my wife's parents about 5 years ago and stuck Linux on it. They use mainly for internet, email and occasionally working with photos.

Started off with Opensuse, moved to Ubuntu and now on Mint 9.

Few grumbles at first (they were no better using Windows!) but they like it now.

only 7 so far... but working on a couple of others..

My wife (PClinuxOS) obviously... doesn't understand my statement that other people are scared "what's the problem it just works.." yeah if only others would listen..
my 2 daughters 4 (PCLinuxOS) and 10 (Linux Mint)
My brother and his two sons 10 and 12 (all PCLinuxOS)
and a guy from work (PCLinuxOS)

so that's 7 so far....

Just me, myself and I

Nobody beside.

Done it in school

I have a friend using OS X & M$ Windows, I have convinced him that Tux will be better & he's using Ubuntu now, but like me, he's not allowed to install Ubuntu on his computer (even with wubi!) So he created a USB stick with it installed, he worked a lot on the painful Grub bootloader - getting it installed on the MBR of the stick. But he thinks Ubuntu is great.

School, home

I'm responsible for several folks coming over.

My colleague at work (I retired, but left him running a Linux thin client system which we built together),

Several students who are using Ubuntu,

My family including wife and daughter who use Puppy linux on 2 laptops rescued from the trash heap. My son who bought a Windows netbook but came back to Ubuntu after Windows got too slow and annoying.

yes, many

I brought FOSS+Linux to several schools in which I worked, advocate for use thereof in my industry (translation and localization), and have converted numerous friends and family who were tired of viruses, crashes, and paying too much for buggy software.

My Sister Runs Linux

I got my sister and brother in law to run linux some of the time... They have a mac laptop and dell desktop. They love their mac, but before I gave them Linux Mint, they hated their Dell. While I can't verify how often they use it (they live in the UK me in the US) I do know that they enjoy it when they do use it.

Technically my mom and step dad run Linux because they have android phones, but I don't count that as a real conversion because they are still mac addicts.

Converting the family, now workmates

The first person I converted was my father who got annoyed with his Windows machines and asked me to fix. I cheekily said I could install Linux for him. He was that frustrated he said "I don't care". So I did. He's been using Linux Mint since version 7 and is currently on Mint 9 LTS. The only problem has been getting wireless broadband dongles to work out of the box and has also required tweaking on my part.

This has meant he has saved a few thousand dollars as he didn't have to buy a new computer.

My wife uses Mint 9 XFCE on her Celeron 1.5GHz laptop and loves it. I did a dual boot install and XP hasn't seen the light of day since.

My mother in law uses Mint as well. It gave her tired old P4 a new lease on life and does all the internet stuff she cares about.

I work at a University and have been introducing the department to Linux. I'm part way through replacing all our servers with CentOS boxes and a few people are using Linux Mint on their desktops and laptops for day to day work, with Windows inside a VM for the occasional application.

It seems many people use Windows and don't like it and think that's all there is until they are shown what Linux can do.

A few converts

Wife, of course, and the kids never used anything else at home.

IN addition, my father, my daughter's pre-school principal, and a guy who worked for me.

Quite a few students, from High School through Graduate School

Although the Australian government keeps pushing Microsoft, the young people here seem to prefer Linux. I have taught many of the local teenagers how to install Linux and make of clusters of (older used) Linux machines. They have a regular game and multimedia grid going.

At the university I teach Media Technology at, most of the students already use Linux with most of the rest using OS-X.
The trend is definitely toward Linux when they see all that it can do. Of course that the nearby movie studies all use Linux (some such as Weta Digital nearly exclusively) doesn't hurt either.

I may have converted some of my coworkers to Linux but that was a long time ago. Essentially everyone I work with uses Linux as their primary platform.

of course!it is so easy nowadays having such a mature linux

About 20 persons in two years!
And this is just the beginning.
If they have powerful machines I install them the KDE, (they love to have different workspaces each with different widgets, wallpapers,slide shows etc!)otherwise the gnome.

Generally they are more than satisfied and after the conversion they contempt windows for being ugly, restrictive and virus-prone.


Aside from the 3 Linux PCs (VS. 1 unused Vista laptop) at home that my family all use, I set up a dual boot when repairing a neighbour's 'broken' windows PC. I'm assured it gets used!

As it happens these neighbours are quite active in the local school's 'Friends of' setup. I've suggested they see if they can get hold of some redundant machines so I can spruce them up with a fresh Linux install to be sold on. Users will get a cheap, reliable 2nd machine and the school will get a bit of ££. Everyone happy.

Mombuntu, Dadbuntu and some Friendsbuntu too. :D

I recently wiped off other OS's from my multiboot laptop. My desktop already was on Ubuntu as I am its sole user. Now my parents, who stick to using laptop are happy with Ubuntu - no issues at all and are pretty happy with its go.

My friends at college, couple of years ago, loved the KDE graphics and performance unlike the other resource hogging OS's. I had them converted to Linux, with multiboots for the least of the computer geniuses. :D

maybe 5 converts?

Firstly my other half has a graphics workstation laptop which ran xp, then caught a nasty virus. We needed to install linux on it to get it to work as couldn't be bothered to dig out and find the recovery cds. The laptop is basically crash-free on ubuntu since then, and wireless has never worked so great. She does get frustrated occasionally with compatibility problems with printers, and working out the way things are done in open office. On the other hand, she finds Gimp much easier. My dad also runs Ubuntu, and the only problem so far is he ordered a canon 3-in-1 printer scanner, which is as good as a big paperweight to him with ubuntu. My sister had to return to XP because she needed to collaborate on microsoft .doc files, which was simply not working on openoffice due to tiny cumulative glitches in the file conversions. Then I have a friend who's a neuroscientist in germany who uses opensuse at work and ubuntu at home. I don't think I converted him though... The last is an old friend of mine who likes to play with computers and has been messing with 9.10.

Yup, My dad

My dad bought a new computer with Mandriva powerpack 2009. He asked me if I could install XP on it. I said: No problem, just hand me the drivers disc and I will do it(Eheheheh, I knew there was no drivers disc). So, he had to keep Mandriva. Then, I´ve updated it to version 2010, and, turns out my old man is happy with Linux, and I have to maintain it very few times. Actually, just when I´ve updated it to version 2010. The rest, it goes smooth as silk. Great distro.


Everyone needs to find their own way to the one true Operating System. I'll proudly state that I follow the ways of Fedora, praise the Power, abilities and stability it gibes me, but in the end you only can become a true follower of the pinguin on your own terms. So it was written and so it will be.

A Few

I have changed my dad over to Fedora. He dual boots XP but won't connect to the internet with XP. Also, a coworker has installed Mint.


I converted a friend some years ago.
After trying a few he switched to Gentoo shortly after it came out. Know its me who asks all the questions.


When a neighbour's computer with a hooky copy of XP Pro on it finally went BSOD, I got it up and running on Ubuntu. Since then (nearly 2 years) I've enjoyed Sunday afternoons rather than nipping round to fix some problem. It does exactly what he wants it to do, the printer works and it sorts out the updates itself.
Another friend with Vista I think will take the plunge later in the year, she's going to trial Ubuntu on a laptop as she's not very savvy with IT at all.

My Girlfriend

After my girlfriend lost all her data on a corrupted vista install, i recommended a Linux alternative. Before i could actually set up anything for her, she already had installed ubuntu by herself despite my warning to avoid ubuntu. After ubuntu's last full auto update, it would not boot and she had erased her previous boot image from the bootloader so I actually took her laptop, saved all her work from a slackware cd, and installed Slackware 13.1 on it for her. As her desktop I installed Fluxbox for her and created a custom menu. She now uses Slackware with fluxbox as her main and only OS and is VERY happy with it. She uses it for everything, from home stuff all they way to her university work. When i asked her if she prefers ANY other OS or Desktop, she threatened me to NOT dare to touch her slackware :)

Apart from this favourite story of mine, i have in general converted MANY users, private and for business to various linux solutions, mainly OpenSuse for private/home, slackware for SOHO, and zenwalk/zencafe (based on slackware) for complete cafe internet solutions. When it comes to some more security critical related uses, i always install Slackware, opensolaris, and/or OpenBSD for office desktops all the way to SOHO internal servers, as well as live online services such as web servers, file servers etc...

Non of the people I have installed linux for has regretted taking that step. Sure, some miss the gaming issues, but thanks to wine, most of their favourite games work flawlessly.

My entire business is dedicated to promoting Linux & Open Source Solutions, and so far its doing great.

Cheers everyone :)

My Neighbor

After tallying up my neighbors $200 + for virus repair from a very 'nice' man, who cleaned up his machine and made it all like new. He got another virus. He again asked me 'what should I do'?. Now are your ready to install Linux I said. Yes he says. Two days ago he thanked me as the best thing he did was to install Ubuntu. This after 4 months

My Colleague

My colleague didn't care about software freedom, or what it was called, but was very interested to know he could have, essentially, a free upgrade for MS Windows, that did everything his corrupted version did. He'd seen me use Mandriva on my netbook in our staffroom one lunch, and assuming I might be a bit of a "techie" thought he'd ask me about his problem laptop. I told him to bring it in and I'd have a look. It was, indeed, very corrupted.

Ubuntu live CD provided the wow factor: "I thought I'd need a new computer!" he said. He actually liked Gnome, so there and then asked to have that instead of Windows. I further impressed him by carrying out a virus scan of his corrupted NTFS drive, before backing up to a portable USB hard-drive, and installing ubuntu - and all within a lunch-hour!

He uses Ubuntu exclusively now without any help from me. If anything, it just proves that "getting things done" is often more important than what tool you use. And when that tool is free of charge, free of viruses and easy to use, it's a no brainer.

My Wife

We have a desktop running only Linux (opensuse and Mint 9) and a laptop running WinXP (which is unusuably slow to boot) and dual booting with Mint 9 (previously Ubuntu LTS 10.04).

Initially my wife would always boot into Windows (to work with photos) but after a few intial gripes about doing things a different way, she now never uses Windows at home and has become a bit of a Linux missionary...

Yes - Mum, Dad & daughter

Mum & Dad are nearly 70. Built them a nice new machine & installed Ubuntu 10.10. Dad liked it from the start but Mum did not like the change from Windows XP. Last week though, Mum finally admitted that the machine was good - really easy to use, never crashed and everything just worked. She just plugged her digital camera in and it detected it, copied the photos to Shotwell which then allowed her to crop and print the photos.

My daughter (who is 5 today) uses Xubuntu on her laptop. Loves the games. I showed her once how to change her default printer to the networked one in the office. Next thing I know there are "Mr Potato Head" prints coming out of the printer, followed by little footsteps coming upstairs looking for the print ;o)

Yes - Partner and neighbour

My partner used to use mu Ubuntu Desktop for browsing the Internet, looking at emails and always used to moan because it wasn't Windows. After a year she bought her own laptop with Windows Vista and because her machine was sooo slow she asked for Ubuntu to be installed. About 3 weeks ago her machine went in for repair and when it returned, they had reinstalled Vista. She wouldn't use it until I had put Ubuntu on for her.

The neighbour got a really nasty fake anti-virus which somebody else had tried to remove and had failed. On top of that she was using a pirated version of Windows Vista. To make the story short Vista was shot so I offered to install Ubuntu on to her machine. She has been using it now for 2 years and I have only been round once to update the version from 9.04 to 10.10

Only One

My brother got tired of Xp slowing down. I installed Ubuntu 9.04 for him, and he hasn't complained about it, other than Skype not working when he upgraded. I run Mint, Ubuntu 10.04, AntiX 486, AntiX 8.2, and Slitaz on different pieces of older hardware. I started with RedHat 6 in 2000, and won't have anything to do with Windows any more.


It was 2.3 (whatever the latest Kubuntu 10.04 PPA gives). Unfortunately rebuilding laptop with 10.10 and HDD is dead so can't test it at the moment :(

I deleted the feed and re-added it in Amarok and it still only went as far as episode 24 in season 2.


My constant raving about

My constant raving about open source and Linux has helped to get my sister interested. She took a C programming class at university, so she's more informed than a lay user, she wants to try out Fedora to make it easier to program (It's the environment her university, Edinburgh, used too).

Well, Admit to not having huge success

Hello, and to answer in brief, I had about three or four people that I actually sat through an install (or a dual-mode install) and of those, I think 2 are definately still using it, but probably (like me, I'm afraid to admit) dual booting still. Elsewhere I have said that games seem to be part of their issue.
On the other hand, I notice that even fully non-linux users are using lots of open source software, so the revolution continues....

I do have two systems that are exclusively linux, and one is with a drawer-harddisk system, but the last time I swapped to a HD with debian on it, it gave some disastrous disk errors, and I wound up e2fscking the thing, with tragic results. Not a great loss, probably nothing much worth backing up on it (it /was/ about 8 years old).
Still, the RedHat 6 system does still work, when I take it out of storage.

Probably time for me to get back involved with the LUG again!

"There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands..."

yes, but ...

I am cautious, as I would always want to be available to help/advise a 'non-tecchie' friend with a new Linux installation. In fact, to be honest I would prefer to do the installation with/for them, so that I have a bit of prior knowledge when it comes to fielding phone calls.

Those of us who have used Linux for years can easily forget how 'different' Linux is to Windows, especially when it comes to package management (use your distro's repositories, and don't search for new packages as tarballs on the Web!) and driver maintainance (upgrade your kernel, rather than looking for new driver files on the Web!

On the plus side, I have had a good deal of success with family members, notably my wife and our parents. A couple of years ago I was issuing them with PClinuxOS; now it tends to be Linux Mint and the Gnome desktop. People like the speed and responsiveness (even with a little Compiz enabled) and the fact that they do not need to fret about security in the way that they did before.

I am also propagandising for Linux at my local computer shop, and I think I am getting somewhere! The blokes who work there are very nice indeed - and very experienced - but it is interesting to note how little they really know about Linux and its capabilities until specific things are explained to them. Surely this illustrates the price that Linux pays for the lack of any real publicity or marketing. If even these friendly, open-minded guys don't know much about it, I am not at all surprised that most people "out in the street" have never even heard of it!


I had my son install WUBI yesterday. Less than 25 mins. In another few minutes we had everything else in place. (flash, wine, wally, compiz, MS Office 2000, Wine Tricks, external soundcard, Chromium, firefox with download helper, reconfigured "print screen" button to use "Take screenshot tool", Skype and his game [Empire something or other II])

When I came home today he was using Ubuntu. It might be early yet, but I feel confident. After some time, I will set up the classic dual boot for him with his vista as the secondary system. (I will encourage him to keep his Windows as a trouble shooting tool. If it doesn't work on Windows or Ubuntu then the problem is most likely not OS related)

It's like when he tried his game on the WUBI installation, he found it to be sluggish so I had him test it on my Maverick laptop (which is less capable than his) and it worked fine. So we will eventually move him to the classic dual boot.


Just briefly to follow-up:
Thranx, I also find the "captcha" a bit tricky to perceive.
So what I do is click the icon next to the part where you can "request a new challenge", and usually the next or the next one will be semi-legible, so that may help; hope it does.

Registering does one nice thing: Once you login, you need not deal with the "captcha" as it no longer appears for your message entry. So, ...

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

Which is why I like linux.
Oh yeah, and like the guy before says about putting linux based machines in schools, I have also been part of such an attempt, with mixed results. In NSW, the dept. of Education has entered into government bureaucratic strictures and prevented support or opportunity for linux to be installed on the "computers for all schoolchildren" program, to their detriment.

Actually, I don't personally believe in computers or netbooks for schoolchildren as I believe it detracts from their learning how to spell, read and write, or even - god help 'em - actually think and do mathematics. But personal feelings and philosophy aside, it strikes me that insisting on an operating system for the sake of some sense of consistency rings faintly of Pink Floyd and "Another Brick in the Wall".

How long must we wait for real freedom? Huh?!!

In case you're checking up

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

It was Ashfield Islamic school, working with the Computerbank NSW in Parramatta, and we had several networked rooms, all of which were at some point freshly installed with Debian linux; they really appreciated the language options. 2002/3.

hey - labinnsw - bit of moral support

Hey labinnsw - can I ask where in nsw are you? Can I get or share a contact email/txt or something? Just wondering ... you may reach me via mihaly (underscore) k (AT) yah oo (dot) com (dot) au
Really, drop me a line....

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

Still waiting for the podcast to end

Didn't we plead hard enough? OK, I am down on bended knees with my hands clasped. Pleeeeaaassee...... bring back one more thing. Pretty please, chocolate coated please, with a cherry on top. Please bring back one more thing.

Yea Right

I finally have a spare box that I want to drop a copy of Linux on. The sad thing is the install hangs every time no matter the distro being installed. But Win XP went on it flawlessly. Live CDs run perfect on it amazingly. Until Linux can be installed and used as easily as the software from the Evil Empire of Redmond how can I convince someone else to use Linux when I can't even get it to run myself. Sorry for ranting but it just bites!!! BTW I HAVE RTFM and GIFY!

Mr. Antisocial Guy

Mythtv for seniors

I have built my 70 year old parents a Mythtv box based on a Zotac Ion motherboard. The love it and have gotten a removable hard-drive to allow them to bring shows with when they travel. I am hoping to install Mint 10 on their ancient dell Inspiron laptop sometime soon. I have an Inspron 8600 which runs fine with Mint 8.

I think the are actually more open to Linux than a 25 year old co-worker of mine, since the used computers in the eighties, an era when things change about every five minutes. The kid, on the other hand, used XP his entire life.

Mythtv for seniors

I have built my 70 year old parents a Mythtv box based on a Zotac Ion motherboard. The love it and have gotten a removable hard-drive to allow them to bring shows with when they travel. I am hoping to install Mint 10 on their ancient dell Inspiron laptop sometime soon. I have an Inspron 8600 which runs fine with Mint 8.

I think the are actually more open to Linux than a 25 year old co-worker of mine, since the used computers in the eighties, an era when things change about every five minutes. The kid, on the other hand, used XP his entire life.

No conversions as such, but still success

First of all, I installed Xubuntu 9.04 or 9.10 on my friend's laptop so he could try it. He didn't mind it, although he used Windows more often than not because Linux was a bit foreign to him and not what he was used to. It really came in handy when he unintentionally made Windows half-unusable by forcibly turning his laptop off (I later told him this was a bad idea), as it meant he still had a working operating system, and fairly easy to use once he'd spent some time with it.

Next I installed Ubuntu 10.04 on my mum's laptop because Windows Vista was playing up. It was good overall, but the problem was that she couldn't input accents as easily as with Windows (she is learning to speak Spanish), and the driver I found for the printer after a LOT of searching was rubbish anyway - it would eat up too much ink (regardless of economy settings), and it printed too high on the paper, so in OO you would have to lower the top margin to compensate.

My sister, on the other hand, inherited that laptop, and because she's not a linguist and has an older printer, she was fine with it. There were wireless problems recently, where NetworkManager said "device not ready" (I'm guessing it was the driver), so she had to use an Ethernet cable. However, this problem seems to have spontaneously solved itself, possibly as a result of an update, but I'm not totally sure.

Can I add another??

Someone in the village just bought a netbook which he pleaded with me to scrub the XP from and it's four bloody partitions, thank you Asus, now it has Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition and he is a happy bunny, he's never liked Microparp and uses Apple stuff but wanted something small to carry abroad

Converted > Failed

Wife, daughter and sister + am teaching ubuntu at a local senior citizen center + and co lead a SIG in the local computer club.
Am on the second class and when finished there will be 13 who have completed the intro sessions.
The SIG has 6 regulars and 4 occasional attendees. We cover anything from newbies on the desktop to simple command line usage.

daugter, son and sisterinlaw(not really)

My daugher has a windows vista laptop it just really never worked fast enough(1.5 minutes or longer to open a browser window). I installed Ubuntu and she has been using it for 3 years. My son dual boots he likes games. Most of time in Ubuntu. My sisterinlaw had a system error and was unable to boot in to her computer. I sent her an ubuntu live cd and explained over the phone how to mount the windows partition so she could at least get the data back. then she bought a mac.


I've converted several family members, including my mother, who has had no problems in the two years she's been running ubuntu netbook remix. My sister now uses ubuntu for everything (after a slew of viruses in vista).
Also a few friends who aren't necessarily computing enthusiasts, but are simply looking for an escape from "the monopoly", have made the transition.

I find a nice little technique is to leave boot discs in technical books about windows.

Limited success

I have converted my wife to Linux, starting her on Ubuntu 8.04 LTS. She initially wasn't sure about running Ubuntu as her primary desktop, but now she likes it. I also bought her a Netbook (which came preloaded with Ubuntu), which she loves. Both of her PCs are now running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

I've been running Linux on my desktop since 2001. Started with Debian, now running Ubuntu. I've also got a Linux file server and a media center server running Mythbuntu. My wife and I both have Android phones (currently running Froyo).

I switched my Dad & Mom over to Ubuntu (also started them on 8.04 LTS, now upgraded to 10.04 LTS). Since they've been running Ubuntu, my long-distance tech support has been less than when they ran MS Windows.

Yes..well...not gentoo or anything really cool

Brother in law got new quad core with vista a year ago. He had seen slackware running kde on my desktop, and I suggested running Ubuntu. I installed it for him-he asked to hand the whole drive to ubuntu so i did. He just went out last month and got a 10.10 disk in a magazine and installed that with no help.

My wife runs 10.10 dual boot on laptop. She uses windows 7 for work but likes to boot into linux to use gimp and inkscape for fun...

more then 10 people

I have converted more then 10 people to linux

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