This thread is a lengthy narrative of my life with Linux. My goal is to encourage others to give Linux a try and maybe help them avoid some of the frustration that I ran into.

My journey has included testing of dozens of Linux distributions since 2004. Only a few rated more than a short test period. There was a common problem for the novice like myself. That was the difficulty of installing new software (called packages in Linux). It involved a many step process at the command prompt. Add to that the snobbish attitude found at some of the Linux tech sites, it was just not a friendly environment to operate in.

My first serious attempt was with Mandrake 10. Then came Redhat, Puppy, Linspire and openSUSE, and Debian. They all shared the original impediment to wide-spread use of Linux. You needed a lot of technical knowledge to get around the inevitable roadblocks that exist with any OS.

Then came Xandros 3.01. It had a large package repository. It also had a built-in AV program. Having used Windows since its inception, I thought AV protection was a must, even in Linux. So impressed with Xandros that I ended up purchasing the Version 4.0 commercial package. Xandros was the first Linux distribution that I used which any Windows user could use immediately and become comfortable with in a very short period of time. It was such a comfortable environment that I used it for nearly three years. Sadly, the Xandros business model changed. They moved away from PC support. The package repository aged. Many of the packages that I use often were out-of-date.

Where to next? Ubuntu was the #1 distro. I downloaded and installed it on several computers. After Xandros, I found Ubuntu to be clunky to use and slow. Sorry to the faithful, but I just didn't feel comfortable with Ubuntu. About this time a review of Linux Mint came to my attention. It was touted as a distro that provides a more complete out-of-the-box experience. Linux Mint lived up to the hype. From the flawless install to the update process, Linux Mint Ver 7 did everything very well. Anyone that is comfortable with Windows OS will be comfortable with Mint.

Linux Mint (Now using Version 10) is the first OS started in the morning and the last turned off at night. There are two computers running Mint 10. One is running the 32 bit release on an older AMD XP2800+ system w/2GB of DIMM memory. The other one is using the 64 bit release. Basic specs are shown below:

Release 10 (Julia)
Kernel Linux 2.6.35-28-generic
GNOME 2.32.0

Memory: 3.8 GiB
Processor 0: AMD Athlon II X4 630 Processor
Processor 1: AMD Athlon II X4 630 Processor
Processor 2: AMD Athlon II X4 630 Processor
Processor 3: AMD Athlon II X4 630 Processor

System Status
Available disk space: 409.3 Gib
A final comment about AV. I no longer believe that you have to run an AV program in Linux. A firewall and strong passwords should be all the protection that a home user needs.