Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting Rid of Windows at Home

Well after several years of trying I have finally got rid of all Windows OS machines at my house. While this might sound like an easy task, let me assure you that it was not. I am not an anti-Windows person but I just do not like the OS, especially Vista. Windows is just too bloated, slow, and costs too much.

I work in the IT field and can be considered to be a moderately experienced user. I have been using Linux for almost 6 years and have been trying to get rid of the Windows OS from my house for about the last 3 years. I have a wife and two kids, which complicated the problem as I have to satisfy everyone in the house.

At first I started using Linux as a hobby. I was fascinated by the free nature of Linux and quickly realized the potential of the OS but at the time Linux did not meet all of my home computing needs. Over the years I have always maintained a Linux box of some sort. At times I have tried a dual boot machine, a dedicated server, and running VMWare, both ways, Windows as the host and Linux as the guest and vice versa. No matter how hard I tried I just could not get all of my tasks onto Linux. Sure there were ways to get things done in Linux but sometimes the tasks were just too cumbersometo do in Linux, such as editing a video, or just did not work such as using iTunes.

Let me just say that I did not go with a 100% Linux solution. I got my daughter a MacBook for her birthday. She likes to make videos and the Mac is by far the best OS I have seen for makeing videos. So I get to lean on the Mac for some taks such as using iTunes andmaking videos. With now sellings mp3 files on their site, however, my use of iTunes has been reduced dramatically. There was a slight learning curve for my daughter and me on the use of the Mac so I took the Mac on a month long family vacationand forced everyone to get used to it and now everyone loves the thing.

With my daughter now off of Windows it was time for my wife. Of all the users in my house my wife is the least demanding. She just needs Internet access, e-mail, and the ability to look at pictures. She had been hinting to me that she wanted her own laptop, the kids are always on the two laptops in the house, and she wanted a really small and portable machine. Enter the Asus Eeepc, more on this later. It took me a litle while to get the Eeepc set up for my wife, she needs to input Japanese characters and wants to watch movies but after everything was working she is happy.

The last and finally tasks I need to do is DVD ripping, legal DVD ripping of course. I get DVD's from family and friends with videos and pictures and I like to put them in mp4 format so I can put them on my iPod. After much trial and error I finally got that piece worked out with the use of HandbreakCLI, again more on that later.

So now as I sit here that is no longer a Windows OS machine in my house. Well actually my sons laptop is technically a dual boot machine but that is only because I have no had time to wipe the Windows partition out.

I still have to use Windows at work, but as least I have a sanctuary at home :-)


McLean said...

Way to go!

I'd like to do the same but as you say, it's harder than it seems. I'm perfectly happy with running Ubuntu on my laptop but I can't say anyone else in the household has seen fit to want to do the same. XP is what they're used to and comfortable with, so as long as they're happy, I am happy also.

But when upgrade time comes, I'll be sure to slither in with my opinion... ;)

mv said...

I know what you mean mclean. It was a very gradual process for my family. I had to put them on Ubuntu machines and force them to get used to it. It took a while but I finally won, I think ;-)