aes2011 wrote:With the examples you've cited, they're all around us physically. Users of Linux are not at all common. So I'm not sure your analogy is appropriate (or fair).
Of course it's appropriate and fair. They are all major decisions that have a massive impact on your life. Given that the average person is spending more and more time with their computer I would argue that the choice of OS and environment is of huge importance. Of course it is entirely up to you or anyone to decide how much importance is attached to such a decision. I spend a lot of time in front of my computers as it's how I earn my living and I also use them for quite a bit of play, so in my case the only four things that have had more impact (and therefore importance) in my life are my choice of education, career, partner and residence.
aes2011 wrote:I still have to meet another real person running Linux on a desktop. If I knew several people who had Linux on their PCs, I could go over to their place and check things out.
Well, everyone here is a real person, running linux but I suspect you mean offline when you say "real person" which is, as has been said, a bummer. I'm lucky enough to know a few Linux users in the real world but didn't get to meet them until I'd already been using Linux for a few years. They are out there, but they may be hiding
I've recently started adding a "Sent using Linux Mint" signature to my emails which is a great way to reach out!
aes2011 wrote:The shops that sell PCs flatly discourage me. They prefer to push pirated MS Windows.
I'm afraid I have to be completely blunt here and say that makes them them thieves and it makes anyone who accepts their goods (with such a copy installed) guilty of receiving stolen goods. I have no tolerance or sympathy for that. The fact that they refuse to use a legal and free alternative also makes them lazy and incompetent in my book. Please feel free to show them this post ^_^
aes2011 wrote:So I have to make a decision by reading what I can about it and because it is important and because it is a big decision, it's a difficult one to make.
Couldn't agree more. The only way to end up with the OS and environment that is right for you is to try them. Anything
tells you is mere opinion. If it helps, I was an inveterate distro-hopper until I landed on Linux Mint Debian Edition (XFCE) and since they added the "latest" repository it's a bit more suitable for beginners. But that's just my opinion.
aes2011 wrote:Downloading a distro (~700 MB+) maybe the simplest thing in the world for some people but not for all. Not everyone in the world has unlimited bandwidth, nor for that matter, adequate speed. So testing out a "few" distros may not be as easy for some people.
As has been said there are other ways to get distros. If bandwidth is too expensive then a couple of $$ for a CD to be sent to you is a viable alternative. As is getting a magazine like Linux Format which includes a ton of distros on it's cover DVD.
Gnome is dead. Long live XFCE