Hello everyone. I'm Ron. I thought I'd post for others who may be questioning a switch from Windows to Linux.
I am not a computer geek. Well, in my house I am but if I were in yours I'd be a noob. I knew about Linux through the Web while trying to get Vista tweaked on a new computer a couple years ago. Soon after, I needed to save an old XP computer that belonged to my two sons. They trashed it with downloads from places I'd be scared to go and, in addition, lost their XP discs. They had even managed to bork the BIOS which took me quite a while to get running again. I wanted to give the computer to my daughter but in its current state that was not possible. I was going to pitch the computer but remembered Linux. I researched it for a few weeks and downloaded Ubuntu. It wasn't perfect but I was impressed with Linux, nonetheless.
I ran Ubuntu for about a year. I went through all the issues many of you did when first installing a new operating system, something I had never even thought of doing before, and quite a few others that I created myself when I broke something. I then began dual booting Ubuntu on my computer with Vista. I did use Ubuntu but I was probably in Windows the majority of the time. There was something about Ubuntu I didn't care for. As I write this, I still can't fully explain it, but it just didn't grab me. The problem was, however, Ubuntu did show me some of the failings of Vista. I had become so used to all the virus scanning necessitated by Windows that it wasn't until I began using a Linux OS that I realized I was spending upwards of 20 hours a month just keeping Windows clean. The maintenace on the Linux side was nil. This really began to bother me.
A couple months ago I came across Mint. I downloaded it on my computer first and I have not looked back. I now use it 99% of the time. I really love this OS. I cannot say enough good things about it. It now has a home on my daughter's computer and even my wife has begun using it almost 100% of the time.
I know there are a lot of threads concerning Mint's "out of the box" configuration. Did everything work out of the box on my two computers? Almost. If I had to put a number on it, for both computer's, I'd say about 95% of the stuff worked. This wasn't an issue for me. I think one operating system on two different computers varying in age working as well as it has is pretty darn amazing. The issues I did encounter were relatively minor and fixed primarily by researching this forum.
I will keep Windows. I'm not a Gates-hater or a Windows basher. There are things I don't like in Windows (I cannot, for the life of me, get into the new MS Office suite) but I live and work in the real world. I use Mint because I really enjoy it. I use it because, for me, it is a better operating system. But I will continue to maintain Vista because there are apps necessary for my job that I cannot configure correctly with Linux. I will say that as good as Mint is specifically and Linux is, in general, I do see a time when Windows will not be necessary for me. But that has nothing to do with Gates or his company. I like capitalists. I'm not trying to change the world or anyone's mind. I just like and enjoy Mint and I'm willing to support it.
So, my advise for anyone who wants to try Mint: Back everything up (a disc image is best) and load up the OS. If you break something, apply your backup and start over again. There isn't too much you can do to a computer that can't be fixed. Use this forum. There are quite a few smart people here. Hell, I'd adopt Fred if I could take him off my taxes.
To everyone on this forum and the Mint developers, thank you for a great OS.