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Should the average person use Linux

Update 03/16/2008: I have tried Linux over the last couple days to see how far it has come. I was impressed and for just surfing, emailing, word processing, music, photos and with the new Wine you can also run a lot of Windows based software. The Linux I am trying is called Ubuntu and I am really impressed with the progress of this Linux distribution. Checkout my Article on Ubuntu Link to Article.
You hear a lot about switching to the Linux operating system, instead of using Windows. I have used Linux a few of times, mainly Mandrake, it is suppose to be the most user friendly version of Linux. Once I had Linux installed, it was fast and most of the software is free. The installation of Linux is not that hard, I believe the average computer user with some knowledge of computers and installing software, would have little difficulty with the installation. That is if Linux recognizes all the hardware and automatically installs all the drivers for the user. If it has trouble with a certain piece of hardware, then it gets complicated. The biggest draw back to Linux is getting use to the names of everything. To be honest it is rather bewildering at first, rpm, drake, dev, mount, lilo there are no familiar Windows terms to relate to.
I have installed Mandrake 7, 8, 9, and 10.1 each version was easier then the last version to install and setup. I know quite a bit about computers, coding and installing hardware and with each install and setup I had to manually install drivers and software using the Command line or Utilities that come with Linux, you may have to install the utility. Linux uses RPMs, which in Windows would be a ZIP file, but you can't just double click the RPM and have it automatically install itself. You need to either use the RPM manager to install it or use the Command line to tell it to unpack and install the file. Now I found it challenging to figure out how to install software, thankfully there is a lot of help on the internet, on how to work in Linux. To install java for Foxfire was hmm, not something my sister would be capable of doing. I had to first find the right rpm, then download it to a folder, then I had to open a Command box and type in certain commands in order to install it. I found it to be interesting, but certainly not something an average computer user would be comfortable with.
I must say though that once you have everything setup and running, Linux is rock solid. I setup a Linux machine for Matt, he did not like it, but he did say that while he was IMing on AIM using Gaim, it would tell him that the file he was downloading, contained a virus, it is secure. Matt was able to mess up the user acct he was on and if you mess Linux up, I found it very difficult to fix. I ended up deleting the Acct and set up a new one. For the average computer user I have to say Linux would be a bit to complex to maintain and update. For the above average computer user, you may find it interesting and challenging to setup and use. It is a fast and solid OS and you can get a lot of free software to use with it, but it takes a lot of time to setup and configure.
So am I saying I do not like Linux, No, I like Linux, it was fun for me to setup and play around with. It would have been easier to setup and install if I had bought the Retail Software Package, that way I would have had all the drivers and software, instead of having to search the net for it. That is something to consider, if you are interested in trying Linux, you may want to buy the retail version verses the free download versions. But ya know me, I like free, lol. The other thing you have to consider with Linux is Gaming, if you are a gamer, Linux does run games faster, but not all games are coded to run on Linux. Although quite a few companies have produced game titles for Linux, I would check to see if the games you like are available before you install it. Mandrake 2007 is out now and you are suppose to be able to play most of the games that you play on Windows and a lot easier install and user interface. This Linux maybe the one for people to try. What the heck, buy another hard drive and install Linux on it, find out for yourself if you like it or not, I liked it, it was different and interesting. I will be downloading the new Mandrake 2007 and installing it, I'm excited to see what has changed and if they made the updating easier, I uninstalled 10.1 so I could install Windows Vista. But I have another hard drive I think I will setup for the new Mandrake, I just disconnect one hard drive from the power and the IDE cable and plug in another one, that way I do not have to mess with any Boot Managers, lol. So to wrap up, I like Linux, but I'm a Windows user for now, Linux is interesting and fun to play with and as a Server top notch. After I try out the newest version of Mandrake I will report my thoughts and reactions to it.

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