For any of those friends/family who know that I was the right person for them to keep as "admin" I have moved to Linux (SuSE 10.0 and 10.1). No new hardware was necessary for any of them (lowest being 800 Mhz and 256 RAM). New network cards required for DSL, that most of my family uses nowerdays, is badly, if at all, supported in Win98, but works flawlessly on Linux. My experience is that if you don't tell your family/friends that you will install Linux and not Windows they will take months until they have realized it. Its not that they are dumb, but they don't care too much. If you tell them beforehand, though they will rebell for no apparent reason (human behaviour, I guess).
You will find that there are a lot of people who argue that Linux best argument is that it is free, but that is not what I have found. Heres a small list of why I prefer Linux over Win98/Win2000 (XP out of the question of such old hardware), regarless of price:
- ssh: love to be able to dial up to their PCs to do basic maintanence. I know there are Windows tools to do this, but the command line is so much more productive over a slow network.
- smart/apt: being able to install/uninstall from afar is just great. Someone calls you and asks you that they need to edit a photo they used. Just dial in with ssh and type "smart install gimp". A few seconds/minutes later, tell ýour friend/family that they have a new entry in the menu to do the job.
- root: Just the concept of the system being true multiuser from the start makes my task as admin so much easier. Again, I know I could trick Win2000 to do this, but why bother if it is the right way in Linux from the start.
- security: I don't care if security is there because of better coding or because there are less Linux installs out there. My 2 year experience mantaining Linux can be boiled down to this: NO VIRUS/ NO SPYWARE. Don't try to convince me that there are Windows "tools" that remove this stuff, I just don't have to, thats why I support Linux.
- customizing: All, and I mean ALL who have gotten Linux installed by me love the flexibility to customize. You would not believe it, but most non-PC literates absolutely love to customize the colors, fonts, backgrounds etc of their PC. Linux (KDE) just rocks on these grounds. Ohh boy, I again know there are "freewares" out there that enable you to do similar tasks on Win98/2000 but they allways fuck up your stability.
- amarok: This is the killer application on Linux. Everyone I show this app to want to switch!
I have seen Windows 98 beening switched for Linux. Its true! As a matter of fact, it has been me who does it. As the support "specialist" for family & friends I often get asked to fix Win98/2000 PCs. Two years ago I made a cut and stopped supporting Windows. Yes, just as Microsoft did. Its not a "religious" kind of thing, its more about self protection. I noticed back then that fixing issues for these Operating Systems was not a matter of minutes as it used to be, but became a matter of hours and even days, often requiering me to reinstall OS/drivers/documents etc.