Converting to Linux

As Windows XP has hit its end-of-support people are faced with the question as to what to do with their XP PCs. Some business users like banks or medical facilities really have no choice – they must update to newer version or lose their compliance. Some choose to continue running the XP systems which carries its own problems. One obviously being the end of security updates, the other that very soon new software releases will not work with XP anymore.

An alternative that will work well for a lot of home users and some business users is to go to Linux. It is free and if your Windows XP computer is still in reasonable shape then more than likely you can simply load Linux on it and get a few more good years out of it.

The solution works best for those that do most of their work online. Most websites and cloud solutions could care less what operating system you might have. The need to be able to work with Microsoft Office files can easily be addressed via the means of Open Office and the hardware supported by Linux is surprisingly very broad.

If you have any windows applications that you need to use they obviously will not work on Linux (examples – quickbooks, sql server which is used by a lot of applications). So with those one will either need to find a good alternative or see if the applications could be run from a server and accessed via remote desktop client.

There is some learning curve in figuring out how the new operating system works. Good news is with today’s Linux distributions one doesn’t have to know how to do programming or edit configuration files. And the learning curve going from Windows XP to Windows 8 will be just as big.

There is one potential show-stopper. If you work with any websites that require Microsoft Internet Explorer you pretty much have to stay with Windows. There is no Internet Explorer for Linux. It is possible to provision it either via a virtual machine or from a Windows Server but that would be a rather complex project requiring extensive work and possible cost.

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