IntroductionA comment I often get from Windows' users is that they quite like the look of Linux but they also really like Windows.
A common question I get asked is "What can Linux give me that Windows doesn't?".
There is a fear factor that Linux is going to somehow ruin their day and they aren't going to be able to do all the things they normally do.
I have written an article previously which gives examples of how Windows' users can try Linux without messing up their current Windows setup but I think there is something that can help the transition from Windows to Linux long before an ISO is downloaded from the Ubuntu website.
A good proportion of the key applications used within Linux are also available in Windows and if the people wanting to try out Linux can get used to those applications first then it makes the final transition a lot smoother because instead of looking for Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Outlook and Photoshop the user has already become accustomed to FireFox, Rhythmbox, Thunderbird and GIMP.
Another thing a Window's user might not be keen on is filling up their hard drive with full blown applications that do pretty much the same as their current applications. This is where PortableApps (http://portableapps.com) comes in.
The PortableApps website has a whole host of applications that can be installed onto a pen drive which can also run from the pen drive without touching any files on the host system. What is more is that the applications available are portable versions of the major applications that are available in Linux anyway.
This means that a Window's user can use all the applications available in Linux without installing anything onto their computer at all.
Once the Window's user is comfortable with the applications they are using they might consider installing the full application on their main computer and ultimately become less dependent on their Windows only alternative.
When the user has become used to all the open source applications they will realise that they are now ultimately device independent and so whether they use Windows or Linux is entirely irrelevant.
At this point the selling points of Linux become a lot easier to sell. No viruses, no subscriptions, freedom of choice, performance, better support etc.
The other good thing about PortableApps is obviously that you can carry them about on a USB drive and use them wherever you go. Whilst I like to carry a bootable version of Linux on a pen drive I also carry a pen drive with PortableApps on it.
To download PortableApps visit www.portableapps.com.
You can choose to either download the menu and app store application or you can click on the "Get Apps" link which will provide you with a long list of applications to choose from.
The applications are split into the following 10 categories:
- Grraphics and Pictures
- Music and Video
Database Browser Portable
Notepad ++Not really a Linux application but for Windows users it enhances the existing Windows notepad by adding things like tab editing, syntax highlighting and auto completion.
I found it to be a good tool for editing XML files.
Microsoft Visio is a tool used by project managers, business analysts and anyone who needs to create process diagrams, network diagrams, flow charts and database diagrams.
Dia is a tool that has many of the features of Microsoft Visio. I have found Dia useful on many an occasion where I have had to insert a diagram into a software specification.
I am not really a huge user of Visio or indeed Dia but if you are a Visio user then Dia is just one example where you can become device independent.