The ones who do switch over, I'm pretty open with. Generally, they're excited about what they see, and especially that it's free and in English (getting an English copy of Windows is pretty difficult). I say that I'll do everything I can to help them, and I'm generally on call 24/7, even if I don't want to be. In fact, I started this blog simply as support for one of my friends.
During their excitement phase, I caution them that something will come along to bite them eventually. There's nothing for free. The lack of viruses for Linux is in part based on the fragility of the ELF executable and the strong separation between user and administrator, but it's also partly due to the low market share. That low market share has its side-effects.
I've been using Linux for so long now that many things people want to do with their computers don't even occur to me. Scanners? Good luck. Webcams? I couldn't use them for my first five years. Sync your phone? What? Install a printer? Better check the hardware first. Some web page doesn't work? Screw the website, then.
The truth is that most of that stuff works these days. I've been shocked several times lately. The all-in-one printers are still hit and miss. Scanners are much better, but not near 100%.
Some problems my friends have had in the last year:
- The laptop won't hibernate (surprise!)
- My friend can't play his WMAs. I suspect that they're encrypted.
- TV-out on an old Radeon card didn't work well, then it didn't support widescreen.
- An MTP portable player didn't used to be easy to use at all.
The point I'm taking the long way around in order to get to is that I've recently tried to do some out-of-my-little-box stuff and have been pleasantly surprised.
- Suspend AND Hibernate both work on my laptop.
- My Xorg.conf file is no longer there and everything happens with XRandR through the System > Preferences > Screen Resolution dialog.
- Wine plays over half the Windows games my gal downloads and tries, though there is some issue with X and the keyboard not responding.
- I can exchange MS Word files with people and do stuff like add notes and track changes.
Sync'ing my Samsung cell phones, though? Get real. It'll never happen.