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Journal's Journal: Girlfriend and Linux (Part 1)

Ok, here's the beginning of a saga that started Saturday. My sweet Sony GRX-670 that she was using for college, had an untimely spillage accident :( Being that she had college work due on Sunday and I couldn't give up the only other Windows computer in the house -- I needed it for work... I know, I know :| I had no choice but to give her Linux to use.

Notes for a later article:
  • Ximian Gnome won over KDE!: Ok, this is more my fault than KDE's, but when I first sat down we looked at both, and found Ximian easier (see next point) -- i.e. less cluttered. I know KDE has a lot of familiar windows features, but I didn't want to overwelm her. As she said, "Can you rename that 'Word'?"
  • Before looking at anything, I had to setup the Gnome panel at the bottom. I was disappointed to see the old wizard of Ximian 1 is no longer there
  • Started with Mozilla Firefox as the browser, but this had a few problems with the launcher, and you couldn't copy from OpenOffice and paste into a firefox textarea.
  • Ended with Galeon as the browser. No launcher problems and all cut/paste works great. It has a little bit of a performance hit, but a former windows user on a fast machine didn't even notice.
  • Used OpenOffice for the word processor. The main reason was for MS compatibility, but each day there seems to be a new problem: first couldn't find the thesaurus, then the cut 'n paste problem above. She wants autoshapes/word art/clipart for her tapography class, and as of 5 minutes ago the font color button is unresponsive! I think it would go a long way to make OpenOffice look and feel like MS Office. Say what you will, taking an hour to find something in the GUI kills user experience.
  • Tabbed browsing: She didn't see where windows were opening at first, but afterwards she grew used to it quickly. She's also pleased with no popups.
  • Web Browser User Agent: her college is ASP in all it's glory: make all attempts to deny non-windows users. Oh sure, they accept NS6.2/7, but those user agents don't match galeon/firefox/latest mozilla. Had to do a little fittling with galeon to get the site to load correctly. During my fiddling I discovered yahoo has the same bullsh!t user agent checking.
  • Opening files from websites: okay, her school's site is seriously starting to piss me off. They have this shared documents section that you can click a filename and open the file. In IE, you click an image name and it will open up MS photo (or whatever) and not open a second IE window. Still looking for a solution...
  • What the hell happened to themes for gnome?! Back in the day provided for hours of oogling fun, but there's hardly anything there now. is down, and google only turned up a few ok sites. In the end, I wasn't satisfied with the themes I found so we stuck with Ximian's Industrial with BlueCurve icons.
  • Xsane is giving me a red tint on all scans. Going to try some config tweaks... I have a good feeling that it will work with those tweaks.
  • Gimp: couldn't print an image (it just constnatly cycled paper through the printer without printing anything!). In the end we solved printing images by putting an image into an OOo document and printing the document.
  • The ole HP Deskject 540c prints fine, maybe a little slower to print a page than when with windows

Sometimes I wonder if any of these suposedly user-friendly distros would be any better, but then hey... they use gimp, sane, openoffice, etc. There would probably be only a few small improvements but most of the usability problems would still be here if they use the same packages.

More to come...

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Girlfriend and Linux (Part 1)

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