I am sure that a lot of people here are often in the same position as me. (People think of you as the computer guy, or computer girl for that matter). So they often come up to you with questions or for assistance in getting their first computer. Use that opportunity to introduce them to operating systems besides Microsoft Windows. It is much easier to teach someone who knows nothing than it is to convert the average windows user once they become dependant on Microsoft.
Give em FreeBSD, Linux, BeOS, or QNX right off the bat. They will thank you later on. Explain to them that programs for a Windows computer cost money, and programs for their computer are free for the most part.
Here are a few examples from my own life.
My aunt and uncle use BeOS, it is all they have ever known and they love it.
A couple of years ago I worked in a small restaurant. When I started there none of the 12 employees, (except me), had a computer. When I left they almost all did, and everyone of them was using Redhat Linux. The stability of Linux is great for new users. (Plus it is hard for them to hork over their box when they don't even know the root password). There was an added bonus in that Linux is free so I did not have to spend money on Windows CDs for each one of them when I sold them their computers.
Bill, (a current co-worker), came to me with a Pentium 100 that he received for free. He wanted me to get him "hooked up on that internet". So I whipped out my trusty QNX CD and set him up. (I picked QNX because of its excellent performance on slower PCs).
Save money and do the right thing by introducing new users to alternative operating systems, (before it is too late).
In response to several people.
When someone with no computer knowledge comes to me looking for a computer that doesn't automatically mean a Windows computer. I doubt you would bother to try and explain the alternatives to someone you were setting up with a windows pc, (if you were the type of person who liked windows). So why should I act any different. I choose the OS based on what would best suit the needs of the person. I have sold windows computers to 3 people. (2 of them wanted AOL, and the other was a big playstation fan, so I figured he would enjoy the large variety of games for windows).
If someone uses Windows at the office, than that is what they will want at home too, (no disagreement on that point). This node is much more about what to do when Aunt Betty, cousin Bob, or Jim the pizza guy comes to you for help with their first computer. The vast majority of computer users only use their web browser and Solitaire.
< ************** the great self imposed rewrite***************
A very wise editor had started to audit me, and I quickly realized (from his msgs), that I have a lot more bad nodes then I thought. So I am going to rewrite almost all of my nodes (at least the first 500 or so). I will starting at my very first node, and redoing them in order. I will list them here as I redo them. Even my best nodes could probably use a bit of work. So I will leave no node unturned (except my daylogs, which I will simply spellcheck). Comments with stars next to apply to this writeup.
This node was
untouched by human hands
at server time
Friday, March 29, 2002 at 09:53:45