Here are some thoughts that I wrote up as a follow-up to a conversation with Josh.
More and more of what people do on computers is moving online, which eases the transition to Linux. Two programs that are still nice to have on the desktop are Rhapsody and Quicken. Unfortunately, these programs aren’t available in Linux.
I think Rhapsody has an online player that’s so-so.
GnuCash is the best accounting software I’ve found for Linux. It’s more accounting software than help-joe-with-his-money software. I’m pretty sure it’s available on Windows as well if you want to demo it. You can import Quicken data.
I’m a big fan of what works. Every time I use Windows, I want to defenestrate the computer within 5 minutes. It works for a lot of people though, which is great. So I don’t go around recommending Linux to everyone.
If someone is a power user in Windows, I don’t recommend Linux. They can get everything done that they need to and I think it’s really important to have people around who can help the non-power users with their computer. If they really want to use Linux, that’s great too.
If someone is interested in Linux, I’m comfortable recommending it to them as their full time operating system as long as they have someone around to help occasionally. That’s usually me.
I definitely recommend Linux for computers that are old and getting bogged down. Windows just does that over time. So if you have an old Windows computer, have lost the recovery disk, don’t want to spend any money, and can get by without all of the Windows only software, Linux is a really great option. I use Ubuntu Linux and it has some really fantastic features. I should make or find a screencast of some of the things I like about it. (You mean, in Windows you actually have to put a CD into your computer and go through a 10 minute install program just to be able to edit documents? How old-fashioned.)