Can I live without Microsoft?

So I’m seriously considering switching our two home computers to Linux. I’m sick of paying huge prices for basic software. And since I’m no longer a poor college student, I can’t use that excuse to run unlicensed stuff. But when you combine the costs of Windows (I’m sure the new version won’t be cheap) and Office (again, new $300+ version coming out), I can’t afford to own a computer with up-to-date software.

It’s been a while since I used Linux — probably six years or so. Back then it was just a dual-boot toy that I used until I got sick of trying to get by with the available Linux word processing software. I’m not at all familiar with the current breed of Linux packages. But I also know I’m way behind the cutting edge on this now, and it shouldn’t be hard to find a good installation and get it working on these two computers.

The first move I’ve made is to install Firefox and stop using IE. I’ve done that at work, too. It’s not just the tabbed browsing and the banner ad deletion plugin — it’s partially just the fact that I’m using a good, solid browser that wasn’t made by M$. IE does seem a touch faster than Firefox both on initial load and on page loads, but I might be wrong. If it is slower, it’s not really a deal breaker. I really like Firefox.

I have to check out a few more things, first. One is the syncing between my Dell PDA and Linux.
I’d also like to try OpenOffice on Windows before I jump off and commit to using the Linux version. I know I’ll lose Streets and Trips (which I use only for the GPS on road trips). My TV program will probably not work. But otherwise, I think most things can be done with comparable (and open-source) software on the Linux side. I guess I could leave Windows installed, too, just in case I need it, but I’d like to avoid that.

More later…

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