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What linux needs to replace Windows

Alright, that's actually way to broad of a topic.  I'll narrow this down significantly and say, if my mom (an average baby boomer user) or my sister (an average young 20's user) were to use Linux, what would they need?  What would linux have to add before they could use linux as a home PC OS.  A lot of what they need is already there, OpenOffice covers Microsoft Office  pretty well (it could use some more eye candy though), firefox I believe is superior to Internet Explorer, there are a couple media players that will sync iPods and such, bit torrent exists in linux, and VLC also works (see #3 below).  Although most 'average users' needs are met with Linux, there are a few holes that need to be closed before I could take away my mom's windows and give her linux.

I've found these problems (with their solutions) on Ubuntu and openSUSE because these are the two distros that I think have the best shot at being viable home PC OS's.  I know some people would disagree but last I checked these where 2 and 3 in most commonly used (1 was redhat--maybe I'll add them to this list later when I have more time).

1.  NTFS USB Disk mounting.  (see what openSUSE says about this).  Basically this means if you plug in a USB Disk (ie. jump drive or external HD) the OS should allow the user to access and edit the files.  Linux has come a long way on this but there is still one thing that I think makes Windows better.  Suppose a user plugs in a jump drive to a windows machine and then pulls it out or hibernates the computer before 'safely removing'  it.  The jump drive is then plugged into a linux machine.  Many linux distributions choke if the USB device was not properly removed.  In the case of Ubuntu, you get a error message saying (if you're using openSUSE you get a different error.  Pretend this is the error you got, the steps to fix it are the same):

"An error occurred while accessing 'My Book', the system responded: org.freedeskop.Hal.Device.Volume.UnknownFailure: $LogFile indicates unclean shutdown (0,1) Failed to mount '/dev/sdf1': Operation not supported Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use. Choose one action: Choice 1: If you have windows then disconnect the external devices by clicking on the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon in the Windows taskbar then shutwon Windows cleanly. Choice 2: If you don't have Windows then you can use the 'force' option for you own responsibility.  For example type one the command line: mount -t ntfs-3g /etc/sdf1 /media/My Book-1 -o force Or add the option to the relevant fow in the /ec/fstab file /dev/sdf1 /media/My Book-1 ntfs-3g force 0 0"

One heck of an error message eh?  The first choice works, although you need to find a Windows machine or if you're dual booting, you need to shutdown then startup in Windows.  Both of these are a pain.  If Linux were to completely replace Windows as my mom's home PC, there would be no windows to use so this option would be invalid. 

Fair enough, you think, there is another option.  Well...if you copy the command from the error message into the terminal you find it does not work.  It spits out mount's default help message instead (yuck).  Here's what you need to do to make the command work:
  1. Type "sudo mkdir /media/My\ Book-1" in a terminal.  Two things you should know about this:
    1. "My\ Book-1" should be replaced with the name of the Volume (HD, Jump Drive, etc) you are plugging in.
    2. You must have sudo priviledges/know the root password.  If you don't you MUST use option 1 for this to work.
    3. If your volume's name is multiple words, put a '\' before each space.  'This should be like this' -> 'This\ should\ be\ like\ this'.
  2. Change where it says 'etc' to 'dev'.
  3. Prepend the word sudo to the front of the command.
  4. My modified command looks like 'sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdf1 /media/My\ Book-1/ -o force'.  This modified command should now work, if it does not, try changing 'ntfs-3g' to 'ntfs'.  If this still does not work, you have made a typo somewhere, misread one of the steps, or I messed up on the instructions somewhere (add a comment below if you are certain you followed these instructions correctly and I'll fix the change).

2.  Dual Monitors.  This is pretty easy in windows, you can even set up projectors and such (although I've had problems) without too much difficulty.  It's just a matter of knowing where the menu items are.  Sometimes Linux is able to do this without too much concern, but there seems to be a whole bunch of different ways to do this.  Assuming you're familiar with what ever desktop manager you're using (ie. gnome or KDE), there is still a good chance clicking the right buttons won't work.  I think I managed to get dual monitors using only GUI stuff on the Ubuntu 8.04 (that was after I installed ATI's Catalyst program.  I had to do a search online to even know to try that).  What makes this more complicated is that it's different depending on what graphics card you're using.  I think this one is beyond my scope to fully explain, there are just too many different scenarios, each with its own solution.  However, if you have an ATI graphics card, I've already written a page.

3.  Playing DVD's/Codecs.  There legal reasons that prohibit Linux distributions from including certain vital pieces of software that allow people to play various videos.  One video type is the DVD.  Out of the box, linux distributions cannot have DVD support setup, however, they try very hard to make it known how to setup DVD support.  I didn't write down the place that showed me how to do this the last time I set this up on Ubuntu 8.10.  However, I've found a site that shows how to do it

I've tried to get this to work for openSUSE but didn't get it to work.  The next time I have openSUSE installed on my machine I'll have to update this section.  For now I'll refer you to a site that shows how to do it. THere are diffent instructions for a couple of different media players, I always like VLC but like I said, I never got this to work, so no guarantees.