I'm glad to say that my wife is a huge Linux fan. Originally, my wife was like most PC users, and had been using Windows exclusively - mostly to write her thesis and check email. But by 2000, she had finally become fed up with Microsoft and continual problems with Windows (I spent many sleepless nights doing "tech support" to recover Windows after it crashed, while my wife was writing her Master's thesis.) So decided to give Linux a try. Her first Linux distro was Red Hat 7, and we've upgraded her as each new release has come out. She's been a Linux devotee ever since!
In fact, this is my wife's second Linux laptop. It's a Lenovo ThinkPad T43:
- Intel Centrino / Intel Pentium M 750 1.86 GHz CPU
- 512 MB memory
- 60 GB - 5400 rpm hard drive
- CD-RW / DVD-ROM combo drive
- 14.1" TFT active matrix XGA (1024 x 768) - 24-bit (16.7 million colors)
- Intel GMA 900 graphics
- Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG network
Live USB made installation a snap! Simply boot the laptop from USB, and open the "Install to Hard Drive" icon. The install process was easy, and fast!
Once installed, Fedora 11 takes less than a minute to boot on this older Thinkpad. And everything just worked, with no tweaking, including wireless networking and the graphics.
The user environment is great. The web browser is Firefox 3.5 beta4. Yes, it's a beta version, but it seems to be very solid. We hit all the web sites my wife usually visits, and no problems. Actually, it seems a bit faster with the new Firefox, but it's hard to tell.
Thunderbird (email client) isn't installed by default, but I think that's been the base for the last few versions of Fedora. They give you Evolution by default. While I prefer using a webmail interface to access my email, but my wife really likes Thunderbird. A few clicks under "Administration" - "Add/Remove Software" and we were up and running with Thunderbird, no reboots required.
Since this is the "Live CD" edition (key phrase being "CD", about 700MB) you don't have OpenOffice installed by default. Instead, they give you AbiWord, which is a much smaller Word-like program. I asked my wife if she wanted me to install OpenOffice for her, but she had already opened up her old thesis documents (as a test) and said that was working fine, and more than enough for her. She is not a "power user" so I doubt my wife notices the difference between AbiWord and OpenOffice Writer.
All in all, Fedora 11 is a great upgrade. There are lots of changes "under the hood" for those (like me) who are interested in such things. General users will notice a few cosmetic changes going from Fedora 10 to Fedora 11, especially when booting. For example: Under Fedora 10, graphical boot had just been re-written and didn't work everywhere, so most systems booted in a sort of text-mode interface. But with Fedora 11, graphical boot now supports almost all video cards, so looks much better.