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Microsoft recently quit supporting Windows XP and older Office suites. Most businesses and individuals will simply junk the old computer and buy a new one with Windows 7 or 8 pre-installed and use whatever word processing, mail handling and internet applications that come with it. Then they will spend many hours trying to figure out how it works and how to use it.  All in all, it will probably cost about a week's work and five hundred to a thousand dollars to make the transition. About the time they are comfortable with the "new" way, it will be time to upgrade again. It is an endless cycle.

Step Back and Think about this for a few minutes. Computers and technology are really no different from other areas of our lives. We must either take responsibility for doing things for ourselves or pay someone else to do them for us or do without.

Microsoft and Apple are both willing to do it for you. All it costs is time, money and a willingness to do it their way on their time schedule. There is nothing wrong with that. Just make sure it is a conscious decision and that you are happy with it.

The Linux operating system is an alternative for those who might want to do it themselves on their own time schedule. It is free, so there is no money cost. The cost comes in time and effort to learn how to install and use it. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Since Linux is "open source" software, there is no money changing hands and therefore no marketing effort. Most people do not even know it exists. The Android cell phone uses Linux which is why they are generally cheaper than Apple cell phones. Much of the internet runs on Apache servers which are open-source and free. Linux lives in the background because no one has any incentive to promote it.

If you decide to consider Linux for your home computer, the first problem encountered will be the dizzying array of choices (decisions?) confronting you. We are accustomed to letting Microsoft or Apple make these choices for us so it is a shock to find there are thousands of ways to do things right. The first choice will be what "distribution" of the Linux Operating System you want to use. There are hundreds, but two stand out to me as being ready for "prime time" general use. They are openSUSE Linux (which I use) and Ubuntu.

One solution might be to get a local computer shop or geeky friend to install Linux for you.

Once installed and running, the screen will familiar enough that using it shouldn't be a problem for those accustomed to Windows. In fact, it will probably be easier to use than Windows 8 for most.

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