Introducing friends to Linux


I have the possibility to install PureOS on a friend’s computer (and maybe not only his) but I know he is not ready to give up his “comfort” and “convenience” for a secure OS. And so my question is, do I do good or bad by installing PureOS on his PC and all the proprietary software an usual windows user needs? I’m thinking that windows is more suitable because it knows its audience and thus the infrastructure protects it’s users in a way, maybe? Whereas maybe Linux expects its users to know a little more than that and so they just don’t “do” some things, assuming that no one will do something else because “by default” it’s well-known not to do so? Hope that makes sense…

I think this is a very important subject, and maybe a reason for you to create a separate blog post for it? Linux lacks information. We need information, step by step perhaps to educate and teach everyone (myself included :blush: ) on a lot of topics. Btw, I think people would love to see blog posts from Purism that would educate them, you could be the Digital Ocean of Linux (what I mean here is that Digital Ocean are the best in offering a lot of well-structured information and instructions that any of their users would need).
The Linux community has to grow somehow, so is it a good thing to make our friends and family switch to it with the knowledge base they have and the “dangerous” software they want to install?

You will ask what difference does it make? Well I’ll make sure to install the best free software alternatives to theirs proprietary (for example Librem Office) and teach them how to use it (btw a huge issue here are translations, a lot of free software just doesn’t have all the translations and so it makes it super hard for non-English speakers). They also will get familiar with Linux and they won’t be “afraid” perhaps of THE TERMINAL!!! I could see some reasons as to why to, but is it worth it?

Thank you very much!


I suspect that casual, mainstream personal computer users (ie. most people) would need a lot of help going from Windows or OSX to any flavor of Linux, and I think PureOS is at a point in its development more suitable for early adopters and people with a willingness to endure frustration and spend a lot of time learning about system configuration. I don’t think you’re going to do any harm by trying it out. If you are patient and willing to do some hand-holding, why not give it a go?

That said, if you’re apprehensive about it, you might try a “gateway OS” first. PureOS is built from a branch of Gnome. I was using Ubuntu Gnome for about 6 months before I started using PureOS and found it tremendously helpful.

I completely agree that Purism would benefit a great deal from a major effort helping potential mainstream users cross over. (I’m also certain they are aware of this fact.) As early adopters, we can generate a lot of content on our own and at some point we just need to begin owning some of the responsibility for sharing our beliefs, our knowledge and our best practices.


You might consider Linux Mint or a KDE based distro for that first taste. The desktop looks and feels more like a “traditional” desktop on a Microsoft OS than, say, Gnome.

Get them started with something familiar that will be more comfortable and intuitive to use. Introduce the security issues slowly, lest your friends think you’re wearing a tin foil hat.

My friends teased me about the “NSA bait” keywords in my signature years ago, but they haven’t been laughing at me recently.


it’s hard to find a windows software which does not have an equivalent in the GNU/Linux world.
Office -> LibreOffice/Google Drive/AbiWord
Photoshop -> GIMP/Krita
Desktop publishing -> Scribus
Illustrator -> InkScape
VLC -> VLC :slight_smile:
Movie Maker -> OpenShot

I think the issues isn’t so much about non-availability of software as education. People who have used Windows and the software that only come on that OS find it difficult to move to a new tool where they have to relearn to do what they already know how to do. I know of school kids that have grown up using the GNU/Linux environment and are clueless on a a Windows machine.

The good thing with open-source is that most of the tools are compiled for Windows and can easily be installed on your friends current setup. If they are able to wean themselves away from the closed-source software then switching to a GNU/Linux distro will be much easier.

Really? Maybe not in a single website location, but with google and youtube its rather hard not to find a tutorial/help, unless you are using on lesser-known software.

I self-thought myself GIMP/Inkscape/scribus to create beautiful brochures/pamphlets and other graphics for websites… all using youtube and google. I don’t think I have ever had to ask in a forum for help as all my questions has already been answered somewhere.

Today there are plenty of paid online courses (which is the way most open-source projects make money) and I would simply recommend investing in your money in these if u need to use these software to earn a living.