A little history --
1) I use Windows 2003 at Office.
2) I have tried many Linux distributions including Arch, Gentoo, Ubuntu and openSUSE and now have the perfect windows replacement at home -- PCLinuxOS.
The day I installed PCLOS, I was so impressed that I decided to refrain myself from booting to Windows. However, I had to make a few changes to PCLOS to make it workable. I'll go over them one by one.
- The usual multimedia codecs installation. Though PCLOS comes with many codecs, but I was not able to play wmv files, so had to install win32-codec. Strangely, now Kmplayer was able to play the wmv videos, but it was not clear. A little googling made me install VLC player and I was home. VLC plays most files as good as Windows media player.
- Office. I am a home user and have very limited needs from Office suite. OpenOffice perfectly caters to all my needs. Well I cannot say the same for Office use, where we have to integrate all the documents with sharepoint, but thats another story.
- System upgrade. PCLOS uses synaptic, do I need to say more. I think after "Adept", from Kubuntu, this is the best GUI based package management tool. Windows can never come even close to keeping full system updated in such an organized manner.
- Internet chat. I use yahoo chat and Kopete provides a very familiar and intuitive interface. Two major issues here
- PCLOS does not have the drivers for my webcam, which runs perfectly in Windows. So If I want others to see my video, I have to boot to windows. There is no other way.
- The Linux version of Skype ( at least the version that comes with PCLOS) does not support video. I cannot even view others webcam. Now this is really bad.
- Web browsing. I use Firefox even on windows and PCLOS install it by default. I do not feel any remarkable difference between the two. The same extensions that work on windows, work on PCLOS too. Well at least the ones I tried, like webmail notifier, video downloader etc.
- Online Video. PCLOS has default support for videos from Youtube and similar sites. No issues here.
- Online radio and streaming media. PCLOs ships with Real player version 10.0.8 which fails to play songs from some sites like www.raaga.com. I had to search and manually install Real player version 10.1.0 to make things work and now I can play song from any site.
- Connecting to Digital camera. The moment I plug my camera ( Sony DSC-H9) to USB interface, I get a pop-up on the screen which allows me to view and download the images from the camera. The default camera application is digicam, which has basic editing features and the ability to upload the pictures to flickr. I had to install Gimp for advanced editing of photos, but normally I do not use it.
- I can burn my photos to a CD using k3b, well I must say that k3b is very feature packed tool for CD burning. I found it very similar to the Nero utility that came with my CD writer driver. All the interface, procedures to select and burn are very similar.
- Using Bit-Torrent. Ktorrent is arguably the best torrent software. I find it to be much lighter and less resource hungry than Azeurus and does not lack in features. Specially I like the ability to download selected files from a huge list of files in a single torrent.
- Games. Oh with "wine" I can play most of Windows games like "Quake", "Diablo- LOD" etc. However, Linux games are good too.
- Google desktop search. Though Linus has an open source desktop search in form of Kerry/beagle, but I have read at many places that they crash a lot and slow down the system. Again GDS is from Google and hence trustworthy. The search interface is same as that of Windows version and is equally effective. However, we do not have the cool Google gadgets.
- Citrix desktop client. I connect to my office computer having Windows 2003 using the Citrix client for Linux and have not encountered any problems as yet.
One major problem I have with PCLOS is, though I always keep my system updated through official repositories, many applications crash on their own. Kicker, konqueror and kmplayer have each crashed at least once. Specially the new kicker menu ( copied from SUSE ) crashes a lot, though it restarts on its own.
I am resisting the temptation to boot to windows as video chat is not that important to me.
I'll try to complete the remaining two weeks of no Windows on my home desktop.
If I succeed for one month, I might as well set a new target of 6 months. Maybe that will happen when SUSE 10.3 or Ubuntu 7.10 is released.