King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, May 15

The Microsoft Alternative

Back in February, I posted about a regular customer who downloads as much spyware and viruses as she can. Not intentionally, of course, but all installers from games websites. The fact these games are "100% Spyware and Virus Free" meant that they were ok to download of course, and so she did. In abundance. Last week she called me.
"This antispy spider thing is a pain in the bum. Can you get rid of it for me?"
6 hours later, 3 complete scans on spybot, 3 complete scans on AVG, and infeasibly large amounts of checking everything, and it was still there. I suspect it had replaced the windows malware scanner with it's own, and that's how it kept popping up with "Your PC is infected with Spyware, click here to repair."
I admitted defeat choosing just to reinstall, but then I thought "what the hell, she's just going to do it again." And so I thought what's the best way to stop installations. One word: Linux
Ubuntu is a widely used and popular Linux Distro. It is also impossibly far from Windows XP, and knowing that the customer would freak if it was too difficult, I tried again... PCLinuxOS was the next choice but this was even harder to get to work. The sound was crap, it didn't even have Firefox preinstalled, and all in all it was a half hearted attempt at a distro. Finally I tried Mandrake's latest incarnation Mandriva.
Mandriva impressed me. It looked quite like XP to start off with, but installation of the Redmond Theme and it was surprisingly passable. I had to download the same background, and icons for my computer/my documents/recycle bin, but after that it was really close. It had Firefox preinstalled, but it needed Thunderbird for emails, so I got that in relatively easily and even imported the files from Outlook Express (what a pain though. Having to import them on Thunderbird for Windows, then copy the imported results over to linux). The customer was used to Pidgin for messaging, and so it would make sense to install that, but this is where I fell over. I'm no good at standard installs for linux. If it doesn't come as "RPM" I'm buggered. And Pidgin doesn't. Still, the bog standard IM application "Kapote" did the job just as well.
She wasn't happy when I showed her what I'd done.
"How do I play this or that" she'd ask.
"You play it on a flash website. You can't install. If it needs to install, you can't do it." I explained.
"That's unfair. It's not because of them I have had 36,000 viruses. Honest. It must be just coming in without my knowledge."

Don't get me wrong. I will put XP back on, once she's learnt. By then it might be too late, and she might not want to move.