I have been a Windows user for many many years, going back to Windows 3.1. I always shunned Apple because of the ridiculous cost, and frankly the elitist arrogance of its users. I always felt that Windows (ironically, because of its monopoly) left less chance of compatibility issues with other users, and more choices in terms of software. Over the years, I grew to dislike Microsoft as a company. Yet when it came down to it, Windows was my security blanket - a familiar place that I felt safe.
About seven years ago was my first experience with Linux, specifically Ubuntu. Through virtualization (VirtualBox always worked best for me) I was able to explore this operating system. My first impression was one of much confusion. Of course, it was a completely new element that was quite intimidating. The fact that so much was done through the command line really scared me. It didn't take long for me to just forget about it and move on with Windows.
Through some life circumstances, I had to make a drastic career change, which ultimately lead me into the IT field. For almost two years, I was out of work. During this time, I went to school and acquired some certs.
But I also became obsessed with Linux. It actually started with Ubuntu Studio 10.10. Being a musician and amateur recording engineer, I found it amazing that this capability was available for free. Again, it was somewhat intimidating, but at the same time, exciting. I learned so much about Linux from this experience. And I couldn't get over the fact that it could do what I had spent so much money in software to do - FOR FREE!
This snowballed into an unhealthy obsession of trying out every Linux distro that I could. I tried Ubuntu (and the official variants Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu), Zorin OS, Mint, Debian, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva, etc. And no matter which ones I try, I always come back to Zorin OS. It's not because it is the most Windows-like (which is nice), but it's the fastest and most stable, and in my opinion, the best out of the box with its combination of features and apps.
Now that I have become free tech support for all of family and friends, I have replaced many infected/bloated/corrupted Windows systems with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate, and every one of them is so happy now. If I leave the default Windows 7 interface, the transition is so stupid simple for them.
One such friend recently called because he could not get NetFlix to work. I told him that he would have to go back to Windows. He flat out refused, and was willing to cancel his NetFlix instead.
For a family member that has a bunch of snotty Mac-user friends/clients, I gave her Zorin OS 5 Ultimate with the Mac OS look, and even added the Mac OS X Lion theme/icons. Her friends/clients cannot believe it. It looks like a Mac, but says Toshiba on the outside. There are so many of these stories from all of my family and friends that I have converted to Linux.
I am now using Zorin OS 5 Ultimate as the OS on my personal laptop, as well as on my personal home file/print server. Although I still work in a Microsoft environment, I use a Dell laptop loaded with Zorin OS 5 Ultimate to do everything.
I cannot wait for Zorin OS 6 Ultimate. I will happily pay for the work that is put into such a fabulous distro.
This is a guest post by Joe Chang, which won the 5th prize in the joint Zorin OS contest.