A couple weeks ago, I posted an article where I've finally reached my limit of supporting Windows and decided to install Linux on a couple of relatives' PCs.
I chose Fedora 13 and I am extremely happy that I did. Not only has it breathed new life into these PCs which were at crawling speeds with XP, but everything is working much cleaner and now I can rest assured that they will be virus and spyware free for quite some time. I'm not going to forget that Linux does have viruses and spyware, but it's so uncommon that there's no sense in worrying around the clock about it.
In my cases, the various software that was required was already being used in Windows, with the exception of MS Office, which I have them using OpenOffice 3.2 as a replacement. There have been some minor formatting issues at first, with documents that were imported from MS Office. These will be corrected along the way as the documents are used. But other programs such as Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. are equivalent across multiple platforms, making the transition easier.
There were however a couple of issues that did put a bump in the road. One issue was a problem with fuse, which would cause access to the user's home directory to freeze the app trying to access the filesystem. Simply running "yum upgrade fuse" immediately fixed the issue, thanks to posts out there on Red Hat's bug reporting site. The second issue was with the DSL modem, which I found is a very cheap Motorola model (2210-02-1002) used by AT&T. The modem tries to assign a private IP address (192.168.1.64) to the PC, then switches to a public IP. Yet it leaves the DNS server setting to 192.168.1.254 for the PC. Linux apparently doesn't like this, as it will refuse to use it. I put in one of AT&T's public DNS servers and it was happy with that. Apparently Windows XP couldn't care less about this problem. But every morning when the PC is powered on, the eth0 connection needs to be disconnected and re-connected a couple of times in NetworkManager, for everything to come up properly. It turns out that there are some RFC violations of this modem, so the solution is to connect a router to the DSL modem, and keep the router running. Connecting a router is also a good idea for security reasons, too.
So in conclusion, here we have a couple of users that have never seen Linux before, were 100% accustomed to Windows XP, and the transition has been very seamless. They know that everything they need to get to is in one of the top menus in Gnome, (Applications, Places, System, etc.). To me the Gnome environment is logically structured, so I can see how users can adapt fairly easily.
Overall, Fedora 13 is a solid release, and continues to impress me the more I use it. I made extensive use of Gnome's new split view feature in the File Browser application, which is very handy. I also noted the very fast boot speed of Fedora 13, it boots faster than previous Fedora installations did. Great, great stuff here. My hats off to the entire community that is involved in Fedora / Red Hat.