by Paul Arnote (parnote)
It's no secret that Windows XP reached its end of life on April 8, as Microsoft withdrew support for its aging (yet still popular) operating system. That means after April 8, 2014, there will be no more security patches or updates for Windows XP. Of course, this could increase the vulnerability of remaining XP users to viruses and other forms of vicious malware. With Microsoft no longer offering support, hackers and virus writers should have a field day exploiting any remaining security holes in the OS ... and it has as many security holes as a block of Swiss cheese.
Wallpaper downloadable from here.
The sun had barely set on XP when ... FINALLY ... Linux received some very favorable press in the mainstream media the very next day. Say what? Yep. In the mainstream media. And not just any mainstream media outlet. The New York Times! It's really not unusual to see Linux grab some headlines in the computer and IT press. But it really is very rare to see any mention of Linux in the mainstream media. The only thing missing from the article was mention of our favorite Linux distro.
And why shouldn't Linux finally receive some favorable press? After all, people use it every single day, without even realizing it. It forms the basis for their Android phones and tablets. It provides the interface for their set top DVD players. It supplies the basis for the option menus of their television sets. It powers their ebook readers. Of course, for us around here, it serves as the foundation for our computers.
With an estimated 24 million Windows XP users, coupled with the end of support for Windows XP, there is a HUGE opportunity for Linux to not only increase its numbers, but to remain in the headlines. Linux offers perfect asylum to Windows XP users, freeing them from the endless attacks on their now-more-vulnerable-than-ever operating system. Plus, there are a lot of choices for XP users to install Linux on their aging computers, especially since Linux runs well on older hardware.
Already, I've started seeing Windows XP refugees in the PCLinuxOS forum. They are seeking out a long term solution to the lack of support for their favored operating system. Indeed, a lot of Windows XP users remain somewhat confused by the end of XP support, despite all the hoopla surrounding its demise. Even my best friend, one of those 24 million Windows XP holdouts, asked me if it was ok for him to turn on his laptop. I assured him that he was protected and fine -- for the moment -- and to go ahead and do what he needed to do. I reminded him that we'd be installing a version of PCLinuxOS on his computer very soon. He is very agreeable to having PCLinuxOS on his computer, and has put his full faith and trust in me to help provide him with a safe computing environment.
As such, we need to be ever vigilant to help these Windows XP refugees -- now new Linux users -- to find their way around. Yes, it may mean answering those same questions we have all answered 1,000 times before, several more times. For as quick as we are to tell new users that Linux is not Windows, it's just as important for us to remember that very same thing as we help these new users along. We were all "new Linux users" at one time, ourselves. Forget about "paying dues." If we can make their transition to Linux that much easier, we'll have gained loyal users who were just as loyal to their beloved Windows XP.
The opportunity for Linux growth is as ripe now as it ever has been. The "death" of Windows XP, coupled with the lackluster reception of Windows 8, now should be the perfect opportunity for Linux to catapult into the mainstream computing world. Apple has priced the Mac OS-X systems out of reach of most users. Plus, XP users see no reason to replace their hardware that has -- and continues to -- serve them well. Linux is as good of a fit as a hand in a custom made glove.
If you are one of those Windows XP refugees ... welcome to PCLinuxOS! Please check out the Windows Migration Guide Special Edition of The PCLinuxOS Magazine. We think it will help you make the transition to PCLinuxOS.
Maybe ... just maybe ... 2014 will be the year of the Linux desktop.