My wife has just finished installing Ubuntu 8.04 on her T61.
A few years ago I decided that I should not try to persuade friends/family to use Linux but I will tell them about the benefits if they show any interest. I think it should come from them - people should install it whenever (if) they are ready to do it.
My wife insisted to do it on her own. She's a pretty technical person and when it comes to computers - she knows her way around.
She did it on her own while I sat near by, waiting for that moment I'll have to come and help her install some drivers or fix something. After 20 minutes she had a working Ubuntu installation and I was still sitting at the same spot.
Connecting to the encrypted wireless network in our house was easy enough. The network connection wizard worked well (I remember that in 7.10 it was still very buggy).
First thing she wanted to do after installation is change the background with the ugly bird.
I gave her the gnome-arts and gnome-looks addresses and she found something she liked in a few minutes. The "set as background" from FireFox3 didn't work (BoOoOo!) so she saved to disk and set it as background.
Next thing she wanted to do - enlarge the font sizes because her screen is HiRes and the text is too small for her. She changed it in the Appearance Wizard (System->Preferences->Appearance). On the way, she changed the Font rendering to "Subpixel Smoothing (LCDs)" because she noticed it looks better.
I tried to tell he that changing the DPI might be the correct way but she didn't listen to me =\
She though the way she found was good enough.
She had a bad experience with Windows XP - when she changed the DPI in XP on her new laptop, some system fonts were not affected and some websites she visits regularly (like Walla.co.il) remained small looking. In XP eventually she found a solution that involved changing the DPI + adding an entry in the Windows Registry (WTF?) that makes Explorer7 resize all fonts. She was pleased with this solution but it took 3 days until she found it (after calling MS support for help which referred her to IBM support (because she has the OEM version) which knew nothing about the problem... sigh. Everybody just kept telling her to change the DPI and they had no knowledge of the registry fix for Explorer).
Now she was happy with the size of fonts in the system so she executed FireFox3 to see if the problem was solved - well , it wasn't. Walla.co.il was still displayed with small looking fonts. I said "it's probably caused by the web developers who are using px (pixel size) to set the font size". Then I told her to try the ctrl-'+' to enlarge the fonts. She though it wouldn't work because in Explorer7 it screwed up all the locations of objects on the web page and looked terrible.
Surprisingly (or not), on FireFox3 it looked great and Ctrl-'+' seems to scale up everything including pictures and other objects. Additionally, it seems like FF3 saves this size/scale setting automagically for each site. Cool.
Then my wife tried to watch some DivX video file using Totem Video Player. Totem popped-up the Automatic Codec Installation and after 2 minutes started playing the video. The display was a bit flickery while playing the file and I said she should try VLC and instructed her to run the Synaptic Package Manager (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager). That was easy enough but didn't solve the problem. I went "hmm, something here is fishy, try to set Visual Effects from 'none' to 'normal' in the Appearance wizard". I wanted to see if she was able to see accelerated 3d graphics. She tried that and another window popped-up suggesting to install the propriety nvidia driver .. "hmm, the nvidia driver wasn't installed .. Oh my god, they made everything automatic!" I said. After another minute the driver was installed and after a reboot the Divx was playing smoothly.
Joy! "I'm totally useless here, my days as Linux Installation Guru are over.", I though to myself.
"I'll just go to sleep" I said.
Good night and Happy passover everybody!