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Faking Linux

Linux for Windows


Let's face it : Linux is getting increasingly popular, even on desktop computers. It has gotten to the point that anyone who wants to pass for reasonable connected needs to at least have heard of it and know roughly what it is (something to do with computers, and Microsoft is worried about it). Anyone who wants to pass for computer knowledgable needs to know that it's an operating system, that it might kick Microsoft in the between-legs-area and casually add 'It's a bit more difficult than Windows, but it's sooo much better. In fact, I'm running Linux at my home PC ..."

So, now it has become a matter of status : if you want to be with the in-crowd, you have to run Linux. But you haven't got a clue ...

No worries ...

No worries, just fake it. Yes, it is suite possible to pass for a Linux user, or let yourself believe you're using Linux.

To get a share of the desktop market, Linux had to become more 'user friendly', which translates to 'have a click and point, drag and drop user interface'. Think Windows. Linux does have that - KDE end Gnome desktops being the most prominent players, but then users still become confused : they got used to using Windows, so they've come to expect a certain look-and-feel, menu's ordered a certain way, etc etc. Again, some Linux distributions, especially those that seem to explicitely target the WIndows user, made an effort to look and feel like Windows as much as possible.

Clearly, this is not the answer we're looking for : we want to stand out as Linux users - even if we don't have a clue about what Linux actually is.

No Linux ...

It's simple, actually. Forget Linux. Use Windows. Just make it look a bit like Linux. With Linux trying so hard to look like Windows, that's a lot easier than it sounds.

  1. look on the web for screenshots of linux desktops. Pick one you like, but make sure it is very obviously Linux (penguins, "Linux Rocks !", windows with command prompts, some typical 'Linux' applications .... you get the picture)
    try Lynucs, a linux wallpaper collection site ...
  2. set the screenshot as your desktop background under Windows
  3. set the background colour of the desktop to something that matches the colours on the picture
  4. set the Windows taskbar to automatically hide
  5. reduce the number of tell-tale icons on your desktop (Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are a dead giveaway)
  6. add some (icons of) wellknown open source applications such as Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird for good measure

That's all !! Your desktop now - for the casual observer - is a typical Linux desktop, while you're in fact running Windows. You can start all applications from the Start menu, that will automatically reappear when you move the mouse cursor to the bottom of your screen.

Advanced

It now may look as if you're using Linux, so you may come across situations where people start asking you stuff like : what is it like to be using Linux ? Can I do this and that as I can with Windows ? and so on, endlessly. It's quite easy to bluff your way through this, especially as the others don't have a clue either. You have the advantage : they perceive you as a linux user, so you know more about Linux than they do, you also know more about computers and networking in general, because all Linux users do. You may even be a hacker (all hackers use Linux, or all linux users are hackers ... I forget) !

The bottom-line of your reply should be that Linux is far superior to Windows because you can do anything you want with it the way you want it, and yes, anything you can do on Windows, you can do with Linux if you know how (suggesting that you indeed know how !) and besides, Windows is buggy, slow and full of security holes.
It also helps if you slip some jargon and linux-speak into the conversation : kernel, protocol stack, GUI, module, bash script. (That's enough : 3 or 4 words your audience doesn't know are sufficient to throw them of, and they won't want to look stupid by asking what they mean). Use "yes, but if you look at the source code, you'll see that ...." in emergencies.

Fake Linux Desktop

Ready for real Linux ? Check out these hands-on projects