2008/10/29 Glenn Stuart Morrissey <gmorrissey@kol.co.nz>
I don't think linux has the advantage when It comes to complete novices
like me. I think Windows, with all its faults, still is easier to set up
and run out of the box than Linux. I think it has a way to go before it
is serious competition with windows for anyone other than advanced
computer users. The learning curve is very steep. Its such a shame
because Linux seems so attractive.

Windows has the advantage of being a monopoly, manufacturers have to write Windows drivers or nobody will buy their hardware. Linux is starting to get much better support in this area and you'll find where manufacturers have fully embraced the 'open source' way of doing things, getting the hardware to work requires nothing more than plugging it in. But unfortunately some hardware still has little or no support in Linux.

Two suggestions;

  External serial modems are cheap, about $15-$20 on Trademe. And people keep giving me free ones which I give away so I can avoid solving problems like this. Let me know if you'd like one. Serial modems 'just work' in any mainstream Linux distro.

  If you're going to be compiling drivers or trying to run windows drivers in some form of emulation wrapper, you'll find things are much more likely to work in 32-bit linux. Getting winmodems to work is always difficult, getting driver wrapper-glue and 32-bit binary blobs to build in 64-bit Linux is much more difficult.