I would like to post something about my 'journey' to transition from Windows to Ubuntu that might be useful to others.

I am a UK doctor and had some quite specific - basic but essential - requirements,and I suspect a lot of other people will have similar needs and be put off because some of them are quite challenging to overcome.

Previously my attempts to move to Ubuntu were limited by a few things I couldn't get to work; as they were essential to my work (-1- getting NHSmail [the UK email system, which doesn't by default work in anything other than Outlook on Windows or Mail on Mac, and the administrators are reluctant to release settinsgs and when they do they don't work!] to work in an email client, and -2- getting remote access to a server in a different hospital), I ended up having to use Windows daily and so drifted away from Linux.

More recently I got an SSD for my laptop and decided to give it a more concerted effort. After a lot of digging around I found ways to do everything. For various reasons I needed to install Ubuntu on a second laptop for more occasional use, and for future reference kept a careful log of every step I took to get a dual boot system with all the applications for a UK medic, including secure storage of patient data, synchronisation between encrypted partitions on my hard drives (desktop and laptops) and an encrypted USB drive, NHSmail (which uses MS Outlook 365 servers).

Is that something that would be useful to post on this website, and if so should I just start a new thread (even though I'm not really asking for help)?

Thank you - and thanks to you all for the tips on the site which were invaluable in getting it all working.

  • 3
    This belongs to meta, however I agree with user68186, in that if you want to spend your time doing this (and we'd be grateful if you did), you should rather split your acquired knowledge into a set of different questions / answers, following the model of this site; some broad questions/answers are accepted on the site as long as they touch topics that are closely related, which doesn't seem to be the case here (dual boot is already covered; the other things seem to be better off split into different q/as)
    – kos
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 18:17
  • Thanks both of you.
    – Will
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 16:27

4 Answers 4


This answer focuses on how to help new users using this site (Ask Ubuntu) specifically.

Read the Ask Ubuntu Help Pages

To help new users of Ubuntu using this site, first you should learn how to use this site effectively. I suggest you start with the help pages. These pages will teach you:

  • How to frame your questions specifically for this site.
  • How to frame your answers.

For example, this question is not appropriate for Ask Ubuntu, but this is just right for the Meta Ask Ubuntu. You may want to look at the Meta section of Ask Ubuntu for many related questions and answers about Ask Ubuntu.

Ask One Question at a Time

This is a question answer site. You are most welcome to answer your own question. But to do that, first you have to ask the question.

You have overcome several obstacles and solved many problems. Pick one problem and ask a question. See the site help on how to ask good questions. Pick a question like:

  • How do I connect to the "NHSmail" server using Ubuntu?
  • How do I connect to NHS remote server using Ubuntu?
  • How do I setup a dualboot computer for medical practice in the UK?

These are just a few of my guesses based on your question above. You may have different questions, or want to frame them differently.

Answer Your Own Question

A good question is only the beginning. Once you are happy with the question, click on the Answer your own question button below and start working on the answer. This is where all the logs and documentations you have made comes in. Use screenshots, diagrams, drawings, if needed.

The help pages has a good section on how to answer questions on this site.

Be a Part of this Community

Visit this site regularly. Read other's questions and answer them if you can. Earn some reputations in this site to be able to comment on other people's questions and answers. You can help with the grammar and formatting of new site users, particularly for non-native English speakers. As you get more reputation in this site, you will be able to do more, like vote questions for closure as duplicates and other reasons.

Hope this helps

  • Thank you - yes, that is very helpful!
    – Will
    Commented Jun 22, 2021 at 16:30

Honestly, advocate for Ubuntu in your social circles. As someone who has overcome the hurdles you have, you probably work with other medical practitioners in the UK in a similar position.

I know there are private forums and discussion areas which non-NHS staff will have difficulty getting access to. With your skills, and access, you could help support new Ubuntu users, or encourage people to switch, from within.

  • Yes, absolutely ... I have and will continue to spread the word. What I have been most impressed and surprised by is that, with a bit of effort, actually Ubuntu does most things better. For example, my Brother printer / scanner - I was a bit frightened of not using their Windows app. Actually, having installed the drivers, the Ubuntu default document scanner is much better and simpler, as are most of the other open source apps I've installed. It has been a bit of effort but it's so much better than windows and I feel much more in control.
    – Will
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:18

A few ideas:

Document it: Publish what you did...even if your documentation is merely a blog post with a step-by-step checklist. Google will find it.

Keep the document up-to-date: Set your calendar to try your install again (in a Virtual Machine) for the next release of Ubuntu. Then publish an update to your document.

Recruit a Linux-friendly administrator: They can make your documentation "official" and "supported" within their zone. They can provide access to internal storage for your documentation rather than a public blog. They can double-check your settings for security holes. They can warn you when a feature might blow up due to an upstream change.

And, of course, it's always nice to make a new friend.

Announce a Help Hour regularly in those private NHS venues, where fellow NHS folks who have run into problems following your instructions can get your assistance. Their questions also help you improve your documentation.

Recruit a helper or two to regularly scan the NHS help venues and Ubuntu help venues to discover fellow NHS travelers who need to know about the path you have blazed.

Which leads to...

Become an Ubuntu Member

Build a community of folks who share many interests. And, incidentally, to influence NHS to be a bit more Linux-friendly.

  • That's really helpful, thank you. I like the idea of a blog / publishing it. It just seems such an opportunity to share what I had to do.
    – Will
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:12
  • And yes, I'd love the NHS to be more linux-friendly ... to have a national organisation of that size tied in essentially to Windows is ridiculous.
    – Will
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:19

Why not look to create a new stack exchange site specifically for your target audience?

The Community Building Beta shows how this can be achieved.

Might require some effort on your part but I'm sure with your enthusiasm and knowledge, it could be made achievable.

  • 2
    Thanks ... good suggestion but unfortunately I think it's probably beyond me - not that I think it's unachievable, I just think my wife would divorce me if I spent that much time on it!!
    – Will
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:13
  • 2
    This is not an option. First, it is very hard to launch new sites these days, and second, this is way, way too specific and narrow a scope to make it viable. "Using Linux in the NHS" will never get enough traction or enough questions to be a viable site.
    – terdon
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 9:28

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