Ok, I’m going to try to help.
First things, first – if you’re looking for programs to perform a certain task (play mp3s, webcam, etc), try using the “search” feature in Synaptic. You can search by program name, program name and description, and a few other criteria. These two are the ones I use most.
Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s go down the list:
Of course, I also told him I would install the MP3 support
I’ve installed all sorts of Linux variants on dozens of machines and Ubuntu was a fair share of those. I never had to “install mp3 support”, I just installed xmms. I can’t remember if it was installed by default or if I had to apt-get it…either way, that takes care of that. As far as OGG goes, I just don’t use it. I know…what kind of geek doesn’t use OGG, right? 😉
Another thing was Webcam support, yep, I connected a Genius webcam NB and it detected it automagically, unfortunately there is NO program to capture video or at least see it.
I’m assuming you’re talking about no program in Windows to capture or see video. I typically use camstream in Linux. I know there are several more options out there (again, search in Synaptic), but this is the one I’m used to.
But, what I wanted to show here is that there ARE those small annoyances that just keep getting across the way, until those are not solved it would be difficult for the “normal” people to migrate.
Yeah, there are small annoyances here or there in Linux, just like there are in Windows. For example, I have a HP PSC-1209 printer/scanner. Windows automagically “found” a new printer attached to the USB port. The drivers that Windows automatically installed didn’t work. I then grabbed the HP install CD so I could install the correct drivers after uninstalling the drivers that Windows was nice enough to install…without asking (you know, so the printer would “just work”). In Ubuntu, I just clicked on “Printers” -> “Add Printer” -> selected my printer model from the list -> waited a few seconds for drivers to kick in -> done (no reboots either!). Overall, it took me 25 seconds to install the printer on Ubuntu Linux, and about 5 minutes in Windows.
Overall, one tool that helps Ubuntu users out quite a bit is EasyUbuntu. That’ll take care of quite a few of your issues.
Ubuntu really isn’t that difficult, even for new users. Heck, my 11 year old daughter uses it on an AMD 450Mhz machine with 256MB of RAM and she used XP for two years prior to Ubuntu 5.04. I don’t get calls for “Daaaaaad! Where do I find X” or “Daaaaad! Do I send this error report to Microsoft?” any more either, which is quite nice. The Gnome menus just seem to make more sense than a Windows menu to find the programs you want to use. Anyway, good luck to you and your friend – I hope this post helps out.