Windows XP users are in a tough situation as that operating system draws close to its end of life. But there are many alternatives to Windows XP, and ZDNet thinks that Linux Mint might a very good one indeed.
I get it though. You know XP like the back of your hand and Windows 8.x has left you as cold as a penguin in the Antarctica ocean. You may also have considered switching to a Mac and gotten hives from just the thought, or contemplated a Chromebook but couldn't get past the idea of relying so much on the Internet and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). I suggest an alternative you may not have considered: Linux Mint.
Yes, I'm serious, and not just because I tend to use Linux desktops a lot and Mint in particular. I'm suggesting it for XP users for several specific reasons.More at ZDNet
There's also a gallery of Linux Mint and Windows XP images that show some similarities between the two desktop environments.
A basic primer on open source software
Sci-Tech Today has a useful primer on the basics of open source software. It could be helpful if you ever need to explain to someone what open source means.
Open source software is software that is freely distributed. In other words, it is software that is free to acquire. Everyone can access it and modify the code if they wish. The opposite of open source is proprietary software that is closely held and controlled.
For example, Microsoft Office is proprietary software. Most open source software is community based, meaning many developers in different places work independently on the software. Open source may sound really "techie" oriented (and it is), but you may be surprised to find open source software all around you and how much it is affecting innovation.More at Sci-Tech Today