[svlug] Linux for my mom?

Erik Steffl steffl at bigfoot.com
Thu Oct 2 15:02:00 PDT 2003

William R Ward wrote:
> My mom's been running Windoze 98 on her PC and is always calling me
> with complaints that things aren't working.  She's probably got all
> kinds of viruses and who knows what else wrong with the system and I
> am tired of supporting it.  So I'm thinking of giving her Linux.
> But she is clueless, and can barely function in Windoze.  I've been
> using Linux so long that I'm not sure just how easy to use it can be
> for a newbie.
> Is it worth trying?  If so, which distro is the easiest for newbies to
> cope with?  I'm a Debian person myself, but I suspect that RH9 or
> Mandrake might be more user friendly for someone in her situation.
> Or maybe LindowsOS?

   based on your description of the situtation you will have to 
install/configure/maintain system yourself. From that viewpoint it 
pretty much doesn't matter which distro you choose - just use the one 
you are comfortable with (but configure it so that your mom can use it:-)

   I personally like debian, not so painless installation (but not as 
bad as it used to be) but very easy maintenance...

> Basically she only uses it for email, and she is somewhat comfortable
> with Netscape/Mozilla.  So from that point of view it doesn't matter
> what OS she is on.

   exactly, it follows that it doesn't matter which linux she's running:-)

> I need to have it automatically dial into her PPP and automatically
> disconnect when she's idle, and I am not sure how to do that in Linux
> anymore, since I've been on DSL and cable for so long.

   ppp, it can dial on demand... (not distro dependent).

> Also I need it to update itself when security patches come out, since
> I can't expect her to do it.

   debian has good update system, but I think pretty much al major 
distros has some support for updates (redhat does, not sure how it works 
over long run, a friend of mine just started to use it)

   as other posts suggests, having a CD that boots & connects to network 
is useful for those situations when HD installation is completely broken...


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