[svlug] Linux for my mom?

Rafael Skodlar raffi at linwin.com
Thu Oct 2 15:50:34 PDT 2003

On Thu, Oct 02, 2003 at 01:32:26PM -0700, 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.

Good thinking ;-) Your mom deserves the best.

> 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?

There are many distributions one can choose from. I've been playing with
Xandros lately. It uses debian packages as default but installs RPMs
also. I'm pleased with it since it comes with newer stuff than debian
(unless you use testing etc. of course). It uses Reiser FS or ext3 and
is very good in recovering in case of power failures. In some ways it's
a bit too persistent in recovery when you want to do your things but
that's probably very good for "clueless users". It finds all available
drives and mounts them under /disks.

Although I haven't tried, it supposedly handles some windows programs
with Crossover from CodeWeawers. That gives you the possibility to run
any legacy/proprietary programs if necessary. You can make it look like
windoze box even though one would wonder why limit yourself to poorly
looking screen.

Redhat is not my favourite anymore due to lib issues and sudden changes
that completely break everything from one version to another.

> 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.
> 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.

That should not be hard to do with Xandros since it has GUI interface
for network connection.

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

Not a problem.

I believe that Xandros is a well designed competitive product and worth
a try. Too many people started to believe that they should use Redhat 

> Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

Create at least 4 partitions so that /home is separate from other stuff.
That way you can reinstall any distribution without touching user files.

> --Bill.
> -- 
> William R Ward            bill at wards.net          http://www.wards.net/~bill/
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------


More information about the svlug mailing list