[svlug] Linux for my mom?
William R Ward
bill at wards.net
Thu Oct 2 18:41:21 PDT 2003
Karsten M. Self writes:
>on Thu, Oct 02, 2003 at 01:32:26PM -0700, William R Ward (bill at wards.net) 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.
>What's her current ISP? If it's AOL (my parental units are
>suckers^Wusers), there's conversion issues here as well. Pretty much
>anyone else, excepting MSN, should be pretty easy to set up for you,
>though official support is often lacking.
I would never allow my mother to have an AOL account!! She's using a
>> Is it worth trying?
>*If* she is willing to try it, then yes. If she isn't, no.
Trouble is, I know Linux a lot better, and it's a lot more stable.
Like I said, I'm tired of supporting it. "Can you come and fix my
>> If so, which distro is the easiest for newbies to cope with?
>Given her current starting point: legacy MS Windows.
>Given that she wants to change, in order, I'd look at:
Wants to change? She doesn't know anything about this...
> - Mac OS X. Face it, this is the operating system for people who
> don't know what "operating system" means.
I agree. You want to pay for it? Like I said in my previous post, I
have budgetary issues that prevent this option.
> - A personally tuned Debian install.
That's my default, but I was hoping someone might have a better solution.
> - Lindows. They've addressed this problem already. $50 for a digital
> package (no media), plus andother $50/year for their package update
> tool. Or you can cut over to standard Debian.
What does LindowsOS provide that is worth the $$?
> - Xandros. Less experience with this, but it's a bit more grown up
> than Lindows.
I will look into Xandros, it sounds promising.
>You don't state what your update / maintenance access is, but if the
>system is to be maintained remotely by you (as I suspect), I'd avoid RPM
>systems like the plaugue they are. Particularly as you identify
>yourself as a Debian person yourself.
If her net is working, I can ssh in to it to fix stuff. That's a huge
advantage for me, since she lives near Santa Cruz and I'm in Mountain
>> I'm a Debian person myself, but I suspect that RH9 or Mandrake might
>> be more user friendly for someone in her situation.
>After initial installation, hell sets in. If you're lucky. Sometimes
>it starts before. Mandrake's on awfully shaky ground ATM.
>> Or maybe LindowsOS?
>Not a bad pick IMO.
I know nothing about it besides that you can get it at Walmart.
>> 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.
>A basic Debain install, KDE (hate it myself, but...), Firebird. For
>mail: evolution, sylpheed, or kmail.
Mozilla mail (the one that comes with the Navigator) works well for me
at work, and she is already using it on Windoze. I'm pretty sure I
won't want to switch her to anything else.
>> 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.
>KDE gives you kppp, which sits on the panel and indicates connection
>status. I believe it can be set to disconnection on timeout (say 20
That could be good. She has a plan with her ISP that is cheap but
only has a limited # of minutes.
>> Also I need it to update itself when security patches come out, since
>> I can't expect her to do it.
>I cron an "apt-get update; apt-get -duy dist-upgrade" nightly on my own
>systems. You'll probably want to ssh in manually and apply updates.
>Running apt-get autoclean regualarly will keep your /var partition
Yeah, I'd probably do the cron job thing.
William R Ward bill at wards.net http://www.wards.net/~bill/
PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMMER, CLOSED COURSE. DO NOT ATTEMPT.
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