[svlug] Linux for my mom?

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Mon Oct 6 03:20:16 PDT 2003

on Thu, Oct 02, 2003 at 06:41:21PM -0700, William R Ward (bill at wards.net) wrote:
> 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.

> >> Is it worth trying?  
> >
> >*If* she is willing to try it, then yes.  If she isn't, no.

> >Given that she wants to change, in order, I'd look at:
> Wants to change?  She doesn't know anything about this...

Realize that you'll have to sell this.  I've been trying now for

In my case it's a bit harder in that parental units are 2000 miles away,
making popping over the hill a downright attractive alternative.

> >  - A personally tuned Debian install.
> That's my default, but I was hoping someone might have a better solution.

As we way on #debian (IRC):  Define "better".

> >  - 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 $$?


A nicely laid out desktop, rollout selection of applications and such
which might be attractive.

OTOH, if you are already familiar with the Debian way of doing things,
and don't mind doing some tweakage as she ramps up to using the system,
I'd think that the handrolled system is going to be more satisfying, and
less frustrating for you.

> >> 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.

The more you can keep her with familiar apps, the better.

> >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
> >minutes idle).
> That could be good.  She has a plan with her ISP that is cheap but
> only has a limited # of minutes.

If this is the case, then dialup updates aren't going to be recommended.
I'm seeing 1-3 hour updates myself, on a nightly basis.   Granted you
might back off to once a week, and stable vs. unstable makes a big
difference.  Might be better to visit with a toted apt archive (laptop?)
or use something like apt-zip to get a list of packages needing updates,
which you would fetch back to her with removable media (CDR or USB pen
drive would be my choice).

> >> 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
> >happier.
> Yeah, I'd probably do the cron job thing.

Look into apt-zip and see how it works.  You're going to want offline
updates methinks.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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