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My friends, neighbors, and family members are very computer illiterate. They struggle with the simplest tasks in Windows. Mandrake Discovery is easier to use, install and maintain than Windows. Thus, I feel that it is good distrobution for new users. However, I fear that the installation process for Mandrake would still intimidate most new users. Is there an easy to use distrobution, with an installer that is simpler than Mandrake?
I agree. I'm not overly fond of Xandros, but the install is simple. Fedora is also quite easy. Honestly, I found Mandrake to be quite a snap as well. I don't think it's so much the install procedure you need to worry about, but how well they handle using their PC after the install.
I agree with JSpired..... it is what they do with the pc after the install that is more of a concern. That said, I personally think the Mandrake is easier than Windows to install - certainly quicker... particularly considering that once it is installed, you have also installed a great bulk of your software.... depending on the user perhaps all of it. With Windows the journey has just begun once you have installed the OS. I have spent more time trying to install certain programs in Windows than it has taken me get whichever distro of Linux I have been playing with (Gentoo excepted).
I can see how this was interpreted as a newbie question, however, it's more of a discussion on linux converts, which I believe goes better in the General section.
I'll move it in just a second.
As for a response to the question:
If you are going to be their source of tech support, I'd say who cares about the installer, install it for them. But install the distro that is going to both easy to use, and more importantly, easy for you to troubleshoot on (meaning you should know this distro like the back of your hand and be able to talk someone through it while at the coffee shop without a computer in front of you).
I wouldnt do it, if they are new computer users what happens when they go and try to buy a new program only to find that it only works on Windows machines. What happens when they have a simple installation issue and you are the only one with the know how to configure the system? You're going to get tired of free tech calls.
Granted if all they are doing is email, surfing etc then I think its fine but once they go out and try to buy programs and peripherals etc then they are going to become even more frustrated.
Granted I do believe that in many situations Linux is easier to use, I have an old US robotics modem and Fedora picked it up (US robotic xxxx) and all I did was press configure and it was done but when I boot into the Windows XP partion it reads as a pci serial controller and doesnt have the drivers for it.
I agree with JSpired that the most important thing is the post-intall usage, not the installation. And I also think your choice should be the distro you know better, so you can help them the most.
I would personally vote for mandrake, as I know it very well and I have converted some people to linux with it, with great success. I know mandrake better than any othe distro I've tried, and helping them has been quite easy. If you know mandrake, don't look further. Mandrake is easy to install, easy to use, and if you can help, it's even better.
I think I will try Xandros just to see what the distribution is like. If I feel uncomfortable with Xandros, I will give Mandrake out to my friends. I will give out Suse professional to my friend who is a real computer nerd.
I also like the idea of installing the distribution for them. This will reduce anxiety for them.
Finally, I will be careful to advise them that you generally can not purchase software for Linux. I will also be careful to explain open source philosophy.
although id recommend many other distros over Mepis for the actual distro, its got an extremely easy install. and they can try it out first cause its a live-cd, and then click on install on the desktop and its a five step thing.
I agree Nuka_t, Mepis is a good starter distribution because it is easy to install or use as a live CD. However, I find that Apt-get is too difficult for me. Still, I very rarely look for programs on the internet. If the program is not on the installation disks then I generally do not use it.
I agree Ugoff, yet, I will not give up the fight to rescue humanity from Microsoft.
Furfurdemon666, I also love Suse. The professional edition has an amazing selection of software. I also like Yast.