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Old 01-13-2006, 08:55 AM   #1
doublejoon
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Linux for Mom


Ok I have had it. I cannot continue to keep fixing mom's pc. Spyware, Adware, Viruses, Slow running....etc...you all know the deal.

This weekend Im going to install the dirty bird "tux"

She pays bills online, browses, and does E-mail

Any suggestions on a nice newb friendly distro?

I was thinking Mepis, Kubuntu, Kanotix or even buying Linspire

Also will the latest WINE version run IE 6? for those "IE only websites"

Her specs

Athlon 1700+ 1.4 GHz
512 pc-133
SIS chipset/Audio/Video
40GB
 
Old 01-13-2006, 09:03 AM   #2
pixellany
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Ubuntu, but ANY distro is fine for just web-based stuff and e-mail.

To me, setting up Linux with a good browser like Firefox, and then using wine to install IE is that height of insanity. You said you were trying to escape spyware and other aggravations---IE is at the center of many of those.

I have not see an "IE-only" site in a very long time. AND , Firefox can be configured to tell the site that it is IE.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 03:52 PM   #3
Spudley
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I'd go with Suse personally. But as has been said, pretty much any distro should be sufficient.

I'd pick one based on KDE, though, if you can, as it's probably a bit of a smoother learning curve for a Windows user than Gnome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany
I have not see an "IE-only" site in a very long time. AND , Firefox can be configured to tell the site that it is IE.
Quite true. But it can't be configured to run ActiveX controls, and there are some sites (particularly banking ones, etc, that the OP's mother is likely to want to use) that for really do still force the issue.

To answer the question: Try with Wine first - you might get lucky with MSIE - but I'd recommend getting Crossover Office rather than trying plain old Wine. You will get better compatibility.

The trouble is, of course, that IE running under Wine is vulnerable to a lot of the same problems as it is under Windows (it is the same software, after all), so you should emphasise that Firefox (or whatever) is to be used in preference to MSIE unless it's absolutely necessary. Fortunately, this shouldn't be too hard, as MSIE looks ghastly under Wine.

I'd also say you should definitely go with a dual-boot option to start with. Going cold-turkey from Windows can be tough. And it's always possible that you'll find things she needs to do that you simply can't get working under Linux.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 06:14 PM   #4
bandersnatchy
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doublejoon

We use Kanotix and just tune the KDE menu and desktop to suit the user.

It's hard to resist asking why you don't use one of your favorite distros (RH, Gentoo, Arch). Maybe they have trouble with the SIS chipset. Kanotix does deal well with our particular chipsets, but we don't have any SIS.

Possibly you should start with the first distro on your list, Mepis, and see if you can find any Mepis users using your particular SIS chipset.

Maybe I am just looking too closely at your post. Here is a simple response... Our experience with Kanotix is that it works fine with variety of hardware (but no experience with SIS). It includes Firefox but needs Flash. It can be configured to be easy to use.

Good Luck!
 
Old 01-13-2006, 07:11 PM   #5
pixellany
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IE is not allowed on any of my computers.

I do not patronize banks--or anyone else--that tries to force me to use IE.

I do have my standards.....
 
Old 01-13-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
allelopath
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I second Ubuntu, with Gnome.
I have a laptop with 3 kids, ages 5,7,9 using it.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 07:37 PM   #7
alienDog
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From the end user's point of view the distros don't differ really. Your mom brobably won't be doing any administrative tasks on the machine, so it's all the same for her which one you pick. Pick the one you like , you're the one that sees the differences. I chose slackware for my mothers machine because I'm familiar with it and because it's a rather old machine, so I needed something light. She hasn't had any problems using it. In fact she has problems using Windows systems (like that of her sisters) because she's never really had a Windows system. She finds them "so full of everything useless" and "sometimes behaving surprisingly and doing something completely unexpected".
 
Old 01-13-2006, 07:40 PM   #8
allelopath
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firefox ~ IE

>>Firefox can be configured to tell the site that it is IE
How?
 
Old 01-13-2006, 08:09 PM   #9
frob23
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About 11 months ago I finally lost it with my mother's computer. I was spending a couple hours or more every Sunday getting/keeping it working. Finally, there was nothing I could do without a fresh install. My mom understood this and didn't care about the data on the machine. But... I also told her that this was it. I was completely finished supporting Windows for her because it was becoming a focal point of my life. I said she could have windows and do her best to keep it running and reinstall it herself when that failed or I could install FreeBSD for her and keep it running. I know... it's not linux but the end result to users is the same.

I set the box up completely. I recommend that no matter what Linux distro you choose that you do the same. I found out exactly what she did and spent a while configuring it to ensure everything worked for her (a longer process on a minimalist system than you would go through on most Linux distros). I worked very hard to ensure that it was comfortable for her and she was happy.

In the end, she's been very happy. The rare exception is when I upgrade something like firefox and break plugins she expects to work. And that's my fault because I should test things after I upgrade them for her. I haven't got her Palm Pilot to work with it yet -- mainly from lack of time. But her digital camera, web banking, email, etc... everything works beautifully. And it keeps working. I think that's what makes her happiest... unless I do something the computer works like it always has.

In fact... she no longer asks why her computer's not working. If something doesn't work like she expects she asks, "Have you changed anything because [XYZ] is no longer working." That alone makes me happy. So much easier to fix that problem than "My computer's broken!"

Anyway... not really a recommendation for a distro but I highly recommend heavy handholding at first. A complete setup by you and configuration. Make it very easy for her to use (I also recommend KDE -- but that's just because it worked like my mother expected). Don't expect her to install or configure this for herself. And ensure that everything she does normally works. Have her visit her banking site and perform some transaction... have her send an email to herself... just ensure, up front, that everything works for her so there are no unhappy suprises.

Last edited by frob23; 01-14-2006 at 02:22 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 11:48 PM   #10
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allelopath
>>Firefox can be configured to tell the site that it is IE
How?
Called my bluff, huh? I read this somewhere and have never tried it.

I think this is relevant:
http://johnbokma.com/mexit/2004/04/2...useragent.html

Note the command "about:config"--put this in the url box and you get access to a S-load of options (including the user agent setting)
 
Old 01-14-2006, 06:48 PM   #11
doublejoon
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Well I popped in the Kubuntu live "Breezy" cd just to see how things will be....looks like everything will work fine. I may have trouble with the Lexmark X73 Sanner/Printer/Fax. The drivers are in CUPS but they don't seem to work.

She's backing up stuff to cd. I will make her existing D:\ drive boot Kubuntu when she is ready....I appreciate the input folks....She seems to like the KDE desktop
 
  


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