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Old 06-28-2006, 07:03 PM   #1
devhen
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Looking for a Windows replacement OS w/ full web browsing capabilities


Hello all!

I have a fairly general questions but it is, to me, a very important one.

I recently tried and failed to install Windows XP on a friends computer. This friend of mine is basically computer illiterate. The only thing he needs to be able to do with his computer is surf the web. So, naturally, I want to install Linux on his machine. He's fine with this as long as he can surf the web he's happy.

Well, Firefox runs on Linux so this is all he needs, right? Wrong! You see, my friend may not be computer savvy but he will definately be angry when I install Linux and he finds that he can't watch videos on ifilm.com. Or when he notices that text in flash animations does not show up (Fedora 5). Or when flash animations have no sound (Ubuntu).

So, my question is: What distro/configuration of Linux will provide a web surfing experience identical to Windows and Macintosh. That is; is it even possible to run Linux and Firefox with working audio and video plugins? Flash? Quicktime movies? Windows media movies? RealPlayer movies?

...Linux sounds like a great idea to my friend but I'm afraid that when he finds that he can't watch videos on the Internet he will turn very sour toward the OS.

Thanks for your input!

Devin
 
Old 06-28-2006, 07:07 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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I would try one of the newbie centric distros that claim to have all that working out of the box like PCLinuxOS, Mandriva, or Mepis. But I think you really should be able to get all this working on most any distro before handing the box over to him... I think the only thing with no plugin is shockwave...
 
Old 06-28-2006, 07:15 PM   #3
devhen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pljvaldez
But I think you really should be able to get all this working on most any distro before handing the box over to him...
Easier said than done! Thanks for your thoughts. I'll look into those distros. Unfortunately, I've had little to no luck fixing browser plugin problems that I've run into. For example: no sound in flash on Ubuntu. An exhaustive search on the internet turned up nothing more that "thats been broken for a long time..." Basically, SOL. And Ubuntu is supposed to be a noobie desktop distro! On multiple distros I've got Helix player working within the browser, only to get errors when trying to play a movie that tell me that the file can't be found, essentially a 404 error on the video file itself. Obviously it /can/ be found because RealPlayer on Widows plays it with no problems. Ack! If I can just get these plugins to work (I can live without shockwave) I could finally free myself and my friends from the Windows world. Until then my non-computer-savvy friends have no reason to support open source.

Anyway, thanks for your comments.
 
Old 06-28-2006, 11:55 PM   #4
pixellany
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It is not at all obvious if your "friend" either wants Linux or should be urged into using it. Have you asked him?
 
Old 06-29-2006, 12:09 AM   #5
devhen
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yes, i believe i mentioned, he is aware of linux. i talked to him about it. he loves the idea of open source but again, he is computer illiterate. the system will need to work out-of-the-box so to say in order to make him happy as he wont be able to make changes to the system himself.

i've decided im going to install fedora 5, as i suspected i would. according to fedorafaq.org you can watch movies in firefox via the mplayer plugin listed on that site. i'll let you guys know how it goes.

thanks for your comments!

devin
 
Old 06-29-2006, 12:10 AM   #6
devhen
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also, i've found a fix for the 'no text in flash animations' problem in fedora 5:

http://www.fedoraforum.org/forum/showthread.php?t=97330

 
Old 06-29-2006, 06:41 AM   #7
ethics
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What about if he has any future requirements?

Needs IE? WMP? some windows binary software? I am never for installing Linux on someone elses system, if they want it, they need to know how it works themselves.

What was the problem with XP? maybe he's better off sticking with that?
 
Old 06-29-2006, 08:28 AM   #8
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ethics
What about if he has any future requirements?

Needs IE? WMP? some windows binary software? I am never for installing Linux on someone elses system, if they want it, they need to know how it works themselves.

What was the problem with XP? maybe he's better off sticking with that?
Good points--take it a step farther: If you set up a system for someone who will not take any responsibility for maintaining it, you are asking for trouble. I'm running this test at home. We have a Linux box shared by three people. When all is well, everyone is happy. When things don't work, the flak comes from my wife. It generally stops when I suggest that--if she does not like the system (or the SA)---she is free to make her own arrangements. She has in the past had her own Windows box, but now does not think we "need" 2 computers.

No matter what you do, know your user. If all they do is browsing and e-mail, then Linux may be the right solution.

Another experiment in progress: I offered a P-III system to a friend (free). Since I do not have a legal Windows license to give her, I gave a choice: go buy a copy of Windows and I will install it, or I can set it up with Linux. (She is an occassional user of our home system, so she is familiar with this) So far, she has not bitten on the offer. I am trying to determine if the OS decision is stopping her--or if it is something else.
 
Old 06-29-2006, 02:50 PM   #9
devhen
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Again, thanks for the thoughts guys. This friend of mine literally needs nothing more than to be able to surf the Internet (and, along with that, send/receive emails). I'm confident that this won't change in the future either. I see him on a regular basis so I will be able to make sure he's installing updates when they are available (pretty easy through Fedora pup package updater) and I'm not far if he does actually need some help with the OS.

The reason why this interests me so much is because If I can come up with a distro/configuration that provides a 100% acceptable Internet browsing experience, as well as other standard desktop features, it could go a long way. Friends computers, desktops here at my work, my parent's computer. I'd have done this long ago if I had felt that there was an adequate Windows replacement distro. With Fedora 5 and the other recent improvements to Linux I think I may actually be able to pull this off now. Whether this friend is ultimately happy with it or not I'm going to be using the system/configuration I come up with in many places. For example, I'm starting with my work laptop. Replacing Windows with Fedora 5. If it works well I'll install it on this friends computer and possibly several others here at work.

Cheers!

Devin
 
Old 06-29-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
daihard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devhen
The reason why this interests me so much is because If I can come up with a distro/configuration that provides a 100% acceptable Internet browsing experience, as well as other standard desktop features, it could go a long way.
Just to be sure that we are on the same page, the "100% accetable Internet browsing experience" cannot be achieved solely by the effort of the Linux community. For instance, some Web sites use Flash 8 plugin. Unfortunately, Adobe has not released Flash 8 for Linux yet. As the result, you will not be able to view, or watch videos on, such sites using Firefox (or anything else, for that matter) for Linux.
 
Old 06-29-2006, 03:39 PM   #11
devhen
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Thanks for the heads up, daihard. I'll take note of how often I run into these sites.
 
Old 06-29-2006, 10:00 PM   #12
JBailey742
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Just read the whole topic so I'm sorry if I'm late in anything.
I would recommend MandrivaLinux2006, unless he wants XP and you can get that fixed.

I find it hard to believe that someone would just want to surf the net. Maybe that's all, but I felt the same with linux at first.
I just wanted these few things to go, then another few, then another few, and before you know it, I want all of what I wanted, to work on linux so I wouldn't have to bother with Windows XP anymore.

Mandriva, like most dist. has DVD playback, with the right packages installed. "Konqueror" browser does seem to play most videos and flash on the net, so he's not completely restricted in that.
 
  


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