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Last July I bought my 85 yr. old father a Windows Vista based PC to do his email (mostly, that and taxes). It's been nothing but trouble; sudden black or blue screens, insisting on printers that have never been installed, expressing a disapproval of AOL on a random basis etc. Since Bill G. isn't returning my phone calls I'd like to think of something else. Is Linux appropriate for a guy who knows where the on/off switch is---and that's about all? (I'm a long term Microsoft user (started w/DOS 3.??) and recently escaped the clutches and got a Mac.) I do have a copy of XP I could install, but then we're back to Bill again.
Distribution: Mandriva 2009 X86_64 suse 11.3 X86_64 Centos X86_64 Debian X86_64 Linux MInt 86_64 OS X
If you get Suse well installed it is very easy to use and easy to maintain
Normally is the installation of Suse straight forward
But even so you should shutdown it properly so please know a little bit more than only finding the power button
I would try Ubuntu, or if you cannot stand brown desktops, SuSe is fun as well.
And what if he cannot stand green desktops?
Yes, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Mint, PCLinuxOS, Suse and some other ones would make a good choice. Don't be stopped by the look of the default desktop as that is easily changed, it's convenience that should have your priority. Most of those distributions are available as a livecd, i.e. you can run them from cd so you can evaluate them before you install anything.
Is Linux appropriate for a guy who knows where the on/off switch is---and that's about all?
Not to worry, my mother is 72 years young, and is doing fine with Linux. I got sick and tired of working on windows so I installed Debian for her, I showed her how to navigate in Gnome and she's been doing great. I can't see your Father having to much problems with Linux.
How close do you live to your father, and are you willing to learn to manage his system for him? If you can arrange it so he only does everyday stuff while you do all of the admin stuff, then the decision can be based on what YOU are willing to support.
My mother is 93 and I installed PCLinuxOS 2007 for her and showed her how to choose between XP and PCLOS at boot time. She still uses XP because I live 1,100 miles away and my sister lives almost next door. She (my sister) can help her with system management, and that works much better since she is close. If Mom lived near me, I would put a Linux at the top of the Grub list and keep her updated with whatever software she wanted. She wouldn't know or care whether the OS made Billy any richer or not. Since my sister is willing to do her tech stuff, I don't care either.
A little tweaking of Gnome/KDE in any distro can make it easy as pie for him to use.
- Configure his email, web, etc. and place just the icons he needs on the desktop.
- Remove any screen clutter that will not help him.
- If he has sight problems, fix the colors, sizes, styles of the desktop items so he can see them effectively.
- Include a big shutdown icon on his desktop so that's all he has to click to turn it off.
- If he has broadband, enable SSH on his computer so you can admin it from the comfort of your home.
For e-mail, internet ,office applications and multimedia it should be about the same.
You can use SSH or - maybe more comfortably - the remote desktop option that most distros have to admin his pc from your home.
I've never used it, but I guess it uses VNC, so you should be able to access his computer from windows to maintain it if you need to.