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-   -   Slackware for a linux newbies? (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/slackware-for-a-linux-newbies-831643/)

lostzinzthought 09-11-2010 09:39 PM

Slackware for a linux newbies?
 
Okay, so, I'm setting up a computer for my aunt to give to her kids to use for school, and I've decided to set it up with slackware 13.1.
these kids have no linux experience, and she wants to make sure they don't get viruses, don't have access to the system with admin rights (so, no root passwords for them), and she needs them to be able to do homework and surf the web.

I decided to go with slackware because I'm going to be doing all the administrative work for this box anyway, since I'm the only one in the family who knows computers, so I want a system that works well and won't get in my way when I need to fix something, and I want something that's very difficult to break.
Slackware seems perfect, in this respect.

The machine is a bit slow, but it can run KDE well enough, and I'll set it to default runlevel 4 with KDE's login manager, etc.
and I'll install the wicd network manager from /extras

my question to the forum, then, is:

What else should I set up, to make the transition from Novice Windows users, to clueless slackware users, as painless as possible?

or, should I just give up on a newbie-friendly slackbox and install something like Fedora?

hitest 09-11-2010 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lostzinzthought (Post 4094847)
The machine is a bit slow, but it can run KDE well enough, and I'll set it to default runlevel 4 with KDE's login manager, etc.
and I'll install the wicd network manager from /extras

my question to the forum, then, is:

What else should I set up, to make the transition from Novice Windows users, to clueless slackware users, as painless as possible?

or, should I just give up on a newbie-friendly slackbox and install something like Fedora?

Good idea, run level 4 will make it easy for them to log-in. If KDE is lagging a bit on the machine, then perhaps switch over to XFce. XFce has lots of functionality and it uses less system resources. Ye Gods, don't inflict Fedora on them. Slackware all the way, man. :)

Meson 09-11-2010 09:59 PM

I'm not sure how to do this from the KDE end, but for Gnome I make sure systems have all of the gstreamer* packages so that many codecs are available. Also I find that the vlc-plugin for Firefox never works, so I go with Gnome's Totem plugin.

In short, make sure you've got plugins/codecs set up to be used on the web.

I see nothing wrong with Slackware. I use Arch personally, but if you're going to be doing all of the admin stuff, no reason to go with Fedora or Ubuntu (or derivs).

Meson 09-11-2010 10:02 PM

Also, as much as I hate to deal with this, a lot of teachers only have Microsoft Office. You might want to install it under wine. It runs pretty well. I have a whole icon theme, .desktops, and mime-types set up for this if you decide to go down that route.

damgar 09-11-2010 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meson (Post 4094857)
I'm not sure how to do this from the KDE end, but for Gnome I make sure systems have all of the gstreamer* packages so that many codecs are available. Also I find that the vlc-plugin for Firefox never works, so I go with Gnome's Totem plugin.

In short, make sure you've got plugins/codecs set up to be used on the web.

I see nothing wrong with Slackware. I use Arch personally, but if you're going to be doing all of the admin stuff, no reason to go with Fedora or Ubuntu (or derivs).

I agree here. All those little things like installing flash player, etc will make everyone's life easier, most notably yours. You might consider activating ssh so that you can administer remotely. My wife and kids were switched from Ubuntu to Slackware several months ago and they didn't even notice. I installed GSB and they had no clue the OS was different.

Daedra 09-12-2010 12:23 AM

If KDE is too resource intensive you can also try gnome slackbuild (http://gnomeslackbuild.org/) its less resource intensive and it looks similiar to XP. It might make the transition smoother for them. Just a thought. I Also Agree with hitest about Xfce, it's great and less resource intensive than KDE.

Perceptor 09-12-2010 05:16 AM

Go with Slackware. I am sure that the kids will love it; and before you know it their knowledge and understanding of the system may even surpass yours, kids learn extremely easy and fast. :D IMHO the Slackware experience will be very beneficial to them.

Ahmed 09-12-2010 05:27 AM

You could also go with LXDE (building instructions here), which is the lightest fully-featured desktop environment I've come by (even more so than XFCE). The menu structure is intuitive and the possibilities of customization are very broad. It also runs KDE applications without any trouble, should you need that.

-A

wingevil 09-12-2010 10:04 AM

I would recommend for a newbie Salix, because it is nearly 100% compatible to slackware and in some important cases more user-friendly than native slackware. Salix is running xfce by default, but there is also a LXDE-version available.

lostzinzthought 09-12-2010 10:15 AM

Thanks for all the useful replies, all!

I use XFCE as my default for all of my own machines, actually, but KDE has always seemed more new-user-friendly, to me, and when I've had non-linux-users use my machines they seem to prefer KDE to XFCE or Fluxbox.
If KDE is too heavy for this system though, XFCE will be fine, and they may like the useful right-click menu :)

I almost forgot about all the codecs and such, to be honest, but yeah I'll have to remember to set up all that & the flash plugin etc. before I let the kids get online - they'd probably have panic attacks if they found out youtube won't play any videos because I forgot to add flash, haha.

I don't really have Access to Microsoft's office suite, and I'm doing this for free as a favour to my aunt, so I don't have the money to go out and buy a copy, I was going to do a full slackware install which comes with Kpresenter/Kword/etc. for their school work, and I may add Open Office.
If needed I can set up Microsoft's office tools later, once my aunt get's a copy, but for now I don't think it will be a major issue.

I have another question: she wants me to set up child blocks to keep her kid's away from pornographic websites (especially the older one who's already been caught on such sites), I've never looked into this, so is there a way to set web content filters for Firefox and Konquerer?

onebuck 09-12-2010 10:18 AM

Hi,

Welcome to LQ!

Quote:

Originally Posted by lostzinzthought (Post 4094847)
Okay, so, I'm setting up a computer for my aunt to give to her kids to use for school, and I've decided to set it up with slackware 13.1.
these kids have no linux experience, and she wants to make sure they don't get viruses, don't have access to the system with admin rights (so, no root passwords for them), and she needs them to be able to do homework and surf the web.

Problem is the homework assignments and how the students interact with each class. What does the school or classes dictate on what form the assignments are to be turned in as? File format? Paper?

Quote:

Originally Posted by lostzinzthought (Post 4094847)
I decided to go with slackware because I'm going to be doing all the administrative work for this box anyway, since I'm the only one in the family who knows computers, so I want a system that works well and won't get in my way when I need to fix something, and I want something that's very difficult to break.
Slackware seems perfect, in this respect.

I'm not sure about the 'break' aspects. You feel the students are adept enough to break it? Circumvent it? Password for each user should be assigned since that is the norm for a multiple user system. It will keep users honest. Open end general login is a problem. You cannot address issues with a particular user when general accounts are used. 'usernames' will allow you to aid that person with a particular problem. Plus gives the user some security from their siblings. Believe me that is a very important security issue.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lostzinzthought (Post 4094847)
The machine is a bit slow, but it can run KDE well enough, and I'll set it to default runlevel 4 with KDE's login manager, etc.
and I'll install the wicd network manager from /extras

my question to the forum, then, is:

What else should I set up, to make the transition from Novice Windows users, to clueless slackware users, as painless as possible?

or, should I just give up on a newbie-friendly slackbox and install something like Fedora?

You have other choices other than KDE. XFCE, or even GNOME. Why '/extra/wicd'? User need is to switch networks? '/etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf' & 'netconfig' would be admin setup and done once if no other network. Keep that function away from the user unless a necessary requirement. Less headaches for the admin. :)

This is not going to be a Slackware issue but how well you are able setup the DE or Desktop for the users. And their adaptation to that environment. As admin your task is to make things transparent thus their adaptation to the DE will be the issue along with applications.

Find out what the school or class dictates for the student presentation or assignment requirements. Some schools require a M$ 'doc' format while others will have open means of input. Sometimes the final doc will be paper that decides how well the presentation(s) are accepted. You will loose some format using alien apps but it can be done via Wine if you have a licensed M$ app(limited). You could setup a VM for a Licensed M$ Win for that use but again another layer for the new user.

Look at General Academic section of 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links! Several good links for academic.
:hattip:

repo 09-12-2010 10:19 AM

Quote:

I have another question: she wants me to set up child blocks to keep her kid's away from pornographic websites (especially the older one who's already been caught on such sites), I've never looked into this, so is there a way to set web content filters for Firefox and Konquerer?
Take a look at dansguardian
http://dansguardian.org/?page=whatisdg

lumak 09-12-2010 10:21 AM

All good options mentioned above. If it's a 32bit system then flash should be easier and better. Additionally, I would think hard about what office solution you decide to put on there. If a teacher expects digital paperwork in a .doc file and formatting must be perfect, then you should go with the real M$ Office. Other than that, either KDE's Office or Open Office will work. However, I find that if somebody has used M$ Office exclusively, they become extremely frustrated when Open Office does things slightly differently. To which I replay, "then don't use .doc or .xls files" and "they are different programs, don't expect OO to be a clone."

lostzinzthought 09-12-2010 10:59 AM

As for the file formatting for the papers, neither I nor my Aunt know what format digital copies are expected to be in, but they have a printer, and She's never run into a teacher in from that school who will refuse a hard-copy if it's all the student's can manage, so I don't expect too many problems regarding the format, as I said though, if they MUST use .doc or something like that, then I'll get it running for her in WINE as soon as she can get a copy of MSoffice.

as for their ability to break it - the reason I'm doing this is because they've gotten so many viruses/malware that they 'broke' the system I'm fixing for them, and damaged my aunts newer computer to the point where she no longer wants them to use it for fear of loosing everything important she has on it. (I'm also going to be setting up an AV, doing a backup, etc. of that computer later on).
I doubt they'll be able to break a slackware system - they will have their own limited user accounts with login name, password, etc. (one for each of them), that way they have their own /home/ to play in, and they can't break each others settings or the system in general.
I'll give their mother the passwords so she can check in on them (another request she had) and I'll probably be the only one logging in as root at any time.

The reason for installing wicd is because she's not sure what she's going to do as far as 'net access for them goes and if she decides to have a wireless network setup or something I want it to be simple for her to connect them to it and handle whatever encryption she sets up for it, just to simplify matters a bit on her end, once they get the network set up it's just a matter of clicking the "automatically connect me to this network" box and they can forget all about wicd from then on, simple enough for me to talk her through it over the phone :).

They have uses MSoffice exclusively, but not so much that they will be unable to adjust to KDE's office suite quickly - they don't use keyboard shortcuts or anything for MS anyway, so they can look through the menus just as easily for Kword as they can for MSword.

Thank you for the link repo, I wasn't aware of any open source web-content filters.

igadoter 09-12-2010 11:13 AM

Hi,
Someone asked the kids do they want have a Linux? It should their choice. If they want to use Windows let them use Windows. My concern are games. I cannot imagine a kid doesn't playing games. Personally I witnessed a situation where a boy refused to use Linux (Aurox) - beacause .. for no reason. But all kids are like that.


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