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mike acker 04-26-2020 07:31 AM

Supporting non-technical users
 
One of the questions that seems to come up at times is: how best to support non-technical users ?

I have 2 customers in need of updates right now,-- one from LMDE2 the other from LMDE3. Either one can be brought to current by simply installing LMDE4 into the existing partitions. This will preserve the customer data but require re-installation of various app programs. ( These probably need to be updated anyway ).

Recently though I've been thinking about these "Rolling Release" options. The idea being to install the O/S once and then to rely on scheduled updates. The goal or objective being to relieve the user of any maintenance chores except for executing the update dialog when it presents.

The idea here is how best to provide support for folks who "just want to use the system -- not fiddle with it "

I've installed a "SOLUS" dist. in my Research Box as a first step in evaluating this concept. The first thing that hit me was: SOLUS wouldn't install on a GPT/UEFI disc..... uh oh :(

I just put on the GNOME desktop to try to stay sort of middle-of-the-road.

anyway-- any thoughts on this for a Sunday Morning ?

syg00 04-26-2020 08:04 AM

Sunday barely still existed when you asked. Everything is relative.
I would have thought LMDE was a poor choice for naive users - I found it a pain for myself, and it lasted just a short while in my environment. I use Mint Mate for such users, but it does require update management.

I have yet to meet a rolling release that doesn't cause f'ups - some of which I have have had a seriously hard time fixing. And I prefer rolling releases - for myself. I wouldn't impose it on casual users.

DavidMcCann 04-26-2020 10:26 AM

For various reasons, I adopted a rolling-release distro for my main computer at the new year — PCLinuxOS — and I've had no problems (touches wood!) The only problems I've seen reported have always involved KDE, which is perhaps not unexpected.

There is always the risk of problems when switching from one version of a fixed release to another, and even the Ubuntu LTS versions may give a problem in their point releases. The other solution would be to install the latest CentOS and keep it for 10 years. But then if the user suddenly needs a new program, they're not going to be able to just get it from the CentOS repository.

There's no infallible solution for the non-technical user — that's why Microsoft have a help service.

mike acker 04-26-2020 05:02 PM

thanks guys; this all makes sense

JWJones 04-26-2020 09:49 PM

I would second PCLinuxOS. It's a great general purpose OS, runs solid and stable, and is semi-rolling.

Timothy Miller 04-26-2020 10:18 PM

Solus most definitely will install in UEFI/GPT, I had it on my INspiron 5485 just recently that ONLY uspports UEFI. That said, I wouldn't use it. I tried the plasma version and it was absolutely full of little issues, and while only personal, the theme was HIDEOUS.

PCLinuxOS is probably the "safest" rolling release you can use.

fatmac 04-27-2020 05:16 AM

My suggestion would be for MX Linux, a mid weight distro with an updater app, all they would have to do is click on it when it shows that updates are available.

It can run 'live' & is also re masterable, if you need that sort of thing, (very easy to do).

mike acker 04-27-2020 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timothy Miller (Post 6116263)
Solus most definitely will install in UEFI/GPT, I had it on my INspiron 5485 just recently that ONLY uspports UEFI. That said, I wouldn't use it. I tried the plasma version and it was absolutely full of little issues, and while only personal, the theme was HIDEOUS.

PCLinuxOS is probably the "safest" rolling release you can use.

when I attempted to install Solus on a GPT/UEFI drive the installer balked. Their message said: No MSDOS drive. GPT/UEFI is clearly the path forward. As such we would anticipate support for MBR base systems will be deprecated and then dropped.

I'm trying to re-think this question at this point. I think the real answer is simple: Upgrading a system really isn't all that hard. But: a person has to take an interest in it. If not, then what? Hire the Geek Squad? I don't know anything about iPhones because I won't own one. And so I keep sending people the the Apple store for help.

I'm thinking of getting the .iso for this PCLinuxOS; maybe give that a try.

I remember years ago when IBM announced SMP/e for their 370 line. This was supposed to keep everyone's system up to date. We still needed to load new systems though and SMP/e just created a complicated language for doing it. oh well.

thanks again for all the notes !!

Timothy Miller 04-27-2020 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike acker (Post 6116355)
when I attempted to install Solus on a GPT/UEFI drive the installer balked. Their message said: No MSDOS drive. GPT/UEFI is clearly the path forward. As such we would anticipate support for MBR base systems will be deprecated and then dropped.

I'm trying to re-think this question at this point. I think the real answer is simple: Upgrading a system really isn't all that hard. But: a person has to take an interest in it. If not, then what? Hire the Geek Squad? I don't know anything about iPhones because I won't own one. And so I keep sending people the the Apple store for help.

I'm thinking of getting the .iso for this PCLinuxOS; maybe give that a try.

I remember years ago when IBM announced SMP/e for their 370 line. This was supposed to keep everyone's system up to date. We still needed to load new systems though and SMP/e just created a complicated language for doing it. oh well.

thanks again for all the notes !!

While somewhat off-topic, I have READ that some systems are coming now with firmware that literally no longer supports "legacy booting (MBR)" at all. I haven't seen one myself (OK, I haven't looked at some of the newer systems we've gotten at work), but definitely wouldn't be surprised.

mike acker 04-27-2020 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timothy Miller (Post 6116393)
While somewhat off-topic, I have READ that some systems are coming now with firmware that literally no longer supports "legacy booting (MBR)" at all. I haven't seen one myself (OK, I haven't looked at some of the newer systems we've gotten at work), but definitely wouldn't be surprised.

IMHO it's not at all off topic: over the years computer hardware and software has been in a continuous state of development and change.

I loaded a Manjaro system for evaluations. It's clearly a very good system. For my purposes though I prefer to stick with Debian or Debian base systems. Linux developers seem to prefer to package software as .deb and .rpm -- for Debian, or RedHat base systems. Manjaro, being Arch based uses its own tool. So, I think going that way is getting a bit farther off the beaten path.

It's entirely possible that cloud base systems are the better answer for those who "just want to use their computer". dunno.

Timothy Miller 04-27-2020 02:57 PM

If everything they do is online, then cloud systems such as ChromeOS are definitely the better solution. They "just work", are super simple, usually inexpensive and are well optimized for the hardware they're on. They are also very limited at times. Not so much with more recent Chromebooks (Crosstini brings full functionality to the Chromebook world), but the older ones if you want to do MORE than just online are rather useless. I have a HP Chromebook 13 G1 (skylake w/ 16GB ram, QHD+ LCD, 32GB eMMC) and with ChromeOS it's totally useless. I run Q4OS (Debian stable + Trinity desktop) and it's wonderful, but I literally can't stand it with ChromeOS on it.


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