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Old 07-25-2007, 01:38 AM   #1
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Uploading mom

I'm facing a bit of a dilemma. My mom thinks it's time to get a pc and well, at 67 it's about time!

Now she hasn't got any experience what so ever with any OS so my thirst thought was to install linux on the new pc. All she reads though is about win (newspapers etc) and this might make it all a confusing.
She'll be using her pc for surfing (well, after she gets that ) and perhaps some light office stuff. I know all this can be done very well in linux for ages but...the doubt is there.

Btw most of the maintaining of the OS will be done by me anyways. Linux has the big advantage that errors of downloading virusses and spyware are practicly impossible. The distro is not in question. I can build a Debian system with all she needs in no time.

What do you think?

Old 07-25-2007, 03:01 AM   #2
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I've installed Debian and Ubuntu for a couple people who don't really use computers beyond some websurfing, email, and online banking. They've never been happier.
Old 07-25-2007, 03:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by powadha
Linux has the big advantage that errors of downloading virusses and spyware are practicly impossible.
Don't underestimate any danger.

Yeah, I have installed Ubuntu operating systems (and may do it again, soon) for several people and nobody has yet complained. Of course there are always some minor "problems" or things that need some work, but compared to the operating systems they have used before, the comments have been positive. Ubuntu is based on Debian, but it's more friendly towards new users in my opinion; it doesn't argue about restricted drivers or anything, so for a non-techie it's just all right. Of course if some techie does the administrative tasks and is there all the time to make things work when they don't, it's all the same.

I think for a person who has not used computers before it's no use installing Windows because it's "the most user friendly thing on earth". Maybe because a lot of stuff on the web is still geared towards Windows (active X, IE-only sites, ...), but not because of user friendliness. Ubuntu would be a good pick if you ask me, but you said you've already thought about the OS matter. If you are there to help her when things don't work (get the IE sites working somehow, install plugins she needs to be able to watch YouTube videos or listen to some audio content) and so on, then there is no question - go ahead with Linux.

But remember, for a person like this who has never used computers before (if I read that right; correct me if I'm wrong), the main goal is to make the experience as easy and friendly as possible, not as open-source as possible. If it means choosing Windows, then choose Windows - the hardest part in this matter, if I'm asked, is to put yourself into the position of a complete new user to computers, and think like she does. A simple matter for you might not be simple to her in the beginning. Do the thinking and planning part right, and the user experience with Linux is the best that can be offered (or do it wrong, and it's a hell she never wants to get into again).
Old 07-25-2007, 07:44 AM   #4
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In my household, I am the SA, and systems are set up on Linux. Mostly, everything goes smoothly. I do tinker quite a bit---and sometimes get flak when I leave the computer in a weird state.

Most people will not care what is the OS--as long as they can do their work.
Old 07-25-2007, 09:30 AM   #5
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If you've never used a computer before, I believe the difficulty of windows vs. Linux vs. OSX is probably a moot point. I have users that have been running Windows for quite some time and are still lost. So saying Windows is easy is relative to your personal experience.

My wife sat down and used my Linux PC with no prior Linux experience and had no trouble. Once I showed her where the Browsers was, and what program you use to type a letter, etc.. she was as functional on the Linux machine as she was on a Windows PC.

The advantage of no prior PC experience is you have nothing to compare to, nothing to un-learn. Configure the system with just what she needs and she will be fine.

I would much rather support and update a Linux machine remotely than try to do the same on a windows PC.
Old 07-25-2007, 09:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by farslayer
If you've never used a computer before, I believe the difficulty of windows vs. Linux vs. OSX is probably a moot point.
I agree with farslayer. The reason Winodws is considered user-friendly compared to a distro such as Ubuntu is merely a matter of prior learning. If I had started with Linux instead of Windows, a Windows PC would probably be foreign to me.

Since she's heard more about Windows, maybe explain why you would prefer to install Linux, and why open-source is important to you. If she still wants Windows, so be it, but I think the open-source philosophy appeals to a lot of people.
Old 07-26-2007, 07:34 AM   #7
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My wife used to use Windows a little bit, but she never started using the computers very much until after I had converted over to Linux. She now spends some time every day and she has her own PCLinuxOS workstation. When we are at our daughters house and she tries to use her XP computer she gets seriously confused and can't seem to figure out how to do much of anything.

So I agree with the previous replies that what works best is what you are used to.
Old 07-26-2007, 01:25 PM   #8
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I think it would be much easier to run linux instead of windows because you don't have to worry about her clicking on random pop-ups and getting viruses and spyware and the like
Old 07-29-2007, 04:58 PM   #9
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Thanx for the all the response. I'll be setting up a Linux system and see how she does. If (as mentioned) she can't handle it, I'll switch to win, but I agree that having no earlier experience is an advantage to learn Linux.

I'll let you know how it went.



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