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Old 04-07-2015, 12:38 PM   #1
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Ideal software and setup for a friend with a mental handicap

Hello I have a church friend who has an oldish laptop (about 3 years old) with Windows 7. He has mild autism and one of the results is that he doesn't quite understand that there is evil in the world. When he receives spam emails he opens attachments and clicks on all the adds.

He often has to come to me for help with malware removal. And most recently he has managed to mess up his computer beyond my ability to fix.

I am not a linux aficionado but I do use Ubuntu. Given his limited computer uses (E-mail, Internet, and Media Player) it seems like a linux distro would suit him better.

I am looking for something simple that will last for a long time with some or all of the following features.
  • Restrictions on the creation of executable files
  • No updating required
  • User firendly interface with large buttons
  • Web filtering for malitious content

Any advice Would be very helpful thank you.

I need a safe low maintenance user friendly linux setup for a family friend.
Old 04-07-2015, 12:40 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2014
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How about a Chromebook?
Old 04-07-2015, 12:45 PM   #3
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I would rather not spend any money. He Lives on a fairly small allotment from the state.

Although now that you mention it ChromeOS could be a good solution. Only issue is he wants to be able to play his music CD's.
Old 04-07-2015, 11:15 PM   #4
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Hi Thomad16...

This a bit of a tall order but...

Puppy Precise 5.6.1 (or Tahr 6.2, possible Precise 5.7.1, as well,) kind of fits what you're looking for. There are no updates like there is in Ubuntu and other ditributions. The icons were good sized for me. The vast majority of malware is written for Windows and shouldn't have any affect on a Linux system. Plus, Puppy is a lightweight distribution for older systems so it should run pretty snappy on your friend's laptop.

However, the OS runs as root so any changes he would make would not be met by any verification from the OS, like a password. Also, in terms of content (pornography) filters, the selection for Windows systems is much better, in my opinion. Most of the ones for Linux, from reading about them, always struck me as difficult to set up.

If you want to try a copy live to see what you think, just burn to a CD one of these .iso files: Tahr, (md5) and Precise.

Hope this helps...


Last edited by ardvark71; 04-07-2015 at 11:16 PM. Reason: Correction.
Old 04-08-2015, 08:10 AM   #5
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I think the OP is the "church" friend.

If an autistic person wishes to view porn, it isn't your job to add web filters.
I presume this person is an adult?

It would be better if you were to block spam emails asking for money.
Old 04-08-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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How about using the Unity version of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with 5 years of support?

The Unity version has largish icons/buttons (see Ubuntu 14.04-Unity.jpg).

Instead of no updating, you could set the Software Manager to do automatic updating:

You, as administrator (Thomad16) with sudo privileges, could set up a separate (non-sudo) new user account (Fred) for your friend.

All members of the group admin, are in Ubuntu by default allowed to use sudo.

If you do NOT want to give the user account full root access, you need to edit the /etc/sudoer file with visudo (it makes sure that you do not have any syntax errors in the file and lose sudo capability altogether) in a way that you specify what commands this user (or a new group) can execute as root.

The sudoers manual will give you more information about this. You can specify which commands are permitted by a particular user/group to be executed as root.

ProCon (easy) or NxFilter (more complicated) might be useful for filtering the (Firefox or other) web browser:

Thunderbird and other email clients have filters which can be set by the user or administrator.
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Last edited by beachboy2; 04-08-2015 at 10:17 AM.


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