Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Giving the Gift of Ubuntu Linux for Christmas? 235

Father Christmas asks: "This Christmas I have decided to give all of my friends and relatives Ubuntu Linux CDs from the Ubuntu ShipIt service. In addition, I plan to help them backup their old systems, install Ubuntu, and then introduce them to using Linux for their everyday tasks. What sort of post-installation changes should be made to Ubuntu to make it easy for everyday people to use? What extra software packages should be installed? Should I stick with the default Gnome installation, or would KDE be a better choice? Is there anything else that should be done to maximize the utility of their systems, as well as make their first experience with Linux a great one?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Giving the Gift of Ubuntu Linux for Christmas?

Comments Filter:
  • I'm emailing all my friends this link [debian.org] for Christmas.
    • You mean you're not going to burn it to DVD, put the DVD in a nice case, put that in a box with a stuffed penguin, and wrapped up the box in red and gold tinfoil wrapping? Not only are you a cheap bastard, but your mom probably pays for the internet access.
  • ...it's undoubtedly good for them, but how many of them will *want* it?
    • by Klaidas ( 981300 )
      Unless they're gamers/graphics designers/want everything just-working(tm)
    • I installed it on my 60 yr old moms computer and she's says it's the best computer she has ever owned (doesn't understand the difference between Windows and Linux) She now calls every weekend and says 'Still up!' referring to the fact that her system hasn't crashed yet. It works with her scanner, her digital camera my brother bought her and doesn't have a single problem.
  • wow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @12:53PM (#16716613)
    Suddenly a pack of argyle socks or some tighty-whities doesn't look like such a bad gift after all...
  • by jZnat ( 793348 ) * on Saturday November 04, 2006 @12:53PM (#16716623) Homepage Journal
    Make sure to install the non-free media libraries (e.g. libxine-extracodecs, Adobe Flash 9 beta, libdvdcss2). Make sure they have main, universe, multiverse, and restricted all enabled in their sources.list. You might want to add the WINE repository (deb http://wine.budgetdedicated.com/apt [budgetdedicated.com] dapper main) so they get the latest version of WINE (install that too).

    If they use GNOME, I would still recommend installing Amarok [1.4.3] (deb http://kubuntu.org/packages/amarok-stable/ [kubuntu.org] dapper main) for their music pleasure. Hell, you could install Amarok 1.4.4 which comes with a built-in music store (Magnatune).

    In the case of whether to use GNOME or KDE, I recommend giving both LiveCDs to him/her to try and let them determine which one they like better; it's completely personal preference to non-geeks (us geeks seem to prefer KDE due to functionality and customisability, but others prefer GNOME for its simplicity as well) and geeks alike. I recommend KDE, but that's just my opinion (Kubuntu is a nice KDE distro; they provide backports for up to date KDE packages on kubuntu.org including KDE, KOffice, and Amarok).
    • Make sure to install the non-free media libraries (e.g. libxine-extracodecs, Adobe Flash 9 beta, libdvdcss2).

      Mepis [mepis.org] comes with all of that but decss, which is against the law to distribute in the US. Mepis now uses Ubunto as a base but still has the same KDE look and feel it always did. You might also have to get the "essential" Windoze Media codecs listed in the xine comand line dump, if you want to play some types of WMV. For all that, Mepis is a great time saver on installation for "normal" users w

    • While amaroK rocks (it's the first of it's kind that got me to switch from xmms/beep-media-player), I'd highly recommend Exaile [exaile.org]. It's very similar and incorporates much of the functionality, but it's designed for Gnome. It fits in much better with the desktop. I've been using it for a few months now and have been very satisfied. They provide many packages for different distributions as well.

      If you're using Gnome, give it a try. If you using KDE, stick with amaroK.
    • Also toss on flash. In Ubuntu it isn't as easy as clicking on the link in a web page that says "flash is required to view this content; get flash here". It would be nice to install it for them.
  • Don't forget the free foot rub coupon for grandma, the free breakfast in bed coupon for momma, the free yardwork coupon for dad, and the free nerdy love coupon for the girlfriend.
  • I would highly recommend Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu) because KDE is easier to navigate and configure when you have used windows before. I find the menus more similar to windows and better laid out. There's nothing stopping them from switching to Gnome afterward, but they will never stick with Linux in general if they aren't at least somewhat comfortable getting around at first.
  • Instead why don't you give them lottery tickets or something else equally as useless.
    • Does this mean you didn't like the scratch-offs I sent? Tell the world, why don't you.

      - BeeBeard "Beeloney" Beekowski
  • Proselytizing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by idiot900 ( 166952 ) * on Saturday November 04, 2006 @01:02PM (#16716711)
    "This Christmas I have decided to give all of my friends and relatives our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ from the church I go to. In addition, I plan to help them disavow their previous faith, if any, read the Bible, and then introduce them to living as a Christian for their everyday tasks. What sort of post-conversion changes should be made to Christianity to make it easy for everyday people to use? What extra faith-based initiatives should be installed? Should I stick with the default denomination, or would Southern Baptist be a better choice? Is there anything else that should be done to maximize the utility of their lives, as well as make their first experience with Jesus a great one?"

    Are you sure your all your friends and relatives actually want Linux, terrific though it may be, rather than having it forced down their throats?
    • Are you sure your all your friends and relatives actually want Linux, terrific though it may be, rather than having it forced down their throats?

      You know, that just made me think of something... No matter whether I want to or not, I am the default technical support for my entire family. And apparently they are extending my family support to their friends. I still remember with great bitterness the time that some stranger appeared at my door, WITH A PC IN HAND, and *told* me that my parental unit had sent hi
      • I still remember with great bitterness the time that some stranger appeared at my door, WITH A PC IN HAND, and *told* me that my parental unit had sent him over.

        Tell them simply and directly that the free tech support only extends to your parental units. My mother tried doing that with the store she worked at once. The first problem was a simple one, so I just fixed it since I was there (she had been the one that called me and asked me to come over to the store without telling me what she wanted - I figur
        • by Knetzar ( 698216 )
          My parents didn't seem to like it when I told them that. The worst part is that my dad is upper management for an IT company that has some of the best tech support people I've met.
      • This works pretty well. In 9 years, I've only used Windows for one job for a year, and then it was pretty much Word and web browsing. I haven't done admin stuff on a Windows machine at all in that time. After the first few years, I really did forget how it all worked, and had to start telling my mom "Sorry, but I don't know how to fix Windows anymore." At first it annoyed her, but eventually she realized that I was telling the truth and stopped asking as often.

        My sister eventually got a Mac, and I could c

    • Bravo.
  • Bad f*cking idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by capsteve ( 4595 ) * on Saturday November 04, 2006 @01:05PM (#16716743) Homepage Journal
    i'm sorry, not to be mean, but giving ubuntu install media and a promise to help install it is like giving crocheted tea cozy to coffee drinker who neither has a teapot or likes drinks tea. it seems like an altruistic gift, like making a donation in someone else's name to help fight world hunger/peta/greenpeace, but it would probably be perceived as an excuse to get out of gift giving and yet another opportunity to soapbox your software political stance. they'd probably appreciate a bag of sticks and coal more than a linux install disk... at least they would be able to use is in a weber for grilling.

    i think ubuntu is a great distro, but not everyone will want to use it(linux in general)... so what happens to the gift receipient who needs to use windows at home because he/she is a telecommuter?

    "hey thanks father christmas! ubuntu linux!?!! this is really cool, but i can't install it on my work computer... really appreciate the thought though ;-) you know what they say, it's the thought that counts! *cough* bull$hit gift *cough*"


    "hey thanks uncle father christmas!! cool! i've always wanted to try linux on my pc! i can be a hacker just like you!! can i still play halo and GTA and WoW? no? what? maybe in emulation? no, i'm not allowed to drink wine... oh, thanks anyways..."

    being the geek in the family, they prolly come to you for all their computer needs/requests for help, etc, but would you appreciate a copy of windows and a promise to help install it on your computer as a gift? if you really want to give a computer or linux related gift, get you folks a giant mousepad, or a new usb thumbdrive(1gb thumbdrives at microcenter for $15!), or some other a wrt54g with dd-wrt preloaded, but not an install disk.

    most people don't like religion or politics crammed down their throats by friends and family, evangelism of any sort is usually a turn-off. be politically neutral with your christmas gifts and give something your family really wants. you can spend the rest of the year thumping you chest about ubuntu/linux/FOSS (you prolly already do), but make xmas not about your personal software beliefs.

    • It seems a bit of a small gift, although it's not quite as bad as you make it sound - especially if this is from a student, who probably doesn't have much in the line of money. Frankly, a lot of people are interested in learning what this "Linux Thing" is. It's not much different than buying someone an iMac, except they can use the CD in most generic PCs. They're also free to dual boot and keep that Windows partition, so they're not really losing anything but excess disk space which is so common these days.
  • I would suggest using EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org] post-installation to install the various non-free packages that make Linux nicer to use. You can be sure that your friends and relatives won't want to keep using Linux very long if they don't have Flash, Java, WMV codecs, etc installed. EasyUbuntu makes it not look like doing this is an ugly hack.

    Automatix [getautomatix.com] is also a good choice, but I've heard some stories about people having problems with it not backing up their config files and such.
  • most people won't be that pleased though - but they will pretend to be, and that's what counts

    As for advice, well, I prefer GNOME, I personally feel it's easier to work with and like that it feels like a more radical departure from what I've been using since '95 (ie. Windows 95-XP with the "start bar") - but some people would rather stick to something similar to what they know... I'd show them both, maybe get SLAX (a Live slackware with KDE) and something like a fedora live CD (yes, we have those now, an
  • This is like replacing their automatic transmissions with manual transmissions in their vehicles.

    "We've secretly replaced grandmas windows xp operating system with Ubuntu Linux... let's see if she notices."
  • Just to be on the safe side, bring along discs for both 6.06.1 and 6.10. Some systems are less stable on 6.10 (problems hanging while trying to reboot on mine).
    • by Klaidas ( 981300 )
      6.10 \o/ \o/
      Most problems are experienced while upgrading, not while simply clean installing.
      • Yeah, but not all problems are with upgrading. I did a clean install, including removing all the .config files in ~/. I still could not reboot the computer without it hanging just before the reboot. Interestingly enough, I could shutdown fine (most of the time).

        I'm going to try another clean install next weekend and not use automatix then (Maybe I made a mistake about using automatix this time -- I needed a fairly fully functioning system fast, and Ubuntu leaves a lot of nice stuff out of the default ins
      • by LocoMan ( 744414 )
        Agree with the other comment here, some but not all. Not sure why, but my computer works perfectly with 6.06, but the 6.10 liveCD/installer doesn't even start no matter what I did. Eventually managed update to 6.10 from the repositories (took some trouble to do it, though), but left some weird problems that for some reason I couldn't fix without switching to KDE (which I kinda like better after using it for a week or so anyway... and for the record, the problems were errors in the keyboard settings that pre
      • Not on my machine.

        Rumor has it that a new acpi patch is the culprit. On my system it will run but the mhz speed wont go down on my laptop when idle and it no longer hibernates. This is also a 6.10 issue. and sounds like an ACPI bug as well. I was going to download a vinilla kernel but I have issues with /dev/mixer and other strange bugs with multimedia on my system. Some symlinks are probably not setup right.

        Its definitely buggy and LTS is not included iwth this release. Hmmm I wonder why?
  • by anon mouse-cow-aard ( 443646 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @01:13PM (#16716823) Journal
    I appreciate your sentiment, and I wish you the best, but I think you are... well, very optimistic...
    Checkout my dapper -> Edgy upgrade stories in my Journal. They arent smooth. They arent rocket science, but by and large, normal people would not get through it. So you are signing up to be the sole source of tech support for all your friends and family. Thats very generous, if you tell people to do something and they do it, after that time, anything that happens to any of those computers is going to be your fault... machine no longer has a power light? Must be that new fangled ubutnu thingum... Call Jake... This game doesnt install? Call Jake... For every single one of those problems folks are going to say... I dont understand this ubutnu thing because they cannot go to BestBuy and have the friendly teenagers there change the power supply because... "Ubuntu, we dont support that?!"

    It isnt like there is anything wrong with Kubuntu. I run it almost exclusively and love it. It is truly great linux distribution, and a very easy (in comparison to other linux distributions.) thing to use. The problem here is the network effect. Everyone uses windows, so everyone supports windows, so everyone uses windows. I dont know how to fix that. I keep hoping that MS could develop some really effective copy protection for MS-Office, so that folks at home actually start paying the legitimate prices for it. That would provide an eye opener

    I hope you can make it work for your friends and family, to help break the network effect, but be prepared for a lot of work.

  • Is there anything else that should be done to maximize the utility of their systems, as well as make their first experience with Linux a great one?"

    1. No zealotism ("Windows is closed source, therefore it's bad. You can everything on Linux. It's way better, etc.") - this is bad. There is no need to do it. Set up dual boot, let them choose whatever they want.
    2. Install basic things - codecs, xmms, firestarter, mplayer, etc.
    3. Tell the the truth (like gaming on linux [uncyclopedia.org]). Tell them pros and cons. It's pret

    • If you set up dual boot, you may as well just give them a smaller hard drive they won't switch over when familiar windows is on it.

      So after installing Linux on their PC's put windows back on it so they can use outlook express.

      Remember, for the geek/nerd/basement dweller, Linux is fine. But I STILL don't think it's ready for mainstream. Take for example my Print/Scan/Copier. I put in a CD in windows and it works. To make it work in Linux it took me over an hour of playing, and I still couldn't scan.
  • Don't do it as a christmas present. Instead, just explain to them the virtues of linux and see if they are interested. And tell them the truth, that it may not run all the software they want to.

    As soon as grandma finds out she can't use her greeting card or family tree software she will just get little johnny to format and install xp anyways.
  • I understand wanted to push free software and get people away from Windows. Giving them an install CD is not the way to do it.

    Are you willing to be tech support 24x7 when WoW, MS Office, or Photoshop doesn't "just work"? If not, stick to the basics... Give out Knoppix DVDs, the Free Software windows CDs, or something similar.

    Or maybe do something personal. Scan in old family photos and put give DVDs of them. If you have digital photographs of the family already, give out CDs/DVDs of them. There are a number
  • Man, why not print out certificates for "The People Fund - Money for People", it would suck slightly less.
  • First, ignore the jackasses who think this is a terrible idea because their family and friends wouldn't like it---because, um, you're not giving it to THEIR family and friends. After all, my family wouldn't like these Christmas gifts since we're Jewish . . . .

    Second, I think that some of your offer to help install/administer their linux boxes should include spending time with them and finding out how they use their computer, what features they find essential, and the like. It would be worth it to burn a f
    • by r3m0t ( 626466 )
      For normal users, the Ubuntu installer ("Applications -> Add/Remove") is much nicer than Synaptic or Adept. It's almost futile to find the right (GNOME-like, does the right thing) program in Synaptic without its name.
    • I think that some of your offer to help install/administer their linux boxes should include spending time with them and finding out how they use their computer, what features they find essential, and the like.

      You think?

      MSDOS and Windows have been in the home for twenty-five years. You think just maybe it might make more even sense to sit down with your family and see how they use their computers before you try migrating them to Linux?

    • I think that some of your offer to help install/administer their linux boxes should include spending time with them and finding out how they use their computer, what features they find essential, and the like.

      Thats it, you have to understand their needs. My sister needed something absolutely bullet proof for her share house environment. It only had to browse the web and ubuntu was ideal because it was stable and malware wouldn't work on it.

      She has gone overseas now and my mum needs a simple (one or two cl

    • Those clever folks at Canonical have figured out how to do a combined live + install disk. Only one disk needed.
  • by Mongoose ( 8480 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @01:46PM (#16717179) Homepage
    I gave my grandparents their first computer. I'm talking about showing them how to use a mouse, and very basic tasks for the first weeks. The OS? Debian unstable I customized for their personal use -- I'm talking I even wrote some applications like an ink monitor. This year I've already got them a new box, which is an Athlon XP running Ubuntu LTS with their migrated /home partition. The typical tasks are browsing the web, writing documents for their church/recipes/etc, viewing and printing photos from yahoo email, and much more.

    If you give them an old computer with Ubuntu 'pre-installed' they'll have an easy go of it. I don't even remember how many years they've ran Linux now. I do know they never got any viruses or had anyone break into their system from the internet. The only major problem they have is getting someone to help them install a new ink cart if I'm not around when the ink is out. I say Linux is a great first OS when you consider how great the USB camera support is these days! =)
    • It's really interesting you bring this up. There was actually a study done last year by Novell that found people who've never used computers before acclimate to Linux as fast (or faster) than Windows.
      • by Mongoose ( 8480 )
        I always do this as basic steps for ease of use:
        + Set 'single click actions'.
        + Enable desktop icons.
        + Put the common applications and folders on the desktop.

        They know click this to go on the net, and click these to see pictures and so forth. I make sure all the names of the icons are easy to understand also with generic names along with proper names. Double clicking is something I didn't have to teach. Also this helps if I move them to a mac mini later. ;)

        GNOME installs now come preconfigured mostly like
    • by Reapman ( 740286 )
      Agreed... I'm tempted to move my mom over since she just browses and listens to some audio broadcasts (gotta research all that out) but I won't do it until I get her a new box. And then it's 50/50 between Ubuntu or a Mac Mini (it would really fit with the decor where she has it, and to her that's probably one of the most important things)

      However if I cannot get exactly what she does working on an on Windows box... she is keeping Windows. After 18 years of her bringing me up providing support on the phone
    • This is a great example. However, most people aren't like your grandparents. Your grandparents are exceptional because they hadn't used a computer before.

      Most people already have a lot of habits they've built around Windows, and they won't adapt easily to Linux. It's not because of anything about Linux in particular -- they'd have the same problems switching to MacOS X. Most people aren't interested in computers, begrudge any time they have to spend messing with computers, have no basic understanding of h

  • or want, for that matter, you shouldn't be giving them an OS change.


    This type of posting comes up every holiday season. The distro may change, but it's the same subject every year. Use search.

  • Give them Ubuntu Christian Edition! [whatwouldj...wnload.com] !
  • Don't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by focitrixilous P ( 690813 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @02:31PM (#16717579) Journal
    Don't do it. As much as you may hate doing Windows Tech Support, you'll get ten times the phone calls if you do this. As opposed to just occasionally breaking, everything is broken now in their minds. The first time they get a word document that OpenOffice can't open, the first time they can't hook up their iPod, if they buy a new printer that doesn't work when they put in the driver cd.

    If you don't want to spend the next 6 months troubleshooting linux problems and then reinstalling windows, don't do this. Most of them will probably buy a new computer and never ask you for computer help again. If that's what you want, fine, but it sounds like you are trying to be helpful here, and that is not the way to do it.

    • My dad bought his first Mac about a year ago. Before that I was doing support visits on a monthly basis for a number of years; and that was with him only using the computer a couple times a week to read the news. Since then, he doesn't even invite me over, and my mom complains that he's always on the computer doing stuff. He has bought himself an ipod and ripping his CDs and scanning in the cover art himself.

      I haven't been there to see it in almost 6 months. Maybe I should have left him with windows.
    • Agreed.

      Also keep in mind that if any of your friends or relatives have children, then no doubt the kids have all sorts of silly games on their existing computers that they won't want to lose -- or the latest version of proprietary instant messenger software with cute animated smilies might be pretty important. And what about those in your circle who are currently using Microsoft Money or similar for paying bills? Turbo Tax!?? Or people who have some silly hallmark greeting card software? Or people who pa
  • If you really expect to transition all your friends and family to Ubuntu linux, shouldn't you at least try it out yourself first? Then you will know first hand what changes will need to be made and how appropriate it is for your users.

    Anyway, that said, ubuntuguide.org [ubuntuguide.org] is an excellent user-friendly one-stop-shop for new users, including how to install just about any 3rd party or non-free application or library that the average user is likely to need. Thanks to the richness of Ubuntu Universe, Backports an
  • Give them the gift of knowing how to use the Ubuntu install CD as a LiveCD and how NOT to nuke their hard drive (hint hint don't ever click "Install" unless you WANT to install). Once they're comfortable with that there will be none of this "My program isn't working I need it reinstalled can you come over I can't do any work for the next 4 hours until you're off work" crap; just throw in the CD and hit Firefox/OpenOffice.org and continue working until help arrives.
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 04, 2006 @03:08PM (#16717847) Homepage
    If I were your friend, I'd not thank you for imposing your [religious|political] beliefs on me. *Especially* when such beliefs mean I have to change out virtually everything familiar to me on my computer, and limits my choices in the future of games and applications. (Seriously, would you walk into your friends house and dump all of his food in the trash, or all his books or clothes? Because emotionally - that's what you are doing.)
    What is it about Linux that leads people to such acts of zealotry?
  • OS evangelism as a Christmas present.

    I know it's the thought that counts, but jesus wept...
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @03:31PM (#16718045)
    There really seems to be no question of "Do these people want to be converted?"

    It's pretty audacious to assume that everyone you know really wants to learn a new OS, deal with a whole new slew of applications and the 'nix intricacies that they will inevitably have to work with to keep the installation functioning. A personal desktop OS isn't like a corporate desktop OS. You can't say "Here, it's installed, now don't touch anything." People will want to customize things, change settings and I'm pretty sure that somewhere along the line something will break. I'd much rather have someone who normally wouldn't even know what Linux is switch to something like Mac OS X.
    • There really seems to be no question of "Do these people want to be converted?"

      Seconded. In a related discussion I found reference to Linux is NOT Windows [oneandoneis2.org], which has good points for people considering Linux as a Windows alternative.

    • by petrus4 ( 213815 )
      It's pretty audacious to assume that everyone you know really wants to learn a new OS

      Granted, but a question I'd also ask is,

      "Do they want to pay $300 (AUD) or so for Vista itself, and then possibly another $500-$2,000 on top of that for the hardware upgrades required to run it? Do they also then want to be locked into the amount of DRM they will be with Vista, not to mention its' jackbooted EULA? Are they happy with all the WGA garbage, and the fact that Microsoft seem to think that it's generous to allo
      • by r3m0t ( 626466 )
        Here's another idea.

        Stay with XP!

        And why does everybody keep banging on about some "Vista DRM"? Apart from the change in WMP11 (not allowing you to back up your licenses), I don't see the problem. (I don't have any protected files anyway.)
  • First, do everything that you can to ensure that they can use as many websites as possible. Install Flash, RealPlayer, Java, and Shockwave plug-ins. If they can't watch videos and play games, "linux is broken." That includes the ability to play mp3, wmv, quicktime AND DVDs.

    Second, really think about installing Wine (you may end up doing this just to get Shockwave working). It'll cause grief either way, but if they can run whatever cheap recipe CD they picked up at Wal-Mart, they'll be happier.

    Finally, s
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @04:00PM (#16718301)
    If you want to introduced them to linux, do this, install it on their computers as the secondary partition. Take care to resize their original partition (and save ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING FIRST) before you install linux. Then have Grub make Windows as the primary boot up.

    Tell them that if Windows is ever broken or whatever, to try the Ubuntu.

    Better yet, instead of installing Ubuntu at all, give it to them on a USB stick, (I'm fairly certain Ubuntu can boot off USB, like Knoppix, but not 100%, if not, go with Knoppix instead). Tell them that if their computer is broken, use Ubuntu on a stick. If they don't want it, they have a nifty 1GB USB stick (a decent present, I saw 1GB sticks at Aldi for $22 last week, not too expensive either) and can use it for other purposes.

    This way you can introduce them to Linux without forcing them and stay their friend. Yeah, most people won't use it, but perhaps 1 or 2 will and like it. The way you are doing it, you are almost guaranteed to have them all hate it and fill your time with more calls than ever before.

    Also, give them a disk with Windows Apps (ad-aware, AVG virus scanner) so it seems that they still have a choice.
  • GNOME tries very hard to be a desktop environment that just works. KDE has more options you can set, which is great if you like that sort of thing. A typical comment from happy KDE users seems to be "I have my KDE desktop set up just the way I want it." A typical comment from happy GNOME users seems to be "It just works, and I don't need to fuss with it." (This is not to imply that you can't customize GNOME; of course you can. And there are plenty of people who are happy with the KDE defaults.)

    I do agr
    • A GNOME user who isn't foaming at the mouth. I don't see one of those every day.

      Sarcasm aside, I wish I could come across more people with such balanced perspectives about their desktop environments...Most people I've seen don't seem to feel secure about their own choices unless they're verbally bashing other people's...so when I see a change from that, I appreciate it.

      If I had points currently, I'd mod you up.
  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Saturday November 04, 2006 @05:25PM (#16718961) Journal
    You know, as much as I'd like my relatives to use linux - and they may appreciate it in the long term - I realize that it is something that *I* would like. Giving the "gift of Ubuntu" to others during the season is really a gift to yourself, as it panders to your interests, and not likely theirs. If they showed and interest in such things it might be a nice gift, but you really should consider whose interests you have in mind.

    One of these days I'll probably be nuking the grandparents' computer and throwing linux at it, probably after one-too-many windows service calls. However, I'd never consider changing everything over a gift, but rather a compromise.

    I put "linuxing" somebody's computer as a gift in the same arena as the girlfriends who tried to buy me clothes items they liked (and I didn't) for various occasions. It's not a gift to me, it's an excuse to spend money on yourself in my name. Alternately, I had some smarter ones who actually went shopping with me, and we picked out clothes that we both liked (casual, but not dumpy, and nothing that tried to feel like a smartass 15yr-old).

    Perhaps you should gauge what your relatives want before giving this gift, no?
  • Isn't the point of giving Christmas presents to give your friends and family something they want, not only something you want them to have?

    This sounds akin to giving your wife a table saw (unless e.g. she likes carpentry).

  • Do you hate your family?
  • as they either have iPod's (both Mac and Windows users), or use Mac-specific software (iLife), or Windows-specific software (games). The only person whom I personally know that could get away with that is my mother (email-only), but she's got my old CRT-based iMac, and she's perfectly happy with Mail.app.
  • I have messed around with Linux since the old days. We're talking since like '92 or so here. My first install was 15 floppies that I downloaded from the Penn State mainframe on dialup using Kermit for my FTP client, lol. I think it was Debian 0.9 or somesuch. Over the years I have partitioned, re-partitioned, etc. It works but the amount of fiddle-farting around involved is extreme, and the chance that something can go wrong is also non-trivial.

    My suggestion to anybody that wants to install Linux these day

  • What the fuck? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by butane317 ( 998898 )
    I hate it when people get me shitty Christmas gifts that I'll never use. Sometimes it's a cute stuffed animal, sometimes it's a talking keychain, sometimes it's a house decoration. I mean, it's fun for like, an hour, until I get sick of it. What a waste of money! I much prefer it when my grandma gives me a box full of clothes that fit me, or when my mom gives me enough toilet paper to last until next Christmas. I don't want cutesy shit that I don't need, the best Christmas gift is something that I'll a
  • That's it. The PERFECT GIFT to my girlfriend. In fact, I'll just return this expensive diamond ring and put the install dvd right on her finer before I drop the question!. Oh, slashdot you come up with the best gift ideas! Without great advice like this, Im sure I'd just be a miserable loner with out any women.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger