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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma? 287

First time accepted submitter BlazeMiskulin writes "With XP approaching end-of-life, I find myself in a situation that I'm guessing is common: What to do with Mom's machine (or 'grandma's machine' for the younger of you). Since a change has to be made, this seems like a good time to move to a Linux distro. My mother (82) uses her computer for e-mail and web-browsing only. I know that any distro will be able to handle her needs. I've been using Linux (Ubuntu, CentOS, and Redhat--usually with KDE interface) for about 10 years now, but I know that my preferences are quite different from hers.

I have my own ideas, but I'm curious what others think: What combination of distro and UI would you recommend for an old, basic-level user who is accustomed to the XP interface and adverse to change?"
My Grandmother seems happy running KDE on Debian.
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

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  • If she does, I would suggest Linux Mint, as it will have a reasonably familiar interface (icons, start menu) and is also an acceptable system. Keep in mind that you will have to keep adjusting it to her tastes, for example, editing menus or creating icons for her. If you are familiar with another systems (say, Unity), you might try that. As you will have to give her support, it's very important that you are familiar

    And pray she doesn't want to stay with Windows. My mother learned to use Windows 8 out of spi

    • by jomcty ( 806483 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:49PM (#46429587)
      Ditto to Linux Mint LTS. Don't forget to install the ssh-server and x11vnc for remote management. :) I replaced WinXP on my Dad's computer with LM and forgot to install the ssh server since it isn't installed by default; I was accustomed to RH distros and assumed ssh-server was installed by default.
    • by rvw ( 755107 )

      I use Kaspersky for family computers, $40 for 3 computers yearly I believe. Before I used Avast, until it started to get annoying. I forced her to use Firefox when she started using a computer, and installed Adblock and some other addons that keep browsing safe without annoying her with popups. You can even install Noscript in such a way that it blocks a known list of sites and scripts, without ever asking for new scripts. If she had to buy a new computer, I would use the old Windows 7 install disc and remo

    • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @05:38PM (#46431043) Homepage
      One warning: Unity, with the need to get the mouse into a very small strip down the left side of the screen to get to menus, is not at all "Parkinson's friendly." After several months of struggling with it, my older sister let me install Xfce on her Ubuntu desktop, and she's found it much easier. And, when she got a laptop, we started off with Xubuntu because we knew that was what she wanted. You may not find Xfce as comfortable as we do, (I use it on Fedora.) but if you're setting up a computer for somebody who has difficulties with small, precise hand motions, pick a DE that doesn't require them, and you'll all be better off.
  • by Himmy32 ( 650060 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:26PM (#46428855)
    I setup a Linux station over 10 years back for my mother, who at the time was used to XP. Worry less about the distribution and more about the ease of the steps that it takes to do the tasks she wants to accomplish. I setup up an AWN dock with Firefox, OpenOffice Apps and VLC. In the end it kinda looked like ChromeOS does these days... I handled patching, updates, support via VNC. The amount of support calls dropped signficantly because it just worked. Change usually isn't the problem trying to memorize new series of complicated steps is.
    • My experience is the simpler the better. I replaced my 60 year old mother's XP with Xubuntu. I didn't apply much of th eye candy, made sure to install Teamviewer and a cron job to pull security updates once per week. Her only complaint was that her ancient Canon printer wasn't compatible. Five minutes on NewEgg fixed that.
    • When my Mom's old Dell running XP got too slow five or so years ago, I wiped it and installed Ubuntu, and she adapted quickly. She's still on Ubuntu now, but still has an old enough version that she has Gnome 2. I'm thinking for her 80th birthday in a few months I'll get her a new machine running Mint.

  • I'll second that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:26PM (#46428857) Homepage Journal

    KDE on Debian or any other distro tends to provide the most "XP like" user interface that I've seen. You just need to enable double-click mouse behaviour instead of the default single-click, add a few of their favourite apps to the desktop, and they're good to go.

    If you're on an old system, you'll want to disable the file indexing daemons as well, as they can consume a lot of CPU and slow the machine down. If all the main user does is email and web browsing, they're not going to benefit from the indexing.

    • I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

      by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @06:01PM (#46431221)

      KDE is ok but not the best unless the user is a power user who likes a more custom desktop. Better XP alternatives are mint with cinnamon or xfce. Both seem a bit snappier and less laden with configuration options. If mum is running XP with the default Fisher price theme and the clouds-and-rolling-green-fields wallpaper the featuritis of KDE is wasted on her.

      That said a bit of change is not always bad. If mum uses web for everything then chromebook is pretty classic looking and very simple to use and maintain assuming you are getting new hardware and want affordability. OTOH it could be useful to depart from the possibly stale XP era desktop style if mum is not too set in her ways. In my personal experience GNOME 3 has gone over fairly well. If us FOSS hackers hate it that often means it is something casual users will like;-) . With GNOME 3 you get something that reduces down to a simple launcher. In just a few minutes you can put mum's apps in the favourites dock, do a couple minor tweaks then show mum how to launch her app. Virtually everything us /. types b!tch about w.r.t. GNOME like hidden or missing config options or problems with multi desktop on multi monitor are stuff mum has no clue about and will never care to learn about. So GNOME is the choice I made and now they think all forms of MSFT windows suck.

  • by arfonrg ( 81735 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:26PM (#46428861)

    ..and that is coming from a die-hard Slackware user.

    • by arfonrg ( 81735 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:33PM (#46428935)

      I have moved several parents to Linux with Mint. The XFCE edition is the most windows like (especially if you select the Redmond theme) that I have found. Email, web-browsing and solitaire all work so they are happy.

  • Chromebook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:27PM (#46428871)

    I'm recommending a Chromebook to my mother in the same situation of web browsing and web-based email only. I like it for her since it's low cost, difficult to do anything software-wise to mess it up, and as close to zero maintenance as I can find.

    • Re:Chromebook (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:32PM (#46428927)

      That's an excellent choice, if she has a gmail account. Especially if you get one with HDMI (external monitor for her older eyes) & USB jacks (external keyboard for her older hands).

      Xubuntu would also be a good choice...

    • Re:Chromebook (Score:5, Informative)

      by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:53PM (#46429107)

      I agree Chromebook is excellent choice for anyone who just wants email and web browser and on rare occasion a bit more. I know even younger users (in 50's and 60's) tired of tweaking computers or expensive Apple devices have happily moved to Chromebooks.

    • Re:Chromebook (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:24PM (#46429385)

      I bought a chrome book to replace my mothers imac. On paper this seemed like a really good idea since simply put ChromeOS removes everything you don't need. it's a browser that self updates and stores stuff on line. Unfortuntatley this did not go as well as I hoped and the imac is back.

      what went wrong: chromebooks can't use your existing printer unless it's one of a select few, or you have another "real" computer in the house to network a piggybacked connection off of. I see no point in expensive chromebooks because things like a Pixel are more expensive than a better macbook. But the cheap chromebooks (e.g. Acer) have unusably bad speakers and the trackpad clicks and tracking suck (super duper suck). I added a nice apple mouse to it, but for some reason chrime doesn't respond smoothely to apple mouse (I dont' see why this should be the case, but empirically that's my experience). Finally the browser was just enough different than chrome on mac that she just got all confused. Frankly to me the two are nearly indistinguishable but not to her. I figured she'd get over this after a couple weeks but somehow the mac exerience was much smoother and intuitive for her. Finally, imac screens are just awesom compared to most inexepnsive monitors. Simple things like effortless tilting and easy adjustment of brightness, along with really good font display are marks of high polish and ease of use for older folks.

      So I came away chasened and with a new found regard for the Apple Human interface and polish of the little details. I now use the chromebook myself as a backup computer and to be a media viewer, because overall chrombooks are not versatile like a mac. They are just good at one thing and that's geting rid of the complications of having an OS layer just to run a browser. Every other good feature, like fast books, autoupdates, and good speed even on cheap hardware pretty much stems from that simplification.

      Now what was true was that there was no app that my mother needed that required a mac. Everything she needed to do was available on the chromebook so that's a plus.

      If I were doing this over again I'd buy the printer and external speakers and test out mice beforehand. My approach was to give it to here then adapt to these problems as they emerged which made the transition for her rougher than in needed to be. Perhaps the transplant would have not been rejected

      FInally the biggest dissappointment for me with the chromebook is that they totally suck for linux use. The problem is the hardwired requirement to run in developer mode if you want to boot linux. The firmware offers to erase your disk if you will kindly touch the spacebar at every wake. one mistake and poof your configuration is gone. The easiest ways to install linux end up not having full network access so are crippled. and you can't change the firmware behaviour without some fairly bangersous and unspported reflashes of the firmware, sometimes involving hardware jumpers. Since I'm using this for myself, not granny, now, I'd like to just erase the chrome and go to linux totaly. But the chormebook walled garden won't allow this in any conveneinet way.

      • Re:Chromebook (Score:5, Informative)

        by dwheeler ( 321049 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:35PM (#46429467) Homepage Journal
        I've had better luck with Chromebooks. Cloud printers are now very common, and in many cases buying a new printer costs little and is a big improvement anyway. For a list of printers that can work this way, see: http://www.google.com/cloudpri... [google.com] I hate trackpads anyway, and I've had excellent success with normal mice on a Chromebook. Apple components often don't like working with non-Apple components, that may be the problem there. And all built-in laptop speakers are bad; if it matters, get speakers, they're cheap.
      • Oh the other sucky thing about chromebooks is that, ironically, they are the one platform that does not support google remote desktop! Moreover, since they don't run java at all, you can't even use any of the other desktop sharing viewers out there. so you can't remote admin the computer or even help by seeing the other person's screen. The good news is that chromebooks have very little to admin and can be set to autoupdate everything, so there'smuch less need for a remote desktop or viewer.

        Overall I'd r

      • Does ChromeOS not support CUPS for printers that apple and linux both use? and if not why the hell not?

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      Absolutely. If Grandma doesn't need to run Hallmark Greeting Card Creator or gin up new stitches for her programmable sewing machine, Chrome OS is an excellent nigh-unbreakable choice. /My/ grandmother does those things, so she's stuck with Windows, but my father gets by pretty well on his Chromebook. I used my Cr-48 as a daily driver for 2.5 years until the hinges broke, as a living room Web terminal.

      • If Grandma doesn't need to run Hallmark Greeting Card Creator

        After all these years, there is no easy to use "Hallmark Greeting Card" or "Broderbund Print Shop" type applications for Linux.

        yes there's Scribus and I suppose you could do this sort of thing in OO too, but there's no easy to set up and use: "I want to make a card" or "I want to make a Happy Birthday Banner" or "I want to make a family letterhead" type application.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:28PM (#46428879)

    Mint is an excellent team and the Debian based distribution is a rolling release distro (so fewer fresh installs for you) Also. LXDE is about as basic and standards compliant as it gets. Start menu, task bar, desktop icons, standard window manager, file manager, and with Network Manager, it's virtually a clone of the Win95/XP design.

    I think you'll find that pretty much any solid distro (such as mainstream Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian derivatives) with either XFCE, LXDE or KDE (if you don't mind a lot of bloat) will accommodate most people fairly well, while being relatively easy to learn in a short amount of time. After all, I bet she spends most of her time in Firefox :/

    I'm also interested in hearing what others recommend.


  • Windows 7 may work or even mac if you can take on the cost of one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:30PM (#46428897)

    One hour and a usb live stick should be all that is required to let Grandma try out KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc.

    Let her pick, she is the one that has to actually use it after all.

  • Of course, end of life doesn't mean it will disappear in a puff of smoke. However, I do understand the risks associated maintaining an unsupported OS. I second the Linux Mint idea. I run a distro with Xfce desktop on my netbook and it's lightweight and would take grandma 5 minutes to learn where the browser and email applications are.
  • Chrome OS (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:31PM (#46428907)

    If all she is doing is basic email and web browsing, why not use chrome os.

    And yes, it is Linux

  • http://www.pendrivelinux.com/ [pendrivelinux.com]

    Running a recent version of Linux Mint with the MATE desktop
    http://linuxmint.com/ [linuxmint.com]

    Create a big 4GB casper file on the USB stick.

    Have it mount the existing hard disk and create shortcuts so they can get to their photos and stuff.
    Maybe put on http://www.playonlinux.com/en/ [playonlinux.com] to help get some of the old Windows software working under Wine

    Bring a new stick with you over the holidays with upgrades.

    They may or may not use it (they can just remove the USB stick and reboot to go back to t

  • Get a Chromebook. (Score:3, Informative)

    by sfsetse ( 573727 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:32PM (#46428925)
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/... [google.com] I've moved my mother from WinXP to a Chromebook three months back, and because she was already using Chrome beforehand, she took to it while hardly noticing it was different. I haven't needed to help her once to do what she normally does (email and web).
  • Just go with KDE. Of the big desktops, it runs the fastest and has best quality assurance. Also the UI resembles XP, which was one of your requirements.

    So Debian with KDE or the Fedora KDE spin.

    If she needs Flash, Google Chrome is pretty much the only option. If not, then Firefox is fine too.

    If you have extra money, I would just go with a new Chromebook or a tablet.

  • My mother (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:41PM (#46428997) Homepage

    My mother (who is a grandmother to my kids) runs Debian Wheezy with the XFCE desktop environment. The machine is fairly locked down and I've made quick-launchers for the apps she uses 99% of the time: Email, web-browsing, word-processing, music player and video player.

    She's happy and I can administer the machine remotely, so I'm happy.

    • My mother (who is a grandmother to my kids) runs Debian Wheezy with the XFCE desktop environment.

      Are you sure its your mother? Me thinks its Linus Torvalds in drag.

      • by dskoll ( 99328 )

        I'm pretty sure it's my mother. Ages ago, I had supper with Linus Torvalds and although he's not that tall, he's at least 20cm taller than my mother. :)

        • I'm pretty sure it's my mother. Ages ago, I had supper with Linus Torvalds and although he's not that tall, he's at least 20cm taller than my mother. :)

          He lost the 20cm due to osteoporosis. ;)

      • Reread it. He's locked it down. It doesn't matter if she can admin it or not because she's not doing that--he is. She just uses the function he presents to her. One of the great things about Linux (just about *any* distro) is that it's so easy to do lock the end user out of all the admin functions without blocking them from doing what they want to do.

  • ChromeOS (Score:2, Informative)

    by zoid.com ( 311775 )

    ChromeOS is perfect for Grandma.

  • http://xkcd.com/934/ [xkcd.com]

    My 70 year old parents have been running Mint for four years, largely without incident. It's on a dual core Atom / 2G / 80G. I kinda want to trash that box, but the damn thing refuses to break badly enough.

    Note that just about any (grand)parental use case outside of browsing fries this implementation. The sole "major" issue we've had is when Dad tried to get Picasa going on Wine. I'm sure it's possible, but it was far simpler for him to install it on his Windows laptop.

  • ... as Microsoft has made Windows a dead end with the Windows 8 fiasco.

    If all she really needs is email and a browser, look for the simplest, cleanest UI you can find that provides that very basic functionality. Then configure the UI to looks like what she is used to - Windows XP.

    Don't over complicate the transition with things you might think are cool, just keep it complicated enough to meet her needs, no more.

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of gen

    • Surprised that nobody mentioned PC-BSD - that's the FreeBSD for PCs that one could use.
  • My grandmother's on a laptop with Slackware + KDE. No issues since I gave it to her, told her click firefox for internet, and showed her where KDE games are located.

    (My mother, on the other hand, is quite happy with Windows 7. My step father stays somewhat current on technology, and handles most of her troubles).

  • My mother (who is a grandmother!) has been using Kubuntu for years now. No complains from her.

    If I were to reinstall the OS today, I would consider Mint.

  • Should be a piece of cake. My mother was using Linux for a while on one of those little Dell netbooks they used to sell, and she didn't even know. Just gotta set up Firefox and Thunderbird and you should be good to go. Maybe Libreoffice too.

    The old Dell netbooks had a somewhat interesting interface, which was quite easy to use (particularly for such a small screen) -- but if you're not buying a new machine I'd suggest Mandriva or OpenSUSE. Definitely want KDE -- once you start up, just set it to use the cla

  • OpenSUSE and KDE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ipb ( 569735 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @01:55PM (#46429121) Homepage

    My Mother (now in her late 80's) has been using Linux and KDE since I gave her a computer back in the 90's. I had it dual boot for a while but finally gave that up when I spent far to much time fighting windows. By then she was comfortable with Linux and only needed one windows program that I was able to run under Wine.

    Other family members have accounts on the same machine so they have net access when visiting ( less of an issue now with tablets and laptops) and I handle the admin details. I'll be visiting her this weekend and will probably spend less than an hour updating and checking logs. My last visit to do this was Christmas.

    It's a no-brainer.

  • There are certain things in the kernel itself for Linux that my customers have found drastically confusing and I've found difficult to explain. So really I don't think Linux (or computers) are great for old people. Single purpose devices seemed more popular for a bit years ago like e-mail only devices but I don't know what happened to that big market.
    • There are certain things in the kernel itself for Linux that my customers have found drastically confusing and I've found difficult to explain. So really I don't think Linux (or computers) are great for old people. Single purpose devices seemed more popular for a bit years ago like e-mail only devices but I don't know what happened to that big market.

      Why the hell are they looking at the kernal in the first place?

  • iPad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bram Stolk ( 24781 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:04PM (#46429207) Homepage

    Please, give her an iPad.
    Less problems for you, less problems for Grandma.

    Zero maintenance, easy to use.
    This is no contest.

  • No one is targeting that anymore!

  • iPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Bokma ( 834313 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:06PM (#46429237) Homepage
    Maybe not the answer you're looking for, but let your (grand)mother try an iPad. My mother (who is also a grandmother) loves it, and keeps telling me so.
    • I agree. Or a Android device. They are bullet proof and will do all she asks and have a very small learning curve.

  • I don't want to hijack the discussion, but I noticed nobody mentioned anything about watching video streams on Linux. My mom, 85 years old and not an anglophone, uses her computer to read newspapers and watch online broadcasting TV channels from the homeland, here in the United States. Her laptop has win 7 on it but due to being 4 years old and only having a Intel core-2 duo processor, the effects of aging started to manifest themselves with a lot of freezing while she is on firefox, watching a tv show (in
    • Her laptop has win 7 on it but due to being 4 years old and only having a Intel core-2 duo processor, the effects of aging started to manifest themselves with a lot of freezing while she is on firefox, watching a tv show (in some sort of shockwave plug-in) and I noticed with the lot of updates pushed by micro$oft, the boot times are getting lengthy or feels liket hat to me.

      A SSD will cure a lot of those woes. Nor are SSDs very expensive any longer. I'm still using a dual-core Intel Core2 Duo 2.2GHz Thi
  • My mother will be 80 this year. She's been on Kubuntu 12.04, loaded on a retired laptop, for the last two years and does just fine. Of course, everything she cares about can be done with a web browser. The occasional Word or Excel document can be done with OpenOffice. ( Hey, Ma? Is that Open or Libre? I don't recall at the moment ). She has poked around some other stuff, like playing mp3 of her favorite music. She hooks up her camera and pulls her latest pictures over. The machine is all she needs o

  • She seems happy enough, her Firefox works the same and Thunderbird works ok for her.
  • I'm a bit of a Luddite myself - very attached to the XP-style interface, and not inclined to upgrade to the latest and greatest unless I have a reason. And I've been using Lubuntu for years now and am very happy with it. All of the things that spoil Ubuntu users, but with an interface that suits us crotchety old folks. Plus, it's designed to run fast and light on older hardware. Now get off my lawn.

  • My grandma wanted a simple computer to check her email and Google. I loaned her my Ubuntu netbook to try out. She loved it.

    Unfortunately, the rest of my family decided they knew better and got her a giant, heavy Windows laptop which has proceeded to sit on her desk, collecting dust, ever since. Sigh.

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @02:28PM (#46429415) Journal

    Wednesday I got a visit from my neighbor asking for help with his computer. My heart sank. I had set him up with Mint 15 on his laptop and he was happily using it for the past 6 months. "What's wrong?" I asked. He said "something about "user profile service"". Oh, he means his desktop (Vista) so I fix it by doing a system restore. I asked about the laptop. "Its working fine, no complaints."

    For this man to have no complaints, you have to understand what a dramatic experience computers are for him. He was a truck driver for the county. Never worked a day of his life at a computer, but his wife was a secretary. (She has passed on). So he tries to do stuff.. but any little thing that changes is a big deal. MSN shut down MSN messenger service and replaced it with Skype. That generated two visits from him - one the "little man" disappeared. And the new Skype icon that they installed for him. He even added his own MyFi to it.

    And that is why I recommend Linux. It's never generated a support call to me from him.

  • I've installed Linux on computers for various non-computer oriented relatives. None were my grandma but for the sake of this discussion they may as well have been. My annecdotal experience is this:

    If they were previously using Windows it will not work. It's not a matter of Windows being more user friendly than Linux. It's just amazing the level of detail with which a non-computer person will memorize the interface they are used to. You can try some desktop manager that attempts to clone the Windows loo

  • Then use KDE on Debian.You can overthink the solution if you will take time to puzzle it through.If she is happy,then use that.No need to get too fancy with the distro.
  • Both my dad and my sister are running Xubuntu without issues. My sister is ok with basic tasks on a computer but far from a technophile and my dad knows almost nothing. His only use is really for fantasy football websites.

    Neither really plays games - both just do web browsing and not much else. Honestly as long as there's a Chrome icon on the desktop many people wouldn't know they were using anything different.

    Keeping that on their systems keeps me from the headache of supporting Windows and all the asso

  • Email attachments are the bane of a smooth user experience for grandma.

    She probably has a web mail account, and uses a browser to access it. She's going to receive all kinds of weird attachments from friends, and she will want them all to just work. There are Power Point slideshows, Word documents, spreadsheet files, movies, embedded images, links to images on mailing lists, flash animations, PDFs, MIDIs, and more. Any of these can be in several layers of forwarded messages, or stuffed into an .eml fil

  • by Foresto ( 127767 ) on Friday March 07, 2014 @03:00PM (#46429677) Homepage

    Seriously, ask her. Show her a couple of options that you're willing to support, point out the differences from her old desktop, and let her choose.

    I recommend something with an OSX dock-style launcher, perhaps Unity (with appropriate privacy tweaks) or Avant Window Navigator. I got a 70-year-old to switch from Windows to Ubuntu/Unity in under an hour, with very few follow-up questions.

    It might also be helpful to give her a linux distribution that you use regularly, so any support you have to do in the future will be in a familiar environment.

  • I'm surprised no one has mentioned Puppy Linux. First, get her using Firefox and Thunderbird on her XP machine, and use a nice family picture as the wallpaper. Then have her run Puppy Linux off a live CD, with the same wallpaper, and as long as she is doing web stuff and email, she will hardly notice the difference. I'm assuming it's an older machine but I have a 10 year old laptop that is running Puppy quite well. If she does have a problem, she ejects the CD and does her stuff in Windows. But pretty soon

  • My mother is 81, started using a computer about 15 years ago, first Windows 98, then 2000, XP and now 7. From 98 to XP I always used the same (classic) interface. When moving to 7 I tried to make it as "classic" as possible, but MS messed this up. I don't understand that they have absolutely no clue about older people having troubles moving to new interfaces. Was it so much trouble to keep the classic interface?

    I installed Mozilla/Firefox and Eudora from the beginning, removed IE from the desktop. She still

  • All my ex-Windows family members have been happy with Mageia4. Grandma has the most locked-down instance: an LXDE desktop with a pared-down menu and locked-down configuration. Her "favorite" win32/win16 apps are handled by Codeweaver's Crossover. Never had a problem or complaint from her.

    My wife, OTOH, loves to tinker and will not stop. She get Windows7 in a virtual machine with her data saved to the underlying Linux OS, so "fixing"her computer is as easy as killing the broken VM and launching a clone.

    The s

  • the subject says it all pick your favorite distro and LookXP to it.

  • For one, she will NOT want to install all the constant flow of updates, while CentOS (like upstream, as we say), is *stable*, and she doesn't need the GoshAWoWeeK3wl eyecandy crap so popular with teenagers.

    Besides, you've been using CentOS for years. Who do you think is going to get called for tech support... and wouldn't you rather work on something you're *very* familiar with?

    mark "read a zillion horror stories of folks doing tech support for their folks o

  • I'm the defacto tech support for my church/neighborhood. I've installed Ubuntu on quite a few of these users, especially ones whose older machine was running XP, and they did not have the recovery disks to restore from, and the machine was crufted with malware such that it would take more time than it was worth to clean the system. In the first case, I gave them a 3-way ultimatum, spend $75/hr for at least 3-4 hours for me to clean the system, OR I would backup their docs, nuke XP from orbit, install Ubuntu

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982