[lug] linux distro for a beginner

Daniel Webb lists at danielwebb.us
Thu Jun 16 13:22:39 MDT 2005

On Thu, Jun 16, 2005 at 12:04:41PM -0600, Lori Reed wrote:

> This just came up in my family a couple of weeks ago when my 73 year old 
> step-dad decided to try linux on his laptop so I helped him install FC3.
> His only needs are web browsing, email, and the occaisonal word 
> processing and so far he's pleased with the decision. Time will tell if 
> he's still as pleased when he goes back to Phoenix for the winter and 
> his support staff (that would be moi) is 1000 miles away.

It's not that bad, I'm doing this for my mom and both sisters who are 1000
miles away.  Set up either a reverse ssh like we've talked about here before,
or preferably, learn how to set up OpenVPN in multi-client mode and you'll be
able to ssh or vnc into his machine and fix things about as easily as if
you're there, even if he's behind a firewall or NAT DSL modem that you don't
have access to.  I'm assuming broadband here, but it still works tolerably for
dialup, with the exception that if he doesn't have access to a cell phone he
can't talk to you as you work on his computer over vnc.

After the initial learning curve (which is not that steep if he's just doing
basic things), you probably won't get many calls about it.  Debian stable is
ideal for this situation: you can just install security upgrades, and not
worry about breaking things all the time just to stay secure.

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