[lug] Linux for Dad

John Dollison johndollison at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 16 22:55:29 MDT 2008

Looking for some advice...
My dad tells me he's sick of dealing with Microsoft problems and virus issues, and has heard about this "Linux thing..." lol!  I explained the basics to him, and he seems willing to try it.  However, I have the following concerns: 

1. Dad's got dial-up, so I'd have to send him a CD or pre-loaded PC to get him started.
2. Dad's in another state, in the woods, far from anywhere.  I doubt there's much in the way of face-to-face help if he needs it.  Usually he just calls me.  And I'll admit right now that I don't know much (don't tell my boss).
3. Dad's not a computer geek, but stubborn enough to figure things out if he really needs them.  Otherwise, he just says "screw it."

I called System76 to see about buying a pre-loaded system, but they said their boxes don't have dial-up modems, and that dial-up support is problematic in Linux. The guy also warned me that even though there aren't Windows-style "critical updates" all the time, the constant updating of packages means that there could be even more downloads under Linux than under Windows.  Another issue is that System76 uses Ubuntu, which follows Debian's strict all-free guidelines.  That means more downloads and tweaks for dad, for things like DVD support (VLC / libdvdcss), Google Earth, etc.

I just found a distro called Foresight Linux, which sounds like the kind of works-right-out-of-the-box solution my dad needs.  It uses both free and non-free software, and claims to "eliminate the need for users to know Linux" (I'm not trying to start a flame war; I'm just trying to consider my dad's technical abilities.)  I'm thinking I might send that to him.

Anyway, I'm open to any ideas you might have.

John Dollison

Westminster, CO 80021


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