There have been many doubts about Linux on the desktop for some time now. I have proved that it is viable in my own household. Everybody in my house (including the 5 year old little girl) is totally cross platform. Everyone uses Windows, Linux, and to a smaller degree Mac. The difference for the average user is so minimal with just a little bit of training.
Now on the the newest adventure in Linux adoption. My mother and grandmother. I’ve had a computer in my mother’s house for years but can barely get her to use it. Now that she just retired she wants to know what all her friends know. So, she wants a couple of training lessons on it. My grandmother (at 90 years old) has been wanting her own since my mom wouln’t let her touch the computer they have for fear it might break doing anything.
I’m choosing to put in Linux. These are the reasons. You really don’t want virus’ and spyware popping up for a 90 year old under any circumstances. That could be tragic. Also, I want remote administration of their machines from home. Now this is easy under the other operating systems but doing it behind the scenes from the command prompt from an SSH connection is priceless. Plus, I’m throwing in a third computer in her den for when the grand kids come over. Plus, the grandkids won’t just go installing anything.
I’m going with Kubuntu (my favorite desktop) although Opensuse is really nice for newbies to understand. Also, if you are going to try this project please use the OpenDNS servers for DNS so kids don’t end up on the wrong sites. I’m setting up wireless on her desktop computer because my mother’s DSL line is on the other side of the house and I don’t want to crawl around under her house pulling wire.
I’m also going with a Linksys WRT54G router with a dynamic IP address forwarder (DDNS) from Dyndns.org so no matter what happens with the modem restarting that I can reach all the machines and turn them off or do whatever else they need from home. So make sure the SSH port 22 is forwarded to that machine (which will have a static address).
Above all the tech think style. You definitely want the computer to melt into the room instead of it sticking out and being that thing in the corner of your eye all day. I bought a used flat screen 17-inch for $50. Most of all don’t forget to use larger fonts and turn those speakers down. Mistaken keys should punish the ears with sound. If you’re using an OS without MP3 playback, Divx, and Flash please put them on there. You can let them understand the cause they’re fighting for later if it’s that important to you. Oh ad set the homepage in Firefox to the news station they usually look at on TV. For my grandmother it’s www.abc7.com in the Los Angeles area.
All set. She’ll love you forever. Like I’m sure mine will work. You have any other ideas let me know.