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  1. #1
    Member Socket eh?'s Avatar
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    Question Linux for a sixpack family?

    I want to put Linux on the inlaw's computer because I'm tired of having to go over there every 2 weeks to try to salvage their install. The mother opens everything and anything sent to her, despite everyone telling her repeatedly not to, because "If she I know the person, their can't be anything bad in it." There's also a teenager in the house that likes his porn, and overall they're just the typical oblivious sixpack family.

    So what version of linux would you recommend for this situation? I'm familiar with linux, but it's not my strongest point. There is no gaming at on this system, and just mainly used for browsing, pictures and office work.
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  2. #2
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    I would guess Ubuntu would be best since it is widely regarded as being the easiest to use. However, I'm not sure if I would install any kind of distro for people who don't seem like they would know how to use it. Any reason why Windows won't do?

  3. #3
    Member TalRW's Avatar
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    Ubuntu. It comes with firefox for internet browsing, GIMP and other picture software and openoffice for office work. For email you can either use evolution or install thunderbird. If you wanna make it look like OSx to maybe simplify things and make it a little easier (click on this big icon for internet/email/whatever) you can try these guides

    http://www.taimila.com/osx-guide-2.php
    http://www.taimila.com/ubuntuosx.php

    Also you might wanna read this top 10 reasons why it doesn't pay to be the computer guy.
    http://www.lifereboot.com/2007/10-re...-computer-guy/

    I mean I know they are your inlaws and all but going over there every week to clean up their messes doesn't seem like something I would put up with in fact it kinda seems like they are taking advantage of you because you happen to be an in-law. I mean in my personal opinion if it were me and they didn't shape up I'd stop fixing their computer unless they payed me. Although what you do is up to you.
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  4. #4
    Member Socket eh?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radical
    I would guess Ubuntu would be best since it is widely regarded as being the easiest to use. However, I'm not sure if I would install any kind of distro for people who don't seem like they would know how to use it. Any reason why Windows won't do?
    Windows won't do because of the spyware/virus issue, despite running AV software and updating, switching to firefox, I've had to do a complete reinstall 6 times in the last 14 months.

    I want the immunity to most of that junk that a non windows OS brings to the table. If only I could install a mac OS on it.

    Oh, and they do pay when I have to do the more major work, it's just that it's annoying to repeat over and over.
    [Alienware M15x]
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    The coin is still turning.

  5. #5
    Member smokie mcpott's Avatar
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    i like to make restore images and either keep them on DVDs or on a separate partition on their computer...when i set up their PCs, on most of them i route the My Docs folders to a separate partition so when they call me up and say they have a problem ... its taken care of in less than 30 minutes...without any intervention....saved my arse on several occasions

  6. #6
    shadin's Avatar
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    Ubuntu wouldn't be a bad choice. However, ANY distro would work as long as you set it up for them ahead of time. I've done that with Slackware and Dropline GNOME, just made it to where the PC booted to GDM login screen and made sure all devices and browser plugins were working properly. Setup like that and nobody will ever see the command line.

    Here in Minneapolis, a lot of Dunn Brothers and other coffee shops are beginning to have Linux with a GNOME desktop and Firefox on their public computers for the same reasons.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member MRD's Avatar
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    Xandros, Mepis, or Ubuntu.

    Personally, I always found Xandros the easiest, but Ubuntu is closer to the free software ideology. Mepis is somewhere between the two.

  8. #8
    Member smokie mcpott's Avatar
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    yes Xandros is extremely easy...its a VERY nice distro for an average user...with so many similarities to a 'Windows interface'

  9. #9
    Member Socket eh?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokie mcpott
    i like to make restore images and either keep them on DVDs or on a separate partition on their computer...when i set up their PCs, on most of them i route the My Docs folders to a separate partition so when they call me up and say they have a problem ... its taken care of in less than 30 minutes...without any intervention....saved my arse on several occasions
    This doesn't sound like a bad idea at all, I might go that route instead. Never actually used a restore image tho, how do you apply it? Recovery console?
    [Alienware M15x]
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    The coin is still turning.

  10. #10
    Member smokie mcpott's Avatar
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    i use acronis true image... but i look forward to using DriveImage XML(as has been recommended several times on this site)
    with acronis, you create a bootCD which basically just loads the Acronis program once its booted from it, you select whether your restore image is on DVD or on a partition on a HDD..select the image...and after its all done(depending on the size of the restore image, typically i have seen 20 minutes to an hour), its back to square one, just like you left it last time you fixed their problems. after having to go back repeatedly to friends and family computers, this is the best time saver i have found. sometimes i even give the boot cd to them with their computers and say...if for some reason windows doesnt load, think of this as a Dell restore cd... pop it in and select your "restore hard drive", when its done it will be just like the day you took it home

  11. #11
    In regards to the comment of them re learning an OS. I think it would be easy to teach people a new OS who have limited knowledge of their current OS. Most users look for familiar icons when trying to do something, be it internet or email.

    Put some big icons on the desktop and they will be fine.

    Sixpack family.. I'll have to remember that.

  12. #12
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    I've read/heard somewhere that Windows can be "locked-down" security wise, as tight as Linux, starting with having an Admin account(just yourself) and creating a restricted user account(for the six packers). Also, having the following:
    A good antivirus program(personal favorite-AVG free edition);
    Firefox web browser(instead of IE);
    Mozilla Thunderbird(instead of Outlook Express).

    Since adopting the above mentioned, my Windows boxes haven't had any of the nasties, for about 3-4 years now.

    Or, as others have mentioned, any of the user friendly Linux distros will suffice. I just installed Ubuntu 7.04 on a box the other day; nice hardware support, a no-brainer install.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member MRD's Avatar
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    Windows can become just as secure from the point of view of user accounts. It's just far less secure by default.

    It will never be as secure from the point of view of spyware and viruses that target it or the number of (known) vulnerabilities in the system in general.

  14. #14
    Misfit138's Avatar
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    I can say unequivocally that PCLinuxOS is your best bet. Better than Mepis, better and faster than Ubuntu, especially for a Windows migrant.
    http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?o...iles&Itemid=28
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  15. #15
    Misfit138's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihrsetrdr
    I've read/heard somewhere that Windows can be "locked-down" security wise, as tight as Linux, starting with having an Admin account(just yourself) and creating a restricted user account(for the six packers). Also, having the following:
    A good antivirus program(personal favorite-AVG free edition);
    Firefox web browser(instead of IE);
    Mozilla Thunderbird(instead of Outlook Express).

    Since adopting the above mentioned, my Windows boxes haven't had any of the nasties, for about 3-4 years now.

    Or, as others have mentioned, any of the user friendly Linux distros will suffice. I just installed Ubuntu 7.04 on a box the other day; nice hardware support, a no-brainer install.
    I agree with you and have experienced the same; my Windows machines have ZERO virus, spyware and security issues....but, as always, the most significant security liability is the user sitting in front of a machine- particularly a Windows machine. Linux is a better choice from a security/malware standpoint, for obvious reasons.
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  16. #16
    Another alternative is deepfreeze.

  17. #17
    Member ponkan pinoy's Avatar
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    Deep Freeze is commercial though. Not a strike against it, I hear it's good software, but they might balk at paying $25 for something that (essentially) makes it impossible for them to make any changes. Though if there's a way to set it up so that it only "freezes" certain things, keeping for example preference files writable, I could see it happening.

    Of course, the issue with this method (along with the Windows admin account) is that it doesn't guard against willfully installing things, such as the mother is doing. In that case, a system image that can be restored as smokie mcpott suggested is probably the best bet.

  18. #18
    Senior Member stool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalRW
    I mean I know they are your inlaws and all but going over there every week to clean up their messes doesn't seem like something I would put up with in fact it kinda seems like they are taking advantage of you because you happen to be an in-law. I mean in my personal opinion if it were me and they didn't shape up I'd stop fixing their computer unless they payed me. Although what you do is up to you.
    I understand what you are getting at, but try explaining to your little darling either that you aren't going to fix her Mom and Dad's rig, or that you're going to charge them a going rate to do so. Unless she's completely under your thumb, or knows what you do(experience-wise), things can get a bit frosty. There are times in life, and things we end up having to do, that maybe aren't so great, but in the long run are necessary.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stool
    I understand what you are getting at, but try explaining to your little darling either that you aren't going to fix her Mom and Dad's rig, or that you're going to charge them a going rate to do so. Unless she's completely under your thumb, or knows what you do(experience-wise), things can get a bit frosty. There are times in life, and things we end up having to do, that maybe aren't so great, but in the long run are necessary.
    i know that my 'little darling' is the one who pays me...i'd work out such a deal.

    I have also considered moving both of my parents and my gf's parents over to Ubuntu because of various reasons, but at the end of the day I talk myself out of it because I don't want to teach them a new OS, even if it can be a short lesson.

    Still, I've gotten both my parents and my gf's parents to the point where I can walk them through the usual steps over the phone, so I don't have to make personal visits.
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