Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

  1. #1

    Default chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...


    My daughter is in her late twenties and mostly uses the laptop her mother
    gave her to browse the web and do Facebook. She doesn't want to have to
    think too hard about it. (And has the excuse that after her car accident
    of a year ago, which left traces of her brain tissue on the interstate,
    it's a wonder that she can think at all...)

    But her windows just became unbootable. She says it's been acting funky for
    a while, and when I asked my ex about a windows restore disk, she said
    "what's that?"

    I told my daughter that I could probably install Linux in such a way that
    she almost wouldn't know she wasn't using windows. She said I couldn't
    make it worse than it is...

    I'm thinking I'd start with opensuse...

    Only trouble is that, how she uses a computer is so different from how I
    do, that I'm at a loss on how to configure it for her.

    I use the mouse almost never. She uses it more than the keyboard.
    I persecute all desktop icons with extreme prejudice, She likes application
    icons. She also uses a few standard windows keyboard shortcuts. like alt+F4
    to close a window... And she likes using the windows key to pop open the
    start menu... Though I imagine I could get her to use the menu key instead.

    I'm fairly certain that kde4 would be too much for her to swallow, and my
    personal choice "E17" isn't stable enough...

    I'll only have a short visit to get it all installed and configured. And
    then will probably get to do some admin chores for her once or twice a year.
    But I don't know what window manager to install that would support fairly
    easy to configure desktop icons, Like one to open Firefox with the Facebook
    login page preloaded... And otherwise have enough of a windows-like look
    and feel to get her comfortable with it. If she didn't like icons I'd think
    maybe IceWM might have been a good choice.

    Suggestions anyone???

    Code:
    --
    |  ~^~   ~^~
    |  <?>   <?>
    |      ^                JtWdyP
    |    \___/
    --
    JtWdyP


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Posts
    19,654
    Blog Entries
    14

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    I still suggest KDE4, because of it's configurablity. Done this for a couple of old people:

    - Hide almost all from the systemtray, leave no widgets on the panel but taskmanager, kicker, pager. Explain the pager.
    - Create 2 desktop containers, one for ~/Desktop to hold some Program Icons, one for the media folders in her homedir
    - Add the shutdown widget to the panel.
    - Preconfigure a couple of programs by simply starting them and creating a basic default configuration.
    - Add Bookmarktabs in Firefox, maybe set Facebook as it's homepage.

    One of the people has Firefox and Thunderbird autostarted, each on it's own Virtual Desktop, he uses the pager to switch between the both,

    Another option is the Search and Launch activity in KDE. Look in one of the screenshot threads for my posts and you'll see it.

    The big point is that you can use KDE to create a desktop that works for your granddaughter.

    EDIT: BTW, uninstall Apper. She shouldn't be bothered with "Updates available" popups.
    Last edited by Knurpht; 14-Jan-2013 at 14:50.
    ° Appreciate my reply? Click the star and let me know why.

    ° Perfection is not gonna happen. No way.

    https://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Board#Members
    http://en.opensuse.org/User:Knurpht
    http://nl.opensuse.org/Gebruiker:Knurpht

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,441

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    You can use the Desktop Folder for icons in KDE.

    Another alternative is to install Razor-qt over KDE. This gives you a simpler interface; you have to use desktop icons because the panel is not configurable and right clicking pops up a strip from which you can access all programs - a lot easier than in Windows and easy to get used to.

    Razor-qt respects most KDE settings; so you can configure things in KDE (from Razor-qt) but leave her with a simple interface. If she finds it too simple, then she can move to KDE.

    Incidentally, Razor-qt with OpenBox runs most things much faster than KDE - so she may be disappointed in KDE after trying Razor-qt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    2,844

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    KDE4. My 16 year old daughter gets along very well with it, and it can be very similar to Windows if tweaked a bit.

    99% of the time she uses firefox, libreoffice, smplayer and clementine, Those were no-brainers to learn/adapt from windows. Gimp had a learning curve, but she is OK with it now. She also runs iTunes from a VM, but that's all.

    What she does need is an administrator (me) to update, set the NAS server, remote printer, android file management and such.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Spain
    Posts
    25,547

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    On 2013-01-14 21:38, JtWdyP wrote:
    > I'll only have a short visit to get it all installed and configured. And
    > then will probably get to do some admin chores for her once or twice a year.


    That's too little time, IMO.

    Personally I prefer not to install a system that has no on site
    maintainer. Which means that either the user can maintain it, or has
    somebody they can call for support, to come in. Remote support is a
    posibility, but...

    --
    Cheers/Saludos
    Carlos E. R. (12.1 test at Minas-Anor)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Phuket, Thailand
    Posts
    26,523
    Blog Entries
    37

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    There was a time when GNU/Linux desktop users would compare KDE to Windows, and compare Gnome to Mac ... I don't know if that is still the case.

    I have KDE4 on my 86+ year old mother's PC, where she lives a continent away. I arranged her desktop with a number of open folders with application icons inside, such that she can launch any application that she nominally uses from her desktop. I have not seen her go into the 'start' menu to launch an app, but then again I live in Europe and my mother lives in Canada, so it is not as if I see her running her PC from day to day.

    SETUP

    In configuring her desktop as such, it was in fact setup very close to the exact way her WinXP used to be setup.

    I did a few things to ease the transition from Windows to GNU/Linux.

    (1) initially had her PC setup to triboot (WinME / WinXP / openSUSE).

    (2) after winME support stopped and no longer bootable, removed winME and changed her PC to a dual boot ( WinXP / openSUSE )

    (3) after 5 years of the above purchased her a new fast core-i7 equivalent PC with only openSUSE (disabled the Windows7 boot, albeit Windows7 is still installed), and in the openSUSE I installed winXP in Virtual Box. I put a VirtualBox icon on her desktop that launches winXP.

    (4) my mother now uses GNU/Linux > 80% of the time. But she still has her winXP to fall back on. This is important, as I can not always support her instantly (as I live in a different continent, and only visit my mother once/year).

    Remote maintenance

    This could be the tricky part. My mother has given me full access to her PC, and so I install all updates for her. I ensure that I have remote vnc and ssh access to her PC, such that I can maintain things, when things go wrong.

    The typical mistake my mother makes is to unlock the KDE widgets and delete all icons on her desktop by mistake. Hence I keep a record of what her desktop icons look like, and I have a backup folders on her /home that I can repoint to when I am asked by her to restore her desktop (which I can do remotely with vnc).

    Your daughter may be less likely wanting to give you full remote access, so you will need to teach her a bit on how to update software, how to restore the desktop when lost , etc .... My mother is gradually learning NOT to unlock her widgets in KDE desktop, but sometimes she forgets.

    I have my mother's router setup to map her IP address to a common name "oldcpu-mother" or something like that. I also have an icon on her desktop, that my mother can click that will give her the IP address of her router. Her router is setup to direct any access from me direct to her PC.

    My mother's PC access the Internet via a wired connection to the router. I also have a wireless card in my mother's PC, and I have her PC setup such that if the wired connection does not work, the wireless will access the router. This came handy once, when for 2 months the wired connection stopped working (bad cable connection) but I was still able to access her PC remotely via her PC's wireless connection to the router. This sort of connection paranoia is only important if one lives a continent away like me.

    openSUSE time limited support

    The change in openSUSE to supporting a version for only 18 months had a big impact on me. Typically it means that I either need to install a new openSUSE version on my mother's PC every visit, or my mother's PC will go for up to 6 months or so, without any security updates, while waiting for my visit to her place to update her openSUSE version to a new release. I will NOT update her PC remotely to a new version (although that is possible) because if things go wrong, my living a continent away makes it far too difficult to recover from a problem.

    I guess a key question is, how easy is it for you to visit your daughter's PC if things go wrong with the GNU/Linux OS operation, as that will to a certain extent dictate your maintenance and installation setup strategy.

    Training

    When I get support requests from my mother (via email or phone) I will call her on Skype, and ask her permission to access her PC. She gives me the permission, and then I take over her desktop with vnc. Then while talking to her on Skype, I show her what I am doing on her desktop, as she can see everything I can do. I used to use 'nx' for this (as it is much faster than 'vnc', but I could never configure nx properly so that my mother could see what I am doing). I prefer to have my mother watch what I do to her PC when I am fixing things. She learns from that, and her PC knowledge has improved significantly over the years.


    GNU/Linux (openSUSE) works well for her

    When my mother was using only MS-Windows, she was lucky if her PC ran for 9 of the 12 months of the year. Typically for at least 3 months her PC was 'hosed' and not working .... which meant she could not pickup emails easily, could not use the PC for other activities. Once she had GNU/Linux on her PC, she at first only used GNU/Linux when Windows was not working (which was fairly often). Now she uses GNU/Linux almost all of the time.

    ... and she still has her winXP in a Virtual Box session (and I have that Virtual Box winXP backed up from time to time, as she has 'hosed' that a couple of times, and I simply was able to replace the hosed version with the backup file ... all of which I could do remotely with the Atlantic Ocean separating us).

    Good luck in your considerations !
    Last edited by oldcpu; 14-Jan-2013 at 18:37.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Phuket, Thailand
    Posts
    26,523
    Blog Entries
    37

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    The typical mistake my mother makes is to unlock the KDE widgets and delete all icons on her desktop by mistake. Hence I keep a record of what her desktop icons look like, and I have a backup folders on her /home that I can repoint to when I am asked by her to restore her desktop (which I can do remotely with vnc).
    I forgot to mention ... the other typical problem my mother will have is a printing problem. Sometimes she will jam the print queue and she struggles with the application for maintaining the queue. When that happens she will typically send me an email, and ask me to log on to her PC and fix the problem.

    There have been occasions when she could not print from openSUSE directly, but the winXP virtual box session would print. Again I would get an email, and be asked to log on to her PC and fix the problem.

    So assuming you won't have access to your daughter's PC, then you may need to teach her some basics about openSUSE GNU/Linux print queue management.

    ....

    Speaking of her printer, my mother also uses her PC to store pictures from her digital camera, which she has learned to do about 50% of the time (the other 50% I need to help her). She likes to print pictures, and pass the printed pictures to her retired friends who live in the same retirement complex.

    She also gets me to log in remotely and help her when she wants to scan a document with her printer's scanning function (although my suspicion is she does not really need my help to scan, .... rather she just looks for the excuse to lure me to chat on Skype while I do the maintenance on her PC ).

  8. #8

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    There was a time when GNU/Linux desktop users would compare KDE to Windows, and compare Gnome to Mac ... I don't know if that is still the case.
    That could explain why I still prefer Gnome.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Remote maintenance

    This could be the tricky part. My mother has given me full access to her PC, and so I install all updates for her. I ensure that I have remote vnc and ssh access to her PC, such that I can maintain things, when things go wrong.
    Actually, @oldcpu, you won't believe it ... but I was thinking of your mother - no kidding - as I wrote freenx-setup and nomachine-setup and added these scripts to my port of FreeNX. Since then there have been a couple success stories like this one Setting up NX Server in OpenSuse(XFCE) 12.2 or this one: FREENX - PTA Repos - Unable to connect, and I also received PMs and emails from sysadmins who installed FreeNX successfully following the method described in this article: Setting up NX server (part I: FreeNX)


    I don't mean you should change or install anything now on your mother's computer. I just want to tell - to anyone interested - that FreeNX is another possibility and that it works (now) under openSUSE (and other distros as well). But I know how frustrating it can be when it does not - as it has driven me crazy already a couple times.

  9. #9

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    if your daughter used to Windows, I suggest you install OpenSUSE with KDE. It's really friendly, easy using, easy configuration. And for me, OpenSUSE is the BEST KDE distro.
    Sometimes I forget to tell information about version, desktop.
    I'm using OpenSUSE 13.1, KDE 4.11

  10. #10
    dd NNTP User

    Default Re: chance to put Linux on daughters winbox. But which WM etc...

    On 01/14/2013 10:56 PM, Knurpht wrote:
    >
    > I still suggest KDE4, because of it's configurablity. Done this for a
    > couple of old people:


    agree completely with all suggestions, and add one: do NOT give her the
    root password..

    instead, you use ssh in and run "zypper patch" once a week/month or so
    (to catch all the security updates)

    show her the info here,
    http://doc.opensuse.org/documentatio....kdequick.html
    and tell her to

    Have a lot of fun!!

    --
    dd http://goo.gl/PUjnL


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •