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.
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).
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.
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 !