[GLLUG] Recycling computers with Linux

Leo Francisco lists at boywithwings.co.uk
Wed Dec 14 15:46:12 UTC 2016

Christopher Hunter via GLLUG:
> On 16/11/16 02:10, DL Neil via GLLUG wrote:
>> Alain,
>> On 16/11/16 01:44, Alain Williams via GLLUG wrote:
>>> Interesting chat from a friend who was over for the w/end. Her laptop
>>> installed
>>> MS Win 10 last year; she did not ask for it, etc. She does not like
>>> it and says
>>> that it is crawling with virus and so will not connect it to the
>>> Internet;
>>> rarely uses it.
>>> I took her through installing Linux Mint (Mate desktop) on a spare
>>> laptop; a few
>>> questions but otherwise used it happily all w/end.
>>> Her only concern was that she has to use MS Windows boxes at work;
>>> using Linux
>>> at home might make that harder for her.
>>> It will be interesting to see if she uses the Mint install USB stick
>>> that I gave her.
>> You user-illustration shows that 'it' is not between "Linux Mint" and
>> "MS Windows"!
>> Users' issues usually relate to coping with the differences between
>> MS-Excel and LibreOffice Calc, or Thunderbird and MS-Outlook. This
>> similar to the irritation of touch-typists trying to move between
>> 103-key keyboards and portable machines - or "Natural" keyboards, to
>> say nothing of switching to other (Romance) languages... All 'muscle
>> memory' and 'chunked thinking' counts for naught, and one is reduced
>> to consciously implementing every function, step-by-step.
>> Some time back I upgraded my aged Mother (OK, her PC) from desktop to
>> portable. Made it a dual-boot machine in case she needed to revert to
>> her MS-Win platform for any reason. Time passed...
>> She enjoyed the advantages of a laptop and wanted something newer and
>> replacing the HDD with solid-state. Upon configuring the new box I
>> asked if she wanted to continue the existing choice or just go with
>> one or the other? She had forgotten the choice, and had the habit of
>> booting the box and then walking away - so she'd not seen the GRUB
>> choice for ages.
>> Went round-and-around for a while, until she finally managed to
>> remember that she occasionally saw the name "CentOS". I was
>> roundly-criticised for demanding 'technical details' (over the phone)
>> but now that's all she uses because she'd never noticed any material
>> differences. Whenever any asks about using her PC, she happily warns
>> them that it's "only for experts - because it runs CentOS". That's the
>> same person who rapped my knuckles for struggling to ascertain if it
>> was Linux of Windows underneath her application suite!
>> (Mozilla Thunderbird and Firefox, LibreOffice Writer, albeit
>> admittedly with very little else apart from the irreplaceable (IMHO)
>> TeamViewer!)
> Your tale is almost exactly the same as my experience with my Father. 
> He bought a fairly well-specified desktop machine with Windows
> pre-installed.  He spent some hours ridding it of the bundled adware and
> then installed MS "Office", which had been bundled with the machine.  He
> used it for a few weeks and then found it to be riddled with malware of
> one sort or another.
> Unknown to me, he was given a Fedora disk by a friend of his.  He
> dual-booted for a while, then made the move to Ubuntu (I don't know why
> - but that's what he did).  He continued with the dual-boot for some
> months until on one visit, he asked (to my surprise) "Can you delete
> Windows from my machine?".
> Apparently, after some minor learning issues at the beginning (usually
> resolved by RTFM, having the M open in another screen of his desktop),
> he found that he didn't ever bother to boot into Windows.  He said that
> Ubuntu got to the log-in screen in under 20 seconds, whereas Windows
> could take almost two minutes!
> He's 85 now, and has been using Ubuntu (or Mint on his new laptop) for
> several years.  I'm seldom bothered by "support" phone calls - he seems
> able to resolve any problems himself.  He's done quite a lot of installs
> for his friends, and has provided the small amount of support they need
> himself.  His current project is to "learn programming", and he's
> recently started playing about with a Raspberry Pi.
> Cheers

My Mother (who's 65) has happily been using Elementary OS happily on a
old donated Laptop for a couple of years now. She's not great with
computers at all but has had basically no problems.

I've give her support over that time but its mostly been for problems
outside of Linux e.g. formatting issues with documents, issues with a
specific website, how to manage passwords.

I recommend configuring automatic updates that install at shutdown as
this is a known paradigm from Windows.

I also wouldn't bother setting up dual booting. It's too complicated a
concept to explain. Just jump straight in and make sure there's some
automated way of backing up their home folder.

Those are my tips. We've not had to buy any new hardware for years.


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