Project DAD

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Adam

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May 1, 2005, 9:05:44 AM5/1/05
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Hi Everyone.

As you may know I set my father up with a computer running Debian. I
wrote my story down, and it's been published on The Linux Box. It got
syndicated all over the place, and I got lots of feedback, almost all
of which was very good and helpful.

At the moment there is an active discussion on my LUG mailing list. I
feel that there are several "actions" that need to be taken.

1) I need to do a follow up article.

2) LUGs that run bring-a-box meetings need to invite people from other
groups along. People are scared of Windows, have heard about Linux, but
don't know where to start. A BaB meeting is a good place to start.

3) Linux evangelists need to go out into the community and talk/listen
to other groups. Lots of clubs, societies and voluntary organisations
of all sizes are ripe for Linux/FOSS. A meeting in a village community
centre, may only get 20-30 people to attend, and only 1 convert, but
it's a start. Some LUGs are supporting this with InfoPoints, but
"normal" non technical groups need targetting.

4) Good ideas about making installation and desktops needs to be fed
back into the Distros and the upstream providers. I don't think we
really need Debian for retired people, but an install option that turns
on the right themes, and schemes in the desktop will go a long way.

5) User education. Any one can use Linux, set-up takes effort, but a
Linux box can be set-up and almost forgotten. User education is key for
the wider audience, but we do need more specialised education for
administrators. Adminstration doesn't come for free, but a combination
of commercial support, self help and self administration should cover
it.

Links:

http://www.hants.lug.org.uk/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?LinuxHints/DesktopAdaptedDad
http://www.hants.lug.org.uk/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?GetInvolved
http://thelinuxbox.org/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1113601124&archive=&start_from=&ucat=18&
http://iredale.dyndns.org/unix/

penguincentral

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May 2, 2005, 4:14:05 AM5/2/05
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Check out my three feature articles in my series dedicated to the new
linux user. They are To those souls that just can not do the switch,
When is it time to switch to linux, and Let's take a flashback shall
we...

They all follow on to each other article.

By the way, maybe you should load on a more user-friendly distro than
Debian.

Matt.

Adam

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May 2, 2005, 4:34:04 AM5/2/05
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I picked the distro I know the best, I don't care if "x" is more
friendly I don't know it, so I won't be able to configure it to it's
best potential.

Other than the Install, which my father didn't take any part in, there
is nothing wrong with Debian Sarge, it has no shortage of icons, colour
schemes, toys, games and applications to choose from. My father will
never do any thing other than use the PC, so once it's configured, it's
set.

User friendly distros only make sense if the person plans to do more
than use the PC, or has extra toys like scanners and digital cameras to
play with. I think that there are an awful lot of people who really
want an appliance not a general purpose PC, and in that case the distro
to work with is the one the person doing the work is happiest with.

Yes to user freindly distros
Yes to newbie friendly distros
But also Yes to getting mainstream distros more user friendly

Sean Parsons

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May 2, 2005, 1:06:53 PM5/2/05
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Adam,

I agree that Debian Sarge is a very robust and stable OS, and when configured
correctly is every bit as newbie friendly as ANY commercial distro. BTW, not
that I've tried it with my mother, but I think Sarge's installer has become
fairly easy for most people anyway.

--
Peace, Love, and...Compile the Kernel

Dr Adam J Trickett

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May 3, 2005, 4:00:33 AM5/3/05
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Sean et al.,

On Mon, 02 May 2005 at 01:06:53PM -0400, Sean Parsons wrote:
>
> On Monday 02 May 2005 04:34, Adam wrote:
> >
> > Other than the Install, which my father didn't take any part in, there
> > is nothing wrong with Debian Sarge, it has no shortage of icons, colour
> > schemes, toys, games and applications to choose from. My father will
> > never do any thing other than use the PC, so once it's configured, it's
> > set.
> >
>
> I agree that Debian Sarge is a very robust and stable OS, and when configured
> correctly is every bit as newbie friendly as ANY commercial distro. BTW, not
> that I've tried it with my mother, but I think Sarge's installer has become
> fairly easy for most people anyway.

While I think the install was easy, installing anything is way beyond the abilities
or interest of my father. For him it has to come fully configured already. I think
many people miss the point with easy installs, most Windows users are incapable of
installing Windows, and so I think easy installation is a non issue.

The Sarge installer is very good though, and I though it was much easier than Windows
95/98/NT4/2K.

There are two kinds of user:

1) User only, incapable of administration or installation. They need their box
setting up for them. These people are not able to setup and configure Windows,
and are usually infected with something horrible.

2) User and administrator. People in this category never get infected, and do
know what they are doing.

The problem is that all systems need installation, configuration and some
maintenance. There is a tendency to produce one-size-fits all, all switched
on products (Windows and some Linux distros), they seem easy, but are a security
nightmare.

I advocate Linux, because the long term maintenance is easier, thats where
the money and pain is expended, not the install and basic config. The fact
that Linux is cheaper, and runs on older hardware is a bonus.

If my fathers PC ran Windows, I'd have to constantly keep an eye on it, constantly
patch it, and the various third party bits, which is hard from a distance, with
Linux I still need to check on it, but updating it remotely is easy.

--
Adam Trickett
http://iredale.dyndns.org/
HANTS, UK
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