Linked by Charles Williams on Mon 7th Apr 2003 03:17 UTC
Debian and its clones We have all heard the horror stories of how GNU/Linux is difficult, if not almost impossible, as far as general desktop usability is concerned. In particular, there seems to be a continuous stream of gripes printed across the Internet, from Microsoft Windows users who wish, or have tried, to migrate to GNU/Linux, yet gave up in frustration. But what happens when complete computer newbies are introduced to GNU/Linux? By computer newbies, I am referring to those who have no computer experience whatsoever, in either a Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix or other environment.
Order by: Score:
Just like functional programming...
by flinstone on Mon 7th Apr 2003 03:40 UTC


I'm sure the majority of you haven't heard of functional programming (ml, erlang, haskell etc) or even used one, and the same applies. For users used to imperitive programming (C, Java, Cobol and other crud) it is almost impossible to learn a functional programming language because its "hard" and imperitive is "easy". If the students are thaugt from day one in a FP, the opinions are reversed.

Seems similar stuff applies here...

Yup!
by Alex on Mon 7th Apr 2003 03:43 UTC

Very nice article. I spend far too much time here...

nice... i wanna do this too
by jason on Mon 7th Apr 2003 03:52 UTC

my uncle asked me to build a computer for him... i was always a bit reluctant to install linux. now maybe i can give it a try...
can't wait to hear their experience in a few days.

Cool:
by Marc on Mon 7th Apr 2003 03:53 UTC

This a very nice article, I'm sure that those people will do fine. If they start with a free enviornment like Linux, where most things are possible and few impossible, they will do just fine on any other OS. I'm sure Windows is not always the way to go, especially that so far I can remmember Win 95 & 98 had tortured me more than any other OS:)
Good luck!

libranet does it again!
by sz3344d on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:01 UTC

I choose Libranet 2.0 for my mom's computer too when I switched her over to linux. The reason? Easy to upgrade and doen't take up too much space with the default. Can't wait to read the follow-up.

The future ...
by Darius on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:05 UTC

I'd love to see this article updated a year from now to see if these people are still using Debian. I'm certainly not saying that won't be - it would just be interesting to see if they are.
Only bad thing is, if something should happen to you (let's hope not), unless they know somebody else who knows how to solve Linux problems (like the lady who was raving about its stability), they're probably going to be shit out of luck. So, just make sure you point them to the Linux Documentation Project and other sites so in the event you get abucted by aliens (or whatever), they'll know where to get help.

Any operating system when setup properly can be a great solution for the desktop, 90% of the problems people face are the pre-installation and post installation configuration. Heck, if you downloaded FreeBSD 4.8 and compiled GNOME 2.2.1 into it, it would perform as a great desktop.

The Future
by Charles Williams on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:21 UTC

Darius wrote:

"I'd love to see this article updated a year from now to see if these people are still using Debian."

I am noting every time they either call or hit me up in chat, and have problems accomplishing something. This material will be included in future updates.

About quickbook
by GetOutofHere on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:26 UTC

You should invest in purchasing Kapital from theKompany
http://www.thekompany.com for the quickbook compatibility.
They offer version for Windows and Linux, so if they migrate(hopefully not) to windows they could still use the same software.

I think KDE + a rpm distro would have been much better. You will be surprise, most newbies choose KDE over Gnome 9 out of 10; i know i was shocked. But then again you are the go to guy so whatever your comfortable with.

Anyways good job, hope to hear more reviews about the process.

v Darius a MS fanboy
by GetOutofHere on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:36 UTC
Easy upgrades
by Dave Poirier on Mon 7th Apr 2003 04:37 UTC

I think debian is definately the way to go for someone without any prior knowledge. First, the upgrades _ARE_ easier under Debian GNU/Linux then under MS Windows. Second, they get a secure system from the start where each user can have its own personal files (Windows XP did a long way to improve in this regard over previous versions).

On the other hand, if that family later decides to buy a fancy printer or scanner, they might be out of luck, I have yet to see hardware vendors put little "Linux Ready" stickers on their boxes. So they might just be buying something that isn't supported under Linux.

Of course when you take the price into consideration, any Linux distro will win easily.

Some already have, however, you'll never get the cheap crap to bundle Linux drivers, heck, its already hard enough for them to put together half decent drivers for Windows now we're going ask them to support Linux?

Generally speaking, if you buy name brand hardware you shouldn't have a problem, problems, only accur when people try to buy el cheapo parts that are made up of 100s different chips from 10000s of different manufactureres.

Good luck!
by Owen Anderson on Mon 7th Apr 2003 05:34 UTC

Seriously, I hope it works out for them using Linux. I've found that people can actually adapt pretty well to operating systems, even non-geeks. My parents have used MacOS, Linux, and WinXP, and never seem to have any major problems with the changes.

However, your mileage may vary. The biggest problem I've run into in trying to get people to use alternate Operating Systems is hardware support. While Linux and most free systems support name brand hardware, lesser known brand drivers are hard to come buy. I don't think I have ever seen a system that was completely Linux-proof. Every single machine I have installed it on, including the one I'm posting from, has had at least one piece of hardware that just flat-out wouldn't work. Unfortunately, I don't see this situation improving until Linux gets wider support from manufacturers.

Re:The Future
by linux_baby on Mon 7th Apr 2003 05:36 UTC

>> unless they know somebody else who knows how to solve Linux problems (like the lady who was raving about its stability), they're probably going to be shit out of luck.
>>

You might be surprised! Even the small schools are teaching linux now, something that wasn't happening just a few years back. I was pleasantly surprised the other day to see my next door neighbour using SUSE! It turned out he had tried RedHat as well.

GetOutofHere...
by Vincent on Mon 7th Apr 2003 05:38 UTC

Darius is no more an M$ Fanboy than you are a Penguinista. You make just as many "Linux is perfect you're just a moron" posts.

Re: Darius
by Nacs on Mon 7th Apr 2003 06:31 UTC

"I'd love to see this article updated a year from now to see if these people are still using Debian."

Yeah, perhaps OSnews can fund a year-long reality-show-type event where this family shares their experience with using Debian. ;)

GNU/ GNU/ GNU/
by asv on Mon 7th Apr 2003 06:31 UTC

Unless you are RMS, there is simply no need to put GNU/ in front of Linux everytime you use the word. Its akward and unecessary.

@Vincent
by GetOutofHere on Mon 7th Apr 2003 06:48 UTC

You make just as many "Linux is perfect you're just a moron" posts.
where??? proof.
Right now i'm type this from windows 2000.
Reread my posts, I shoot from the hips linux, windows, bsd, or otherwise.

Now go reread Darius's comments the same shit over and over.

I'm sure this one will get moderated down too. Oh well nobody likes the truth.

RE: GetOutofHere
by Eugenia on Mon 7th Apr 2003 06:51 UTC

> I'm sure this one will get moderated down too. Oh well nobody likes the truth.

What we don't like, is your general tone when you replied earlier, not the "truth".

it is hard but later you rule
by myself on Mon 7th Apr 2003 06:53 UTC

The harder is the beginning the better are you later... I was lived in win when i installed Debian and i can say i had to figure and do all myself so OS was exactly i like it i could easily conf it as i like - no this SCRIPT hell ...
GO DEBIAN

newbie articles
by 1ccfGcs on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:05 UTC

May I ask, is anybody who reads/runs this site not a newbie? It seems that almost every single article posted is a newbie review, which is only a very small (in my opinion negligible) subset of "osnews".

Re: newbie articles
by Dave on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:14 UTC

Having been hanging around this site a while, I don't think the readers are newbies. We just spend most our time arguing which OS/Desktop environment is best and the 'newbie' test seems to be the only way we have to prove our arguments.

Sorry Eugenia
by GetOutofHere dba Penguinisto on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:15 UTC

I will be positive from now on and set a good example for other trolls and Penguinistos.

Vicent, thank you for pointing out that i'm a penguinista since darius aka sir mix alot is a MS fanboy. And please, do not use $ when referencing Microsoft.

Microsoft == MS
Microsoft != M$

From now on i will forever be Penguinisto
o not a since i'm a male penguin

newbie articles
by non-newbie on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:18 UTC

I must agree with 1ccfGcs. What do people gain from reading 5 accounts per day about someone failing to be able to install linux no matter how hard they try. I would think that something like ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/security/advisories/NetBSD-SA2003-... (Cryptographic weaknesses in Kerberos v4 protocol) would be of more interest... but I could be wrong.

Re: Re: Newbie articles
by 1ccfGcs on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:19 UTC

the 'newbie' test seems to be the only way we have to prove our arguments


Would you please explain?

Re: Re: Re: Newbie articles
by Dave on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:23 UTC

Well... the arguments about which OS/DE is best designed rage on, going round in circles since everyone has different opinions. The argument always seems to come back to 'Can your Mum do it?'. Hence the need for newbie articles.

Not another one..
by Mong on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:29 UTC

How many of these articles do we have to suffer? Every day we get yet another "Newbie tries to install linux" or "Linux on the desktop" news item. Is this OSNews? Or Newbie/Desktop Linux news?

Debian unstable?
by O. Rubinstein on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:34 UTC

Am I the only one who thinks that Debian *unstable* is a rather bad choice for someone who is not familiar with Computers and GNU/Linux in particular??

newbie-news
by non-newbie on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:36 UTC

Maybe osnews.com could register newbie-reviews.com and give up its current address to more suitable management.

Then don't use FSF software
by j.edwards on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:40 UTC

Unless you are RMS, there is simply no need to put GNU/ in front of Linux everytime you use the word.

Then use Linux without FSF/GNU software and see how far you get. Show the man a little respect, without him there would be no Linux.

We'd probably all be using Xenix!

*sigh*
by Paul Mekhedjian on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:40 UTC

Some people just don't want to use Linux... stop forcing them!

Possible problems ahead...
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:44 UTC

The neighbours in this scenario are in a very similar situation to my sisters' family. The problem in the real world is ongoing support.

Mys sister uses MYOB for her accounts (as do most Australian businesses). When things go wrong her accountant sends a staff member to fix it up. Finding an accountant who can deal with Debian and OSS accounting packages is a big potential problem.

A highly successful person should not waste time trying to save a few bucks as it is false economy. A surgeon shouldn't waste 2 hours mowing his lawn when he can earn a few thousand doing an operation in the same time. The same thing with a business person - the case family probably saved a couple of hours income at most. In return they may lose hundreds of hours of work if the system doesn't perform properly.

Why joe user
by Richard James on Mon 7th Apr 2003 07:49 UTC

Why can't we talk about other issues than installation like filesystems, VM,api's etc. Ok we do get some api stuff in here. There should be a moratorium on these types of articles until they get balanced with other ones.

To El Penguinisto :)
by Vincent on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:00 UTC

I was merely pointing out when you two go at it with each other, which tends to happen every other thread or so, its like you two are married or something.

Believe me, by now we understand where both are you are comming from:

El Penguinisto: Linux == Good; Darius == dumb.

La MS Fanboy: Windows Rules; Penguinistos Drool.


Btw, it wasn't really trying to be offensive - its just funny how you two never get tired of being anrgy about how wrong the other side is.

Grandma & Linux
by Stardust on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:02 UTC

My Grandma installed Linux on PC.
It just works.
Man I'm really impressed.

Stop complaining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by GetOutofHere dba Penguinisto on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:10 UTC

stop bitching about these articles and go find some other articles and press the goddamn summit button or stfu.

goddamn it that didn't turn out right
sigh..........
What would Jesus do?

I think its unfair for people to criticize about the quality of the article. Remember, Eugenia does not work (paid work) here anymore. Everyone complaining should go out and grab some article and press the summit button. In other words contribute, goddamn it.

Have them post themselves on OSNews
by Fredster on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:11 UTC

The test for Diane+Mike and the kids would surely be to post an article for themselves here on OSNews! Who else can better describe their griefs and cheers?

I would not do the same
by Cyberholic on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:17 UTC

Just wait and you will see. The following questions will pop up sooner or later:
"Why can't I install this_and_this game on my computer??"
"Because you are using Linux."
"But why can my friends install it?"
"Because they are using Windows XP."
"So?? I thoght you told me Linux was better."
...

And guess what, every time the computer fucks up, (yes, shit happens, even for a linux computer), you are the only person around who can fix it.

Until one day, you are gonna wonder, why you did it in the first place.

Huh?
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:17 UTC

Once debian is installed properly (which is the only really daunting thing for newbies), using it via GNOME for instance, is not unlike using any other distribution. You basically did all the installation for them: so what's the big deal?

Useless article?
by osnewster on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:24 UTC

Am I the only one here who thinks that this article doesn't tell us *anything*? It purports to be about newbies using Linux, but is really about some guy installing Linux for them! The newbies typed all of two commands. I was expecting an article about how a newbie got through that awful Debian installer, and it turns out they didn't install anything!! What kind of reviews are these now? One woman typing two commands? People who need software for a business, and being told that GNUCash *might* do what they need? How does this help them? This isn't a troll, but of the "newbie installation" reviews we've been getting a lot of lately on this site, this has to be the most useless I've seen to date.

Re: Useless article?
by Dave on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:36 UTC

I must admit, I thought it ended a bit prematurely. I hope there is any update soon.

Some of you are Funny
by linux_baby on Mon 7th Apr 2003 08:37 UTC

Funny, how some people can sound so negative and fucking self-righteous.

So, the geek handled the installation? Big deal, dump a windows cd with a complete newbie and have him install it!

And somebody is whining about "newbie" articles? Get a life, go for a party or something.

Ongoing support? whatever happened when they had no computer at all?

And some are actually worrying for the author? Why don't you let the freaking case develop and let's see what happens? Are you scared things might just turn out allright?

If you ain't ready to use linux for your needs, get out of the way and allow others to try. The sky ain't gonna fall just because, somebody is using linux. Ha!

re Some of you are funny
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 09:38 UTC

Linux_baby, the article *was* pretty useless. A newbie installing a fresh copy of Windows will have a much better time installing a fresh copy of Debian (sadly). Compare the installers. I don't think you can disagree.

i mean... (re re Some of you are funny)
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 09:44 UTC

A newbie installing a fresh copy of windows will have a much better time than a newbie installing a fresh copy of Debian.

no debian
by Jonathan on Mon 7th Apr 2003 10:16 UTC

Why even run Debeian when there is such nice things as Gentoo ;) !

Gentoo for noobies - of course, why didnīt I think of it?
by Ana OīNeemus on Mon 7th Apr 2003 10:20 UTC

Linux Gentoo for absolute computer noobies: Part 1, The Mission

by special contributor Ana OīNeemus, technical writer for the Garfield Group

Among the great questions of the universe, two stand out as generating the most trafic on /.: first, what is The Meaning of Life, and second, is Linux Usable by Absolute Computer Noobies? By absolute computer noobies, I mean (no, really) absolute computer noobies.

Part 1, The Mission
I donīt think you would honestly like to meet my two neighbors Daphne & Tatiana, and their two cute poodles, Charlie and Ponpon. Neither of them (I mean Daphne and Tatiana) has been previously exposed to computers or Linux, since they have lived in Elbonia for the last 22 years.

About four months ago, they approached me as I was arriving home, and even though I tried to escape through the stairs, they got me trapped, but as I found out they only needed some information. They specifically wanted to buy a computer, or as they put it Ļ We want a Linux computer manufactured by that Finnish boy...Ļ. I immediately thought that I could put them on the right track by setting them up with a Gentoo Linux installation, and buying an inexpensive Lindows computer through Walmart.

Plus the cable access to the Internet, of course, which only comes out at around $50 per month.

Here is a breakdown of the expenses:

Microtel Sysmar814 PC with 1.67GHz Athlon XP: $499 + shipping

15 inch LCD monitor : $268 + shipping

Total: $767 + shipping + the (negligible) cost of donwloading Gentoo.

Note 1: Daphne remarked to me that Mandrake Linux 9.0 was included with the Microtel PC, so why did they need Gentoo? I had to explain to them that Gentoo allowed them to optimize their Linux installation for the Athlon processor, providing a measurable 3% improvement in performance, on average.

Note 2: Tatiana remarked to me (these two are a pain in the... back, sometimes) that for just $32 more, they could buy a similar machine from Walmart, with WindowsXP, but a faster processor, and they wouldnīt need to download or upgrade anything. ĻLookĻ, I told them, ĻItīs my way or the highway. So, whatīs it going to be?Ļ

Thankfully they let me go after that. I avoided having to install anything for them, and now they canīt even ask me to connect the cables to get their splendid new XP box going.

Can you imagine how much time I have saved by choosing Gentoo? Now just wait until I tell Tsu Dho Minh, sheīll be red with jealousy...

Iīll include a screenshot of my Gentoo desktop in my next review, so please stay with me and donīt read any reviews by Tsu. She doesnīt include any screenshots anyways...

PS: to the Geek that mentioned Functional Languages; you are right, thatīs the most relevant comment I have read in OSnews in a loooong time.

Democracy
by daf73 on Mon 7th Apr 2003 10:42 UTC

just some simple "cut & paste":

Are you Tired of all the Microsoft Bashing Yet? (203 comments)
Migrating to Linux Not Easy for Windows Users (128 comments)
Too Much Free Software (92 comments)
Migration: Not for the Faint of Heart (76 comments)
.....
IRIX Binary Compatibility for NetBSD, Part 6 (1 comments)
Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit 3.0 Released (0 comments)

obviously, osnews.com's readers care about this kind of articles...

I support Linux, but ...
by AnnFS on Mon 7th Apr 2003 10:46 UTC

Imo suggesting it for doing the books for a small business was not good advice. They can probably get away with using GNUCash (etc) and/or OpenOffice-compatible Excel spreadsheet-based applications for the bookkeeping, but there is no equivalent Linux tax planning/preparation software. Spend $100 more for OEM W98se (or XP) and have a dual boot system + $50/yr for Home & Business tax software.

re Democracy
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 10:48 UTC

If one is going to post something that will incite flaming, then of course people are going to comment. Include something MS or Linux related and they will come by the hundreds.

Debian is a good choice..
by MxCl on Mon 7th Apr 2003 11:11 UTC

..for a number of reasons:

1. Always likely to be free
2. Easy to keep up to date and secure
3. Easy to upgrade between major distro version numbers

But it's not currently easy to install or maintain, which is why it's perfect in this situation because our friend the author has installed and is going to maintain the computer (until he's transferred enough knowledge to hand over the reigns and the url to the Linux Documentation Project).

I liked the article and look forward to its follow ups - we'll learn if Linux is doing things right from people who won't compare it to Windows the whole time.

Also the command line is perfectly easy to use if you're shown how to do a particular task with it. However most people don't have a handy geek on 24/7 call and this is why most people prefer clear icon-driven GUIs. With a GUI you can figure it out yourself and its not so hard to remember how to do things. Anyone can learn and benefit from the CLI, but obviously it has to be replaced if there's to be a future in GNU/Linux.

And finally GNU/Linux is the more correct name for a collection of GNU and misc. free software running under the Linux Kernel interacting in harmony to allow people to get work done. It would be more appropriate if major publications gave credit to the Free Software Foundation but really it's not worth getting annoyed about.

too touchy-feely
by MobyTurbo on Mon 7th Apr 2003 11:29 UTC

The article doesn't seem to cover anything about the installation, other than editing a line in sources.list. All the article is is a "testimonial" about how he helped some friends "see the light". Hopefully part II will be a bit meatier.

Enough already
by jd on Mon 7th Apr 2003 12:00 UTC

From the article: "We have all heard the horror stories of how GNU/Linux is difficult, if not almost impossible, as far as general desktop usability is concerned. In particular, there seems to be a continuous stream of gripes printed across the Internet..."

Yeah, we have heard all the stories, and OSNEWS contributes more than it's fair share. Bloody hell! How many of these commentaries do you guys need to post?

This is a disaster waiting to happen!
by Robert Escue on Mon 7th Apr 2003 12:15 UTC

If this guy was a consultant, would you hire him? I sure as Hell wouldn't, let's take people for the most part have no signinficant computing experience and build them a Linux box! Real smart! Let's not consider what they will actually be using the computer for and what software they need, let's just get them on Linux because it is not Microsoft. What complete crap!! I don't particularly care for Microsoft either, but I am not going to make my wife, daughter, or anyone else use Solaris or AIX (what I use)because I don't like Microsoft! What I learned in the Navy is "the best tool for the job", and in this case Linux is not it! I certanly hope this guy has tons of free time, because he is going to need it to "help them along" through all of the problems they are going to have!

This guy is an example of what is wrong with Linux, another zealot who is more concerned with what he thinks is best and not concerned at all with what the people he is trying to help actually need. I am willing to bet that in 6 months these people will be wanting to skin this idiot alive because the "Linux box" will not do what they need!

If I was doing this I would ask pertinent questions like "what software do you need" and "what kind of printing will you be doing" and tailor a "solution", not just dump a box with Linux on it and say "here you go". And I take it the 6 year old is going to start compiling applications from source for the ones they can't get packages for?

I spent 25 years as a professional photographer before I got into IT, and just because I used Nikons did not mean everybody that asked me about cameras should get a Nikon. The same applies with Linux, just because some of you use Linux does not mean everybody has to. Let's drop the personal preferences and actually focus on what "the client" actually needs!

I would have asked them a series of questions and tailored a "solution" around their requirements and budget. Take them to computer stores and show them Windows XP, OSX and let them tell me what they like and don't like! Notice I do not mention Linux here, these people are going to be mainstream computer users, not CompSci students. And what about the kids, what are they going to use for software. I bet when the parents go to BestBuy, CompUSA, etc. they are going to be bowled over by the amount of software for Linux.

This guy did those people a disservice, and you Linux zealots can flame me until the cows come home, it is still not going to change the fact this guy did the wrong thing! I use Unix and Windows, each has their place. And considering the discussions I have read about "Linux not ready for the desktop", this should definitely apply here!

aha
by AdamW on Mon 7th Apr 2003 12:17 UTC

This article was most interesting for the bit that proves something I've thought for a long time - the comment that the newbies didn't find *anything* unusual about typing commands into a CLI. Some people seem to be on a crusade to eliminate the console from Linux for newbie users entirely...why? CLI is as valid an interface as GUI, and I don't see why it's intrinsically any worse, more unsuitable for new users, or more "difficult". A proper operating system should have a good CLI for tasks for which a command line is more efficient, and a good GUI for tasks for which a graphical interface is more efficient, and someone who's NEVER USED WINDOWS - which started on the bizarre "typed commands are evil" crusade with Win95 - wouldn't see anything odd about that, as this article shows.

Windows is marketing and propaganda mixed with good ideas. But one of my friends in America, when I showed her Redhat Linux 8.0 screenshots, told me she saw the same thing in her University Library and used it. But she didn't know it was Linux :-) She just used it.

Command Line Interface
by Daan on Mon 7th Apr 2003 13:31 UTC

It is some time ago, about one and a half year, when I went to the University of Bochum in Germany for one week, as I know someone whose parent is professor mathematics, and they moved from the Netherlands to Bochum and at the new faculty, Linux needed to be installed. So we did that.
Now you know, this professor now got a new secretary. She had a computer which booted automatically in Windows 3.1, and she wrote her letters in Word. And she knew how to copy a file using the File Manager.
But now, this professor, wanted professional documents made in LaTex. In Pure Latex, not with Lyx or such. Just with an editor.
So this secretary needed to know you should login, start a konsole, type ls to list documents, type emacs this.tex to edit some file, use latex this.tex to compile it and use xdvi this.dvi to view the result. I was asked to explain it, though German is not my native language. However, if I remember it right, she understood everything in one hour or so.
So how difficult is the command line really?

@GetOutOfHere and go to a library ..
by rockwell on Mon 7th Apr 2003 14:03 UTC

//From now on i will forever be Penguinisto
o not a since i'm a male penguin//

The term "Penguinista" has nothing to do with gender translations in Spanish, dummy.

It's a play on the term "Sandinista" -- guerrillas in Nicaragua in the late 1970's, who fought against their own "evil empire."

Read. Learn. Re-Post.

AHHH
by deb-man on Mon 7th Apr 2003 14:24 UTC

you left us with a clif hanger :-) dang it!!! now I will have to scan OS News every dang day :-D

just a couple of notes...
by Bobthearch on Mon 7th Apr 2003 14:40 UTC

The title of the article should be "Newbies Able to Install Debian Because I Did it All for Them."

A real test of the operating system would be to deliver the computer and a Debian package to their door and leave them for a week to figure it out. I'm nearly certain in that situation they would have better luck with Lycoris or Windows.

Entering terminal commands in this age? Ridiculous.

If the construction company needs to transfer files between partners, clients, or employees, the people need the exact same software, not Linux clones. Will they be able to install AutoCAD? MS Office? Will their CPA be able to read their finacial record files?

Best Wishes,
Bob

Re: no debian
by Dave on Mon 7th Apr 2003 14:48 UTC

Over 40 posts before the first Gentoo post. You guys are slipping.

Unstable on a production machine?
by Robin on Mon 7th Apr 2003 14:52 UTC

Why are you installing *unstable* on a production machine? Remember the libpam problems in unstable not too long ago? Or the gcc-3.2 transition where dist-upgrade would remove about every single package on your computer?

Use stable for production machines, with *maybe* some packages from testing, If you come crying to www.debianhelp.org to help you recover your installation, there will be a lot of people laughing at you.

(PS: I run unstable, with a daily upgrade, and about 1-4 (varies) times a month I have to do some magic to get my box running the way I want it to (most recently the new gnome packages caused me some headaches)).

I might try a simmilar experiment
by Jim on Mon 7th Apr 2003 15:34 UTC

My roommate is a Windows newbie who is pretty a smart guy. He has taken some interest in Linux (no thanks to me). I was thinking about setting up his machine as a dual boot system as an experiment, but the problem is that he uses to computer for his digital camera, talks to his GF with the yahoo messenger webcam/voice feature, spends a great deal of time on Kazaaa lite (movies and music), plays a windows games, makes a ton of music CD's, listens to internet radio (including launch.yahoo.com), uses the Google toolbar, and also uses office. He likes some of my KDE/FluxBox themes and would probably go for the idea of being used for an experiment, but the problem is that I could at best only replace some of the functionality of Windows. Linux has made some progress over the last couple years, but the way people use computers has also changed over the last couple years.

Tried Installing Debian Last Year...!
by Michael Lauzon on Mon 7th Apr 2003 15:37 UTC

I tried installing Debian last year, and I couldn't because of the text based installer, I kept going around in circles...so since I got so fed up trying to install it I made the CDs that it was on fly out the window; same thing happened with the Slackware CDs as well.


Michael Lauzon
Founder & Lead Project Manager
InceptionOS Project
http://www.inceptionos.org
michael@inceptionos.org

Nightmares are true
by terrorpup on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:09 UTC

I was first introduce to Linux in 96, when a friend gave me a copy of Slackware 96. I couldn't believe how hard it was to install things. I had to take a crash couse on gcc and make just so that I could install apps.

Trying to fix broke software, not being a programming I got to the point that I started hating Slackware.

After 6 months and driving my friends crazy and way with question about programming. A friend bought me a copy of RedHat 4.2, install it and taught me how to love rpm.

Shortly after that, I move to SuSE 5.3 and have been with SuSE ever since. As a newbie at that time. If there weren't things like rpm. I would have given up on Linux as I did Solaris.

re: j.edwards
by dwilson on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:23 UTC

Then use Linux without FSF/GNU software and see how far you get. Show the man a little respect, without him there would be no Linux.

This has nothing to do with it. Is the OS just the kernel? In my opinion yes. Other people say no. So, if you believe that your applications and programs running are part of the OS you say GNU/Linux. If someone is not of that opinion they will probably just say Linux. However it is strange that we don't see people say Adobe/Windows even though they may be running mostly Adobe software?

RE Robert E.
by Iconoclast on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:26 UTC

If this guy was a consultant, would you hire him? I sure as Hell wouldn't, let's take people for the most part have no signinficant computing experience and build them a Linux box! Real smart!

What is the problem? If they don't know how to use either Windows nor Linux, then why not get them started down the right path to begin with? ;)

Amen, Iconoclast
by Adam Scheinberg on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:32 UTC

If someone has NO experience, they have no bias. That's the PERFECT candidate for Linux. They won't know things are hard because they're ready to learn.

It's only hard to switch when you come from Windows or Mac and have expectations.

re: Bobthearch
by dwilson on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:34 UTC

A real test of the operating system would be to deliver the computer and a Debian package to their door and leave them for a week to figure it out.

Why? Windows comes pre-installed, why shouldn't he pre-install Debian for them? How is that not a fair test as compared to a newbie who gets a computer with Windows (or any other OS) already set up and ready to go?

Entering terminal commands in this age? Ridiculous.

You are probably the type of guy who can't use his computer when his wireless mouse runs out of batteries because he is keyboard handi-capped. It is well known (and very demonstrable) that keyboard computing, while slower to learn, is faster and more efficient when one becomes proficient at it. Your comments are not only foolish but also attest to your ignorance on the subject.

Sorry, been a little slow today...
by Dibbos on Mon 7th Apr 2003 16:34 UTC

Webcams work in linux, so do mics. I'm not entirely sure that there is a Yahoo client that will work with them, but i know gnomemeeting works with them fine. Windows games, well those are best enjoyed in windows i suppose, though there are a few fun simple games for X taht i like. Kazaa... hrmm.. wine anyone? ;) I've never had a problem with internet radio on my linux box. Burning "tons" of music cds either. I've found that i burn faster and with fewer errors in linux that in windows. On my old box (Pentium 120) i could only burn at 2x in windows and would have errors left right and center. In linux i could burn at the burner's top speed, 8x, and i never once got errors. Now with my dual burner machine i can pump out CDs like there's no toomorow. Galeon has a "google toolbar" equivalent, in fact i prefer it over the real google toolbar. And using Office. OpenOffice suits my needs, maybe he needs more, maybe he doesnt. Maybe you DO have a candidate on your hands.

GnuCash...
by MrJ412 on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:08 UTC

I wonder if he bothered to mention that by using GnuCash they won't be able to have the convenience of having the software go out and get the data directly from their bank... Until some linux software can do that, I will still be booting into Windows to do my banking and bill paying.

re: dwilson
by Bobthearch on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:22 UTC

"Windows comes pre-installed..."

If someone builds a machine from barebones, as in this article, Windows is certainly *not* pre-installed. A true test would be new users installing different operating systems from scratch. I'm saying in that instance, Windows (or Lycoris, or Mac...) would be simpler.

"You are probably the type of guy who can't use his computer when his wireless mouse runs out of batteries because he is keyboard handi-capped. It is well known (and very demonstrable) that keyboard computing, while slower to learn, is faster and more efficient when one becomes proficient at it."

Correct. I am not a master typist. Neither are most home computer users, and it's unlikely that the new users in the article are either. (By the way though, I don't have a wireless mouse.) Sure, I could become proficient at using terminal commands if I used the same ones over and over - like several times a day, every day. But how often am I really going to use the update command? Not often enough to remember the exact command, I guarantee.

The problem lies with my memorization skills, not my knowledge! Can you think of a good reason for *not* creating a GUI for the updating tool?

I'm not mindlessly bashing Linux; I'm discussing the article and related negative aspects of Linux. If it were an article about Windows, there would be plenty of room for similar criticism, I promise.

Nothing but good wishes,
-Bob

bobthearch:
by AdamW on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:31 UTC

Your response does not cover your original reply, that the CLI interface is, "in this day and age", "ridiculous". WHY? What is inherently "old" about the CLI, what is inherently "new" about the GUI? Because of how *we* design computers, the GUI happens to have matured later than the CLI. That doesn't mean it's "better" because it's newer, nor does it suddenly make the CLI outdated and useless. Something new can only outdate something old if it reproduces and improves all (or at least the vast majority) of its functionality. This is certainly not the case for GUI vs. CLI. The two are *complementary*. There are things the CLI does better than - and probably will always do better than - the GUI. I don't take the argument about "memorising" things either. All you need to do is get a bit of paper, put it next to your PC, and write down any command you use. After a week you'll know most of the ones you need.

I think there *is* a GUI tool for Debian packages, anyway. Yet Debian users still use the CLI! What's the reason for this inexplicable behaviour, do you think? Could it possibly be because the CLI is a far more efficient way of getting the job done? Nahhhh, Debian users are obviously just obstinate sticks in the mud who use the CLI out of some weird form of masochism. Yeah. That makes sense...

Gnucash
by Mongrol on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:39 UTC

Gnucash has been able to download from banks since version 1.8 I believe.

Really bad advice
by Anonymous on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:46 UTC

For your neighbor's sake, I'm glad your not an M.D.

re: Adam W
by Bobthearch on Mon 7th Apr 2003 17:46 UTC

Thank you for pointing out exactly what I need to clarify. It's not stone-age to have a terminal; but it is primitive to be dependent on terminal commands for common end-user functions.

"...wierd form of masochism." It could be that, or else they're showing off. :-)

-Bob

bob:
by AdamW on Mon 7th Apr 2003 18:06 UTC

In that case, you misunderstand the article, probably unconsciously. As I say, you can manage Debian packages from a GUI, and you for some reason assume this is what the author should have done. But why? As I said, the CLI is a far more efficient mechanism for performing regular package maintenance. These are *new* users, who have no prejudice for or against either form of interface (unlike converted users). So the author made the logical choice and showed them how to perform the task in the most efficient manner: using the command line interface. Debian is not *dependent* on terminal commands for common functions, but if terminal commands are the best way to achieve said functions, why not teach the use of them?

Printers
by Don Cox on Mon 7th Apr 2003 18:47 UTC

"On the other hand, if that family later decides to buy a fancy printer or scanner, they might be out of luck, I have yet to see hardware vendors put little "Linux Ready" stickers on their boxes. So they might just be buying something that isn't supported under Linux."

As the machine is mainly for business use, a Postscript laser printer would be the most suitable printer anyway. That will work with just about any OS.

The kids might like a cheap colour printer - it shouldn't be too hard to find out which ones work with Linux.

dwilson
by Glanz on Mon 7th Apr 2003 18:58 UTC

<<The problem lies with my memorization skills, not my knowledge! Can you think of a good reason for *not* creating a GUI for the updating tool?>>

No nobody can. That is why Libranet HAS a GUI APT-based upgrading tool, and also why about 7 such tools exist, including Synaptic, which by the way, not only works with the .deb package format but also works for RPM packages.

Libranet 2.7 "Classic" ,now availabe for just 24.95 !
by pnghd on Mon 7th Apr 2003 20:20 UTC

I am all for people using Debian but I would say
springing 59.00 (student discounts available) for the
new 2.8 (prob within a month) would really flatten out the
learning curve.

Woah, I just noticed that you can buy the latest version
in a classic edition for just 24.95.
This doesn't give you " up and running" support, but you
still get the free pre-purchase hardware support where
they will tell you in advance if your hardware will present any problems. Plus forums and newsletter are still available for community support.
Also it is one cd rather than 2, but the key apps all
still seem to be there. This is probably better than
the full edition because there is a growing consensus
that you don't need a dozen apps per category.

The info is at
http://www.libranet.com/download.html

Of course, this must mean that 2.8 release is coming
very soon.

At any rate, 2.0 is looking to be old even at the attractive price of free.

@Paul Mekhedjian
by matt on Mon 7th Apr 2003 20:26 UTC

> Some people just don't want to use Linux... stop forcing > them!

I hope the irony of this post is not lost on you/others.

That's the funniest thing I've read on this site for a while.

Matt

re: Libranet 2.7 classic , $24.95. It is download version.
by pnghd on Mon 7th Apr 2003 20:33 UTC

I didn't notice that this is for a download version.
Still a good deal if you can't wait for the new 2.8.
To all those who say why pay for a download version,
the answer is so you can get an ez to install and use
already made more uptodate DEBIAN distro.

If this guy was a consultant, would you hire him? I sure as Hell wouldn't, let's take people for the most part have no signinficant computing experience and build them a Linux box! Real smart!

What is the problem? If they don't know how to use either Windows nor Linux, then why not get them started down the right path to begin with? ;)


Well, I have no problem with the logic that says if they don't know computers, then one is going to be about as easy as the other. But here is the main issue:
I don't know for sure if Gnucash is a 100% drop-in replacement for the level of compatibility and functionality that these people needed Quickbooks for. And based on the comments, I'd say it is not. But if it is, then they should be ok.
But the main point is that the author obviously didn't know either, but still set them up with a Debian solution. And thus by doing something like that, you're basically pushing your 'political' and idealistic views (read: anti-MS sentiments) down their throat while at the same time completely ignoring whatever technical requirements that these people were looking for. "Yeah, maybe GNUcash won't work quite the way they were expecting, but their uptime will be through the roof!"
That would be like someone telling me that they use Gnucash at work and needed to be compatable with it, but I set them up with Quickbooks instead just because I think that Linux sucks (which I don't, but that's beside the point).

Richard Fillion
Webcams work in linux, so do mics. I'm not entirely sure that there is a Yahoo client that will work with them, but i know gnomemeeting works with them fine.

So, if you need/want to voice/video chat with Yahoo users, what good is gnomemeeting going to do you, unless it is compatible with Yahoo? The reason I ask is that I have a friend who mainly uses Linux, but keeps a Windows partition around just for this particular purpose.

And as for the guy who was in favor of GNU/Linux and if you don't put GNU/ in front of Linux, then don't use GNU software ...
Well, how about this - from now on, instead of Windows, it will be Microsoft Windows. Afterall, just try using Windows without Microsoft software ...
Have you ever stopped to think that the reason why some people don't do GNU/Linux because that 'Linux' is easier to type? Hell, if we're just doing it to kiss Stallman's ass, then why not type out Stallman/Linux?

PS - Glad to know I have so many fans on this site ;)

OSes for Newbies
by Quake on Mon 7th Apr 2003 21:32 UTC

New Brand-Name computer comes with Windows Pre-installed. And if something wrong happens, he can just use the recovery CD and reformat the computer as if it was new *Or follow the technical support for helping him fix the prob with the recovery CD*

The guy did the same thing for his neighbors, he pre-installed Linux as the Brand-Name Computers do and teach her how to use it.

BUT, since his neighbors are running a business and they don't know computers, problems will happen. With a Brand-Name computer, he can call the Company for support 24/24, 7/7, and everybody know windows so he can ask people for support.

Linux doesn't have that much luck. If the neighbors are having probs, and their "Support guy" isn't available, then they are out of luck since Linux isn't well-known to the public. Time is money ;)

Newbie reviews passe`
by _venom on Mon 7th Apr 2003 22:25 UTC

I have to admit that I like news rather than reviews. These newbie reviews are boring. The real newbie test is someone who hasn't ever formatted and partitioned a drive etc to install a new OS from 'ground zero'. I remember reading about the GNOME usability tests. That was interesting. Take a cross-section of users and have them all attempt the identical installation with only limited help after they attempt to figure things out on their own. That would be worth a read, but one guy installing debian for a family and teaching them how to apt-get is not a newbie test.

If I hadn't learned anything about linux before I switched over to mandrake I would have been much more frustrated trying to figure things out by trial and error. Personally I downloaded and tried installing debian on an older machine. I hated the menu driven install and after I went through all the details I would get kernel panics because of my outdated panasonic cd-rom controller. The ide driver I was using listed it as supported. Anyway, it was just alot of manual configuration. I prefer the automation of mandrake. As a programmer I'm lazy. I like to write programs to automate mundane tasks. I don't want to have to tell the OS installation program my video card chipset and ramdac clock speed.

It's just unecessary at this stage. If windows and other linuxes can autodetect hardware, then debian should at least have an option to auto-detect for those that don't want to be bothered with all the mundane details anymore.

Just my .02

Re: Darius
by Richard Fillion on Mon 7th Apr 2003 22:37 UTC

So, if you need/want to voice/video chat with Yahoo users, what good is gnomemeeting going to do you, unless it is compatible with Yahoo? The reason I ask is that I have a friend who mainly uses Linux, but keeps a Windows partition around just for this particular purpose.

What i meant was that if you want voice/video chat it's doable, but maybe not with Yahoo users. My point was mostly to show that both webcams and mics do work in linux, so really it's just a matter of time before that need is filled.

I like your GNU/Linux point, but i'll put mine here for kicks... I like saying GNU/Linux because i prefer GNU software over the Linux kernel. So i give credit for the "OS" i use partially to GNU also. I dont think its manditory for people to say GNU/Linux but i like to say it.

Install is the issue
by Harry8 on Mon 7th Apr 2003 22:40 UTC

Most newbies buy/inherit a computer with an OS already installed. Mine happened to be Mac around 1996 and win95 a year or two later.
All I wanted to do was fire up a word processor then write & print an essay, or find something on the net. Later I got into a bit of quant which sucked me in to learn a little programming.
Sooner or later you actually have to start administrating your box. Or someone has to do this for you. This is where people start to hate computers.
I reckon if Debian was pre-installed on boxes you buy. ISPs gave you the correct instructions to configure your net connection. Goodnight "Linux is too hard for newbies" -we could put that one to bed.
I found windows far from easy myself when I was getting to know computers. Although I thought I hated computers, not any particular software. My mother prefers Gnome, Mozilla & OpenOffice.org to my father's WinXP, MS Office & IE6 on the other partition of his computer. And she loves it that when he is having all sorts of trouble accessing the internet down the cable (ISP issue, I think) that she always gets straight on.
I Admin that box, so it's easy for them.
Pre-Installed Debian
Occasional Professional maitenance a la motor mechanic.
Cheap, easy, stable + 'just works' -Better solution for most than Windows? I don't know, but I don't see why not.

darius, quake
by AdamW on Mon 7th Apr 2003 22:40 UTC

Did you read the article? He didn't choose the O/S they would run for them. They chose it. At least that's how he presents it, and we have no evidence to the contrary, so don't speculate.

Quake: uh, what? Have you ever actually TRIED phoning a support line? If not, let me give you some advice in advance...don't bother. In an ideal world it would be lovely if computer companies provided amply staffed, useful, cheap support lines whose staff were happy to instruct you in using Windows. But...uh...they don't. Really. Trust me on this. Tech support will only deal with something that is actually broken, they'll only do it according to a list that's given to them because they're people who know nothing about computers who are being paid minimum wage, and they'll only do it for a ruinous amount of money after keeping you waiting for two hours while playing Greensleeves at you. If you bought a "brand name" computer then tried to call their tech support line at 10am to ask what the Control Panel does, I think your above post would be substantially revised. =)

RE Darius
by Iconoclast on Mon 7th Apr 2003 23:04 UTC

Well, I have no problem with the logic that says if they don't know computers, then one is going to be about as easy as the other. But here is the main issue:
I don't know for sure if Gnucash is a 100% drop-in replacement for the level of compatibility and functionality that these people needed Quickbooks for. And based on the comments, I'd say it is not. But if it is, then they should be ok.


GnuCash may fulfill all of their accounting desires. If not, however, it is of little consequence since there are other programs out there (like Appgen's products) which provide as much accounting power as you'll ever need. They are not free, but they do run under Linux and are reasonably priced.

But the main point is that the author obviously didn't know either

If he reads my post he'll know to check out Appgen http://www.appgen.com ;) .

And thus by doing something like that, you're basically pushing your 'political' and idealistic views (read: anti-MS sentiments) down their throat while at the same time completely ignoring whatever technical requirements that these people were looking for. "Yeah, maybe GNUcash won't work quite the way they were expecting, but their uptime will be through the roof!"

I understand what you are saying, and I completely agree with you. If a new user wanted to run Sonar or were taking a Director class in college, and thus needed to buy a computer to write Director homework on, then absolutely Linux is the wrong tool for the job. In this case, however, GnuCash is not the only game in town. There are other professional level accounting products that run under Linux that these fine people could use.

My imagination?
by Glanz on Tue 8th Apr 2003 00:16 UTC

...or are the only snivelers here Windows victims?

Pingüinista
by rafa on Tue 8th Apr 2003 00:37 UTC

Sorry to say it's not Penguinisto or Penguinista. For both male and female the right word would be Pingüinista. All the nouns ending in -ista are neuter, and defined by the article: el pingüinista, la pingüinista, el alpinista (climber), la alpinista.

Hope you liked the little spanish class. And I think it is an interesting experiment,

Debian yes, Unstable no..
by Lightspeed on Tue 8th Apr 2003 06:20 UTC

The fact that you would suggest Debian UNSTABLE to a neophyte...sheesh...

OSNews needs to start checking credentials. I find it hard to imagine any professional admin or developer would suggest this.

People who just want their computer to work need to stick with Stable. People who want to help with development (by filing bug reports or packaging software) need to use Unstable. People who feel Linux is a status symbol rather than a tool need to leave Debian alone and use Gentoo.

Whin(g)ers
by Good Grief! on Tue 8th Apr 2003 10:42 UTC

Robert Escue
I would have asked them a series of questions and tailored a "solution" around their requirements and budget. Take them to computer stores and show them Windows XP, OSX and let them tell me what they like and don't like! Notice I do not mention Linux here, these people are going to be mainstream computer users, not CompSci students.

RTFA. As mentionned by a previous poster, the 'victims' in question CHOSE Linux.

And what about the kids, what are they going to use for software. I bet when the parents go to BestBuy, CompUSA, etc. they are going to be bowled over by the amount of software for Linux.

Yeah, 'cause apt-get (or Synaptic) is -SO- hard to use. Unfortunately(?), you can use apt-get in the comfort of your own home.

PS: The only case in which I think this would be broadly valid is computer games. But by the time the kids are old enough to want mainstream computer games, they'll probably be available on Linux by then ;)

Bobthearch
Thank you for pointing out exactly what I need to clarify. It's not stone-age to have a terminal; but it is primitive to be dependent on terminal commands for common end-user functions.

Guess what, buddy: EATING FOOD is primitive too. The ramifications of this statement are left as an exercise to the reader.

Darius
And as for the guy who was in favor of GNU/Linux and if you don't put GNU/ in front of Linux, then don't use GNU software ...
Well, how about this - from now on, instead of Windows, it will be Microsoft Windows. Afterall, just try using Windows without Microsoft software ...
Have you ever stopped to think that the reason why some people don't do GNU/Linux because that 'Linux' is easier to type? Hell, if we're just doing it to kiss Stallman's ass, then why not type out Stallman/Linux?


I wish you people would STOP writing "MicroSoft" in front of Windows, as if Windows was written by Microsoft! When you install Windows (notice: no 'MS' in front!), does the Bill Gates show up and type all the commands for you?!?!?!!111??! It's pathetic how much you people insist on mentionning Microsoft with Windows, when the two have NOTHING to do with eachother! Take your loopy conspiracy theories about MicroSoft writing Windows somewhere else!

Misc

Why does everyone think that installability(tm) is the panacea of the computing experience? When someone asks you about the best car to buy, do you suggest that they learn how to weld? Installability is great, IF that is what's needed -- but such is not always the case.

Rant over. Peace out =)

nope
by BiggyP on Tue 8th Apr 2003 11:02 UTC

"Generally speaking, if you buy name brand hardware you shouldn't have a problem, problems, only accur when people try to buy el cheapo parts that are made up of 100s different chips from 10000s of different manufactureres."

that's simply not the case with things such as scanners, i have never seen one with bundled linux drivers, and they almost always need to be around for several months before anyone gets around to writing a driver for them, my dad brought a brand new HP scanner not long ago, great device, but windows only at the moment.

debian unstable
by debian_critic on Tue 8th Apr 2003 12:35 UTC

Why would anyone use something called debian unstable? Are the debian people that clueless. From what I've seen of them, the answer is yes.

Re: darius, quake
by Mark C on Tue 8th Apr 2003 13:42 UTC

> they'll only do it according to a list that's given to
> them

Not all tech support companies do that, I used to work for one years a go, and we had no sheets or anything to use, we had to use our knowledge...(which you lack it seems)

> because they're people who know nothing about computers

Pardon my language, but youre talking out of youre ass!
unless you are using youre own experiance <grin>

> who are being paid minimum wage, and they'll only do it
> for a ruinous amount of money after keeping you waiting
> for two hours while playing Greensleeves at you

Surving Linux websites actually ;)
True, most of the idiots calling tech support cannot even type their own name in in a text editor, 99% of the tech support questions are from people who really should not ever be near a computer, unless they can think for themselfs at times, but you really enjopy the ones where there are real problems and not hiow do I turn it on and I would know, but I cannot be bothered to RTFM

> If you bought a "brand name" computer then tried to call
> their tech support line at 10am to ask what the Control
> Panel does,

Have a long wait, put on hold whilst the tech laugh their ass off, then told.....the answer or RTFM ;)

True

Linux and SQL-Ledger Works for Me
by david on Tue 8th Apr 2003 13:44 UTC

My sister-in-law runs a florist business on the side. She works in the local school district's accounting department full time. She has also worked at a professional accounting firm. The school system was throwing out some computers because they had to upgrade Windows. (I don't know why the new Windows version wasn't suitable for the old hardware. I have never used Windows to any extent other than email, web browsing etc.) My sister-in-law knew I used Linux and asked if it would run on the school's rejected computers. She brought two of them home. I installed Linux and SQL-Ledger, a free accounting package. She has been amazed. She said it works very similar to the professional package she uses at work and never "locks up". She's been using SQL-Ledger for at least two years and is still perfectly happy with it. I maintain it and keep it upgraded to the latest version, all for free. We haven't spent a dime yet. Nor has there been any downtime. I would definately recommend this combination based oun our experience. (www.sql-ledger.org)

Set up a apt-get update/upgrade cron job for them
by Confessed Geek on Tue 8th Apr 2003 14:13 UTC

I do have one suggestion for making life easier for these people. Use stable or testing and put an apt-get update and apt-get upgrade cron job in for them that automagicly updates their system nightly.

The extra goodies in unstable are nice, but I wouldn't put folks with no idea how to fix things if they break on stable.
For the cron job, they arn't going to be watching security lists on a daily basis so I think it would be much easier for them to just have it update on its own.

You did firewall these good folks right?

Just a thought over this article...
by Todd on Tue 8th Apr 2003 15:01 UTC

This man was doing something good from his heart. He tried to give these people choices to choose from. This is a good thing because it empowered them. He then narrowed it down to a distro that was easily upgradeable. Now I would not have chosen unstable either. But he obviously has confidence in it to do so. I would think he spoke to them of whats not gonna work and what will work too.

This leads me to the title of this article. It should of been about an introduction to these people nothing more. I think the title was missing leading because I also expected some techniques from his experience in the case scenerio. But it turned out to be a story of a family getting into computing for the first time.

Finally, this is a negative setup to him regardless. This family is green all over. So he will be getting calls or knocks on his door when something isn't right. It may not be necessarily a computer issue. It will turn out to be more of a user issue. I personally have been in this position with neighbors asking for tech support when I get involved with their computing needs. So hopefully he is confident enough in his setup for them that they will be fine. The only thing that would concern me alot is backups for this computer. When your dealing with a livelyhood of this nature I hope he has a plan for them. Otherwise this article was just a story with no technical merit.

re: Bobthearch
by dwilson on Tue 8th Apr 2003 16:03 UTC

The problem lies with my memorization skills, not my knowledge! Can you think of a good reason for *not* creating a GUI for the updating tool?

No, and neither could anyone else... so someone did. It is called synaptic.

As to the wireless mouse, I was making the point that without a mouse you would probably be in a heap of trouble. I am not saying everyone should learn to work without one, but that criticizing a keyboard based approach is laughable as it is faster and more efficient than using a mouse for everything.

As to the frequency of updates. Well, from my experience with gentoo, I would say if she used the update command once a week, most of the time she would get several updates. Once a week is probably what I would reccomend for her.

To The People Compalining
by dwilson on Tue 8th Apr 2003 16:08 UTC

To all of those saying him installing linux on their machine is ridiculous, you may want to read the article better. She REQUESTED linux. He explained to her the strengths and weaknesses of both linux and Windows. She was trying to make a decision and she met someone else who raved about how great linux was, and she chose linux.

Now regardless of your feelings about any OS, I would have to say it would be just plain stupid to install Windows on someone's computer whent hey specifically requested linux.

body thetans
by 1ccfGcs on Tue 8th Apr 2003 18:36 UTC

I just want to say that I feel the quality of the articles has improved in the past day or so...

Why unstable tho?
by Anonymous on Tue 8th Apr 2003 21:24 UTC

Great story, but why unstable? Its going to sour them on linux the momet the next libc bug fries their system. I've used unstable for years, but I'm not a newbie. Testing would have been a better choice. Stable with a couple extra apt sources would have been better.

You're aware that while security fixes are released in a timely manner for stable, there is NO guarentee that they happen in unstable.

My only disagreement with this article is the choice to inflict unstable on a newbie.

Yahoo messanger
by Joel on Tue 8th Apr 2003 23:34 UTC

"So, if you need/want to voice/video chat with Yahoo users, what good is gnomemeeting going to do you, unless it is compatible with Yahoo? The reason I ask is that I have a friend who mainly uses Linux, but keeps a Windows partition around just for this particular purpose."

KOPETE allows you to chat with yahoo, msn, icq, irc and others all within one program, bloody brilliant, only similar windows program I have seen is trillion, which I don't think is as good and most people I have known to use it, find trillion to be very unstable!

Do some searching on google before saying something can't be done please!

Kopete's support list
by Joel on Tue 8th Apr 2003 23:37 UTC

Kopete is a big project supporting already messaging protocols like Jabber, ICQ, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, IRC, Windows LANs, GaduGadu, IRC and SMS.

Yahoo messanger
by Joel on Tue 8th Apr 2003 23:41 UTC

Ohh look, yahoo even have an official client for *nix

http://messenger.yahoo.com/messenger/download/unix.html

amazing what google can find ;)

nothing new
by micha on Wed 9th Apr 2003 15:56 UTC

nice article. I installed debian (first woody, then unstable :-) linux here for 3 of my neighbours. they work every day with it, we share one DSL line.
when I worked in a social office here in Berlin, I saw one assistand installing (SuSE)linux for a few colleagues of him. He wanted to spare licence fees....
The examples grow where computer beginners start with linux or other non-windows (windowish, though) and feel comfortable with it and the every-day work.

Really great way...
by Vlado Jokic on Wed 9th Apr 2003 19:10 UTC

I've just read the article and I have to say that this was one happy trip ;) I just hope that the family will stick to Linux and not give into the "WinXP runs my games better" hype, so just make sure the kids are kept away from any gaming influence! I've lost many Linux converts because they couldn't live without games and all that crap. I personally use my machine for software development so I have no real temptation to do anything else. My Libranet 2.0 upgraded to sid does it's job better then I could have dreamed a couple years ago. Let's see what happens in the next installment shall we? ;)

this is great entertainment
by max barwell on Thu 10th Apr 2003 12:49 UTC

I read this article as i sat at my box late at night, for something light to read and thought not much of it. But i gotta say the comments made about it are hilarious, i cant believe how excited/angry/sad/happy this guys article has made some of you, i especially liked the piss take about installing gentoo, maybe some of you should become writers. and in response to the post about what posts generate the most traffic, maybe people just come here for the entertainment value as i seem to do recently.

keep up the good work guys, max

Debian's handling of security updates.
by anon on Sun 13th Apr 2003 12:00 UTC

Since all new packages go straight into unstable, you get your security updates fine. It's testing that's the problem: packages only go into testing after having been in unstable for normally about ten days and 1) not had any "this breaks my system" type bugs filed against it, 2) all the dependencies are also in a non-broken state, so when libc was holding things up, all new packages (including security fixes) weren't going into testing.

Personally, I would have recommended woody + backports from apt-get.org.

If her data is so important where is the root raid???
by Linux User 12 on Mon 14th Apr 2003 07:18 UTC

One of the things that struck me reading this article was how Diane was so very worried about her data but all the was offered in response was multi-users.

That is all fine and dandy, until that 1 year warranty drive dies and she looses all her important info.

Why not spring for two drives and run root raid??

Quick questio, you chose debian...Does debian even support root raid on install? I know other distros do.

Raid is not just for servers any more...

root raid? Maybe just backup habits...
by Shawn on Mon 14th Apr 2003 19:02 UTC

In the author's defense, I think the lady's concern was meddling. If suzy (name I just assigned kid #1) decided to highlight everything in a nautilus window, and drag it to the trashcan -- then empty...

I dont' run raid on my desktop...

I think the safest method would be to allow (and train) to do a backup that can be stored off-site. I find -- believe it or not -- ZIP drives to actually be good for this. A good rsync script, with 5 ZIP disks in rotation will backup a home directory quite nicely.

I must admit I want to try raid in my desktop, but I'm not sure Diane should. ;)

-Shawn