Ubuntu for mother in law = yay!

As I wrote in previous post, my personal experience trying to use ubuntu as a php development box was very brief!

However, i was impressed by the GUI side of things in Xubuntu (ubuntu but with the lightweight xfce desktop), and when my mother in law’s (really!) laptop blew up – I took the opprtunity to spread the ubuntu/linux buzz up a generation! :)

My own windows desktop workstation (yes I use windows for my PHP programming – of course the PHP /apache side runs on linux!!) got a weird hardware problem, something to do with USB, and Windows kept rebooting itself, but linux boot cds worked fine… So I thought, oh well, if I cant really use this myself, why not chuck linux on it and give it away!

Mother-in-law literally just writes email and browses the web (maybe writing a few google docs) so i think linux gui is perfect for her….

So… after a fairly easy install…. viola! My crappy old desktop is reborn as a super simple NET PC!!! She loves it!

Hooray for linux, hooray for Xubuntu – rescuing obsolete hardware worldwide! :)

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  1. Over the last few months of 2009, my mother in law’s Windblow$ became slower, things stopped working, until, just before Christmas, it no longer booted at all. There was good news, bad news and more good news. The good news is that I had been thinking for a while to install Linux on her PC to give her a more secure, stabler environment. The bad news is that we live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, the other good news is that there was an ancient Madrake partition present.

    So over Christmas, I had her boot Linux, I logged in remotely and upgraded her ancient version of Mandrake to a much more recent edition of Mandriva. I copied her Documents directory to her home directory (the Windblow$ partition was at least in part intact), installed OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin and Skype and she can use her PC just as before. Moreover, as sometimes happens with not-too-confident computer users, if she screws something up, it is firstly limited to her user account and doesn’t affect the operating system (Linux doesn’t allow normal users to screw up the OS), and secondly, I can log in and fix it. A nice example is that she recently managed to change the audio settings in Skype so that her microphone didn’t work anymore; nothing that can’t be ‘fixed’ in 5 minutes in this case, but dread the idea to do it in Windblow$.

    Thank you Linux and open-source software!

  2. Great story! Yeah there’s nothing like being able to ssh into a box remotely to fix it. No need to leave my comfortable coding cave ;)

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