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Re: [vox] The Easiest Distro?
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Re: [vox] The Easiest Distro?



On Sat, 30 Mar 2002, Richard S. Crawford wrote:

> I don't want to start any sort of battle here, but...
>
> I am considering putting together a proposal to set up some local
> charity groups with Linux computers (because Linux is cheap, reliable,
> and runs on cheaper computers).  While I'm most familiar with Red Hat,
> what would be the best distribution to set up in an environment of
> non-techies?  What productivity applications would you set up for them,
> and so on?  I figure Linux is computing for the people, but the people
> still need to be able to use the system.
>
>

I recently set my parents up with Debian. With 3900+ packages readily
available, it makes giving them lots and lots of options for software
pretty nice. This was a blessing in my case, since my mom wanted to
try out different browsers/editors/etc until she found a set that was
close to what she was accustomed to under windows.

One of my biggest concerns was being able to easily fix and install things
remotely, but also I wanted something that would be pretty stable, since
neither of my folks are familiar with linux.

So far so good, I ssh in every now and then and apt-get new software as it
comes to mind. I have cron email me some stats on the box once a day, just in
case something goes wrong.

It was pretty simple to install, but I'm pretty comfortable with the Debian
installer, and I'm a big fan of net installs. Actually, since my folks have
DSL with PPPoE I had to do a base install from floppies, then setup ppp and
finish retrieving the rest of the packages. It wasn't complicated, but it is
definetly something that might scare a RH user away ;)

My experience with different distros has led me to believe that RH/Mandrake is
usually the most user friendly to install and get a GUI system working with,
but Debian is much more suited for a set-and-forget system, mostly because
of the great package management and ongoing updates from hundreds of
maintainers and developers. Usually with RH it's better to install a newer
version from scratch than it is to try and upgrade RPMs.

Anyway, this is what my mom leaned towards after a couple days of use:

Mozilla for browsing, Ximian Evolution for email, KWord for word processing
(it integrates with Aspell a bit nicer than Abiword, and my mom needs the
Portuguese dictionaries that Aspell provides), Licq for instant messaging,
KDE as the desktop/window manager, xmms for mp3/cdaudio, gmix, GIMP (even
thought she's complained throughly about how difficult it is to use, she's
a Photoshop person), bluefish for HTML (also complained about it not being
on par with windows html editors [homesite in particular]), and gnomemeeting
for H.323 (her USB webcam was supported by the ov511 driver).

hope this helps,
-Gabe

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