An Ubuntu 7.10 Linux desktop, modified for a 71-year old grandparent.
What if you gave Ubuntu Linux to your 71 year-old Father-in-law?
This entry was posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2007 at 4:39 pm and is filed under Links, Media, Open Source, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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My father in law is 68, and my own father is 70. They’re both actually quite capable of using computers and software applications. While I think they would have a bit of difficulty adjusting, they could both probably handle it. That being said, it’s important to note that they are both in industries that require the regular use of computers and would not be able to get along without them.
As an enthusiastic ubuntu user, I’ve recently installed Gutsy on my 50-year old mother’s computer. Both she and my 55-year old stepfather are able to use it with little difficulty, despite their being computer illiterate.
I know of at least two 60+ non-technical users of Ubuntu. They don’t seem to love it or hate it…it is just an appliance to them.
my son installed ubuntu onto my computer-
i am w/f/61 and don’t have any problems using it
As a follow up to the article, it is totally unnecessary to use Automatic in the new 7.10 version of Ubuntu. Multi-media codecs and proprietary video card drivers are automatically installed if you choose to enable the proprietary option when you first install the OS. For example, Ubuntu prompted me automatically if I wanted to use the NVIDIA driver to enable extra Compiz effects, and when I tried to watch an .wmv file, it automatically prompted me if I wanted to download the appropriate codecs.
Feedback from Mom… She mentioned that she was unable to load the website for her real estate listings on Dad’s computer. I recalled that it required Internet Explorer, and that Jason mentioned in his article that it was a fake internet explorer she was trying to use, so I explained the cover up to her! Any chance it can be set up so other website’s think it is IE?
Rachel, what you need is Internet Explorer tab: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419
Click on install to install it. When your mom needs to use IE, right click on the tab, and select “switch rendering engine”
Going one step even further, I’ve seen up the Xubuntu variant of Linux (it has lower CPU and memory requirements and uses a scaled down desktop interface called XFCE) on a REALLY old Macintosh–one of those ancient G3-based iMacs shaped like a computer monitor with a slot for the CD). Why, you might ask? Basically because I can. And because you can load a fairly up-to-date version of Mozilla Firefox on it and make an ancient computer somewhat compatible with the modern web (and yes, it browses fast enough to be quite usable). The downside is that Adobe, developers of Macromedia Flash (which is used by a lot of websites), refuses to develop a compatible Flash player, although there is a lesser functioning clone of Flash made by hacker types out there which runs SOME of those “lost sites”. The net result is a PC/web browser combo which can browse most useful sites–Gmail, Yahoo Mail, eBay, and about 95% of everything else that doesn’t require streaming video.
OpenOffice (the open source MS Office compatible suite everyone uses on Linux, and most other well known Linux apps work just fine on this converted old Macintosh.
In the past I’ve also taken ancient PC-compatible laptops (stuff with old Celeron processors and 256Mb of RAM or about that neighborhood) and done the same thing (except on those, even the newest versions of Flash work). Linux is damn useful for recycling old computers.
Our mutual pal Jason has an old X-Box of mine he took off my hands a few years back sitting in his basement. If he didn’t toss it after his last basement flood, I’ve been waiting for him to take my dare to put Linux on it. Its actually been done quite successfully by a number of people, to make a cool TV-set accessible web browsing solution. The only complication is on many X-Boxes you need to open them up and sodder on some kind of extra microchip.
Correction to the above rant (what can I say? Its way past my bedtime). I meant to say “I’ve set up the Xubuntu variant of Linux”. Not “seen”. Although since I set it up successfully, I guess “seen” had to happen eventually too, right?
Good post and a exceptional read. You have raised some valid points. Great work, keep it up.
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