Talkback for article: 306, September2003

Linux on the desktop: A computer for Mom

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From: Gregor Waluga [ date: 2003-09-04 ]

good article! I can support your cunclusion! I installed a KDE desktop on my sister's machine and she loves that! Some programs she could miss, I simply emulated in wine. Now she is happy, with her PC. Windows? What for!? ;-)
And the best fact: She cannot destroy the machine!!!!
OK, someone has to administer this, because for her it is a little bit difiicult...

Linux' concept is very cool.

From: clasqm <clasqm(at)> [ date: 2003-09-04 ]
If your mom is anything like mine, the thing that will "hook" her on computers for life will not be a word processor or web browser but Solitaire!

Go ahead, install pysol and let us know what happens. <g>

From: Guilhem BONNEFILLE <guilhem.bonnefille(at)> [ date: 2003-09-08 ]
I can also support the conclusion.

In my case, the computer is share between my mother and my brother. The great functionnalities are:
- a better slow hardware management,
- the lack of viruses,
- the transparent mail fetching for all users (fetchmail is great).

But I encounter a problem with the last point. The F.A.Q. is: "how can I decided all mails are fetched? There is no progress bar."

So, if anyone have an "end-user" solution (like a little GTK appli), please e-mail me.
From: cyprien [ date: 2003-09-11 ]
"If Mom would tell me the IP address of her computer then I could remotely log in and configure things or install software."
you can use a dynamic dns like to avoid it... and put a small script like addns :
From: observer367 [ date: 2003-09-15 ]
Good article.
The comment about double-click is something that the whole computer industry should have learned 20 years ago. The only reason we have been stuck with this mistake for so long is that Apple made it, and of course, everybody "knows" that Apple's user interface is the best.
From: Wulf Forrester-Barker [ date: 2003-09-24 ]
A very good example of what can be done - the only limiting factor is having a competent system administrator to hand and, to an extent, having a recipient of the service who doesn't expect to be able to go and buy lots of new programs to kludge up the machine!


From: Christoph Fritz [ date: 2003-09-29 ]
Great Article!
I configured a really easy desktop with icewm. No taskbar, no minimize...
The only thing is a list of programs the user can start. It's directly configured for the secial needs.
The Computer isn't the fastest, so I think about installing Firebird.

From: guardian <weenta(at)> [ date: 2003-10-22 ]
As much as I prefer Linux (and that's shy I set my mom up on it as well :), saying it couldn't be done with windows is not correct. It could have easily been done with policies (which is what I did on my mom's old pc).
From: Craig [ date: 2003-12-07 ]
Very good artical, I use linux and have helped a few non-computer savvy people with linux. It is true, a simple system is better for people that do not need all the overhead of a complex system, the lack of viruses is also great. True multiple acounts on linux also ensures files don't go missing due to 'mom' deleting c:/windows/ by mistake..

Keep up the work of writing good articals.

Thanks. :)
From: But the article is written in german ... [ date: 2004-01-19 ]
Excellent article. It nearly made me cry. You're an admin who cares.
AFAIK it is not possible to build similar functionality on a windows-box.
From: Bob Lee <x.generalx2(at)> [ date: 2004-07-20 ]
Regarding the double mouse click:since W95 there has been a simple change available to switch to a single mouse click. I have set the single click in W95, W98 & WXP. This change can be made by selecting "folder options" from my computer in the "view" drop down menu or in WXP from the tools menu. Why double click when a single click can allow you to single click. Linux distros also have the single click ability.

For those wheel mouse users running Mozilla 1.6 or later under the advance section of the browser preferences the are 4 settings that allow the use of the alt and control keys to move page up page down, move back or forward in the browser history or to even change the size of type, larger or smaller.

Happy clicking to all.

From: eddy ramires <eddy(at)> [ date: 2005-01-12 ]
From: Hannes [ date: 2005-04-20 ]
very good article, i will show this to some windows-lovers. Yeah, I searched something like this to explain that linux is more difficult to set up but easier to use if you have a good system administrater (who I ain't..)
so, thank you!
From: chlomoh <chlomohbenyitshaq(at)> [ date: 2006-06-21 ]
je voudrais acheter mon premier ordinateur sous linux.
je ne sais pas ou trouver cette perle rare.
From: Ryszard <rkonopin(at)> [ date: 2006-10-06 ]
I'm working on an identical problem with my mum. After reading this article I have realized that, really, that many of her problems start from the double-click! I'm somehow forced to use the Windows enviroment (she already has a little bit of experience with it and I don't have too much of experience with administrating Linux).
I think the good idea is to automatically e-mail the IP of her computer to me when her Windows starts. >Blat< does the job perfectly. And I believe it is easily achievable on Linux, too.
Managing her desktop and remotely opening programs on her computer is not as difficult. I'm using VNC or PCAnywhere.
And don't forget to create the system of restoring everything (just in case of a mess) from the system partition image (Ghost, Partition Image etc)!

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