[kwlug-disc] Desktop linux for Gramps

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Dec 3 13:39:40 EST 2009

Agreed. (Ubuntu/Kubuntu)

Glenn, you have written a number of times about your problems with 
Mandriva, which seem to mostly surround availability, end of life, 
less (free) support than for other distros, cost, and other things. 
Don't perpetuate and extend your aggravation. "Come to the light!"

My take on KDE / Gnome is KDE provides menus wherein you see what 
software is present (what you can do) and you pick which way you'd 
like to do it at that moment. Gnome shows you what you wanted the 
computer to do for you (rather than every possible thing you could do) 
and lets you pick which activity you want to do at that moment. i.e. 
Smaller menus mean less intimidation. [That's way simplistic, but 
seems to be a way of characterizing things. Each is, of course, 
equally capable. Just presented differently.] So, I'm a KDE fan, but 
your Mother and sister may well prefer Gnome.

Heck, grab a live cd of both ubuntu and kubuntu and show it to them. 
See what they think.

Once installed, I suspect the distro will matter much less than the 
apps used, which will likely be the same regardless of the distro you 
use. e.g. Firefox and kmail/evolution.

The buntu's, being very popular, probably have as good hardware and 
software support, and so are current, than most. And being one step 
removed from Debian, mean that there tends to be fewer and more 
refined choices of any particular functional point.

I would suggest a small laptop. The computer may be regarded much like 
any other appliance, like a VCR. Icky wires and umpteen pieces 
(monitor, keyboard, mouse, computer, etc.) can be a barrier. If you 
can, have them try mousing first - touchpads, mice, etc., can take 
some getting used to. Depending upon hand mobility, a writing pad 
or thumb ball 
may be preferred.

Give them a way to deal with photos. Even if only that your sister can 
post to flickr and your Mother can view them there. Or something. Make 
sure they can do their online banking. Show them wikipedia. And set 
them up with a skype equivalent. (Let them discover, keep contact 
with, and interact, with friends.) If they haver interests 
(gardening?), show them how they can pursue those interests. i.e. Get 

And, most importantly, make sure you can remotely access their 
desktops so you can support them. If they lose interest, or can't 
figure things out, you don't want your efforts to be relegated to a 
corner, gathering dust. (Which is what happened with my mother, but 
that had more to do with mousing causing her hand to ache too much to 
be worth it to her.]

Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 12/03/2009 12:49 PM:
> Ubuntu (or Kubuntu if you are a KDE person) fits the bill here.
> I can't remember if Firefox is installed by default or not, but it is 
> easily installed from the repos. Browse to Youtube, and it will prompt 
> you to install Flash.
> If you go the KDE route, then you can use Kopete for instant messaging.
> Open Office is included.
> For mail, it depends on what they are used to. If they want to use 
> Hotmail/Yahoo Mail/Gmail, then the browser will suffice. Otherwise, 
> there is Kmail which is a very good mail client.
> On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 10:50 AM, Insurance Squared Inc. 
> <gcooke at insurancesquared.com <mailto:gcooke at insurancesquared.com>> wrote:
>     I'm starting to build a desktop machine for my mother, followed
>     shortly by one for my sister.  Neither are computer literate, this
>     is an email/web home machine basically.
>     Any thoughts on how to build this machine? i.e. I would naturally
>     install Mandriva with KDE because that's what I'm used to.  Any push
>     to another distro or desktop?  Any must have apps other than what's
>     typically installed with a regular distro?

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