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Ubuntu: Mom Loves it! December 17, 2006

Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.
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A lot of moms (and dads) fall prey to the “Your computer is too old – buy a new one!” scam. First a little explanation as to how the scam develops:

  1. Mom buys new computer
  2. Computer comes with “Free” AOL/NetZero/random ISP account, as well as loads of unwanted software
  3. A month later, the “free” antivirus’ license has expired, so has the “free” firewall’s license
  4. Mom uses computer for 6 months, so do an increasing number of trojans, spyware and adware
  5. Mom finds computer too slow
  6. A visit to the local electronics/computer store is planned
  7. Computer “diagnosed” at $60 per hour
  8. Diagnosis: Computer too old, buy a new one, OR, we can fix it for you in 4 hours (and it will cost $240)
  9. Mom buys new computer
  10. Computers-at-home+=1
  11. GOTO 1

So mom ends up with more than one computer, none of which are “fast” or maybe none of which work reliably and reasonably. What is the fix? Use Ubuntu!

That’s what I learnt from the post at Shooting the Kids(relax, it is about photography) about how his Mom loves Ubuntu.

My mom now owns 3 laptops and two desktops (one I’ve been using for a couple of years) – none of which are older than 5 years. Sound like your parents?…Tired of this trend, I decided to install Ubuntu on my mom’s new laptop…My mom’s become an evangelist to some of her friends. She told me that last week she and her lifelong friend had been on the phone talking about how they love their new Ubuntu systems and comparing cool features they’ve discovered. I think it’s fair to say that Linux has come home.

I admit the guy had to step in to help the wireless card along for one Laptop, but that is not so bad – every once in a while I get calls from people I know asking for help with getting something-or-the-other working in Windows XP! So I think, yes, it is fair to say Ubuntu is coming home.

Comments»

1. aysiu - December 17, 2006

I don’t think the problem is unique to moms–it seems to be almost universal among Windows users. The New York Times did an article about it last year. Windows users can’t even be bothered to do a reinstall or use the restore discs that came with their PCs. A lot of them just buy new computers.

And, hey, let’s face it, after a few years, 128 MB of RAM or 256 MB of RAM isn’t enough to run all the latest programs in Windows. I can’t figure out, for the life of me, how to configure LiteStep, but IceWM on Ubuntu was easy to suss out.

2. SilentDis - December 17, 2006

My mother was also using a rather outdated machine (W98, 32MB RAM, P233 or so, I think). I went to a used computer store to find her something a little more powerful for Christmas.

I located a decent little used office machine (P3 550, 384MB RAM, 8GB drive). I asked the price, and was quoted $200. I stared at the shop owner quizzically over the price, it simply wasn’t worth that. He, of course, was passing along a legal WinME licence with it, and that was most of the cost of the machine.

I asked him if he would keep the MS licence, and drop the price. I picked the machine up for a very affordable $75, and of course put Ubuntu 6.10 on it. It runs like a champ, and while I can’t put beryl on it yet (integrated vid card, I’ll grab a cheapo PCI nVidia card for her sometime), everything just plain worked immediately.

I am the impatient type, so I gave it to her early. She’s had it for the past 2 weeks, and she LOVES it. She’s always commenting on how much easier it is to use, and how the machine is so much faster than the old one.

On top of that, I, of course, setup SSH on the box right away, and handle all administrative tasks remotely for her. I simply check-in on the computer once a week or so, just to make sure nothing odd has shown up in the logs, and apt-get the latest updates. She hasn’t reported a single crash, or something not working the way she wanted it to. The few apps she’s wanted (a CD ripper, of all things) were in the package list, and handled over the phone.

Overall, I’d have to say that Linux, in general, has finally ‘come of age’ and is desktop ready for the most basic of users. It simply works, and is rock stable. Ubuntu, in particular, is simply the easiest system I’ve ever used personally, the Debian package system and awesome support community being it’s main selling points.

3. Onkar Joshi - December 18, 2006

Nice to see Ubuntu work at ‘home’.

I have plans to enforce a switchover at my place too soon.

Hail Ubuntu ! Hail GNU/Linux !

4. William T. Foxtrot - December 18, 2006

Not a mother story, but I’m trying to get a couple of my friends to give Ubuntu a try. They’ve got a PC that’s overrun with spyware, adware, etc. and they’re giving up on it and trying to find a used computer on Craigslist. I know that Ubuntu would be perfect for them — all they want is a computer to browse the internet, download a little music, and write documents. All of which Ubuntu (or any GNU/Linux distribution for that matter) can handle easily. They’re afraid though. They think Linux means having to learn a programming language or something. Any tips on how to convince them to try it?

5. myjoomla - December 18, 2006

William… I guess the best way to convince them is to show them how simply Ubuntu works.

6. byroniac - December 18, 2006

I am visiting my aunt’s currently and I don’t particularly care for Windows (though I use it out of necessity at times). Solution? Ubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 Live CD… it is truly wonderful. It allows me to avoid Windows, and her to avoid Linux (she is not ready for that much enlightenment yet-LOL!). I’m actually a Fedora Core 6 desktop user at home, but the Ubuntu Live CDs are incredible. Thumbs up for Linux! Go, Penguin, Go!

7. Prashanth - December 18, 2006

wonderful mite.. but still there are some problems that linux or better say the open source family irrespctive of platform has to take care when coming to Office Systems.. OO.org doesnt fully integrate with MS Office yet.. as the formats are actually reverse engineered..
And MS with its adamancy of not supporting free or open standards.. will rule just by this point as most home users dont really do more than Office Work or casual net browsing..

8. Byron Smith - December 18, 2006

Prashanth: you are so right. Unfortunately, I for one have no answers. And I’m almost completely convinced there are no easy answers for the problems faced by open-source proponents (especially in light of legal obstacles and such concerning things like digital rights management). I’ve not kept up with the latest news on the topics, though. Although, MS is advocating a technically open standard in the form of the XML behind the new MS Word document format, the documentation provided is extremely lengthy (and therefore difficult to implement, and perhaps that’s the intention). Though I must admit I’m not entirely fair and objective in these matters, I don’t want to be an MS basher simply for the sake of being an MS basher when I state that my personal desire is to see the competing OO standard win out (they deserve to win, in my opinion, and it would be wonderful if MS had to stand up and take notice).

9. Onkar Joshi - December 18, 2006

Prashanth, Byron,

With MS muscle behind the the Open XML format adopted for Office 2007 and beyond, it is probably going to have more end users than Open Document Format adopted by OO.org.

I read somewhere that the spec docs for Open XML are around 6400 pages while ODF weighs in at around 900 pages.

Pity that MS doesn’t want to go for ODF which might have been wonderful. But then like I wrote a bit on my post here ( http://onkarjoshi.wordpress.com/2006/09/17/microsoft-monopoly/ ), more competition is better for the end user as both teams will need to keep moving to stay on top.

10. #define __JA__ » Blog Archives » American shopper - December 19, 2006

[...] Z zaciekawieniem przeczytałem ten post opisujący sukcesy z przełamywaniem lodów Linuksa przez — jak dziwacznie by to nie brzmiało — zwykłych użytkowników. [...]

11. RIVE - December 20, 2006

Yes, my mom uses ubuntu since about 1 1/2 years ago, I was tired from “repairing” hers computer from virus and spyware so I grabed the Hoary cd and installed in the machine and now shes happy with his computer.

She don’t know what is Linux and don’t care, she just wants to make her job with the machine.

12. Andy Hadfield - December 21, 2006

interesitng point. we’ve actually just made a point about the potential of using ubuntu (quick, easy, low spec required) to network hospitals together in SA – they’re all using windows machines – which simply don’t cope. Under MineSweeper stress it seems. Great blog btw! Linked to our Ubuntu Hospital post on my name if anyone interested…

13. Paul - December 21, 2006

that is a great story.

You would almost think all this stuff, the AOL, the “free” antivirus and firewall software that expires after 6 months, if you’re luck is a conspiracy to make people buy “new, faster” computers after a number of months. Certainly most of the problems with computers is the garbage that comes along and infects computers.

The answer is simple, Linux. I’m impressed how great Ubuntu is and I’m planning on installing Ubuntu on my wife’s laptop when she gets it back. My daughter, who is using it right now at university, complains how slow it is. Of course, she’s put Limewire on it, which is like a welcome mat for Virii and malware. When I get it back it’s Ubuntu, just like my laptop.

14. Mert - January 6, 2007

“My mom now owns 3 laptops and two desktops”
Are not they being too crowded at home? Send one of them to me! ;)

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EvoPro™ includes these alpha and beta micellar caseins, Alpha-Lactalbumin, Purified Bovine Colostrum Extract (rich in Secrotory IgA and IGF-1),…

16. sikiş izle - September 26, 2010

With MS muscle behind the the Open XML format adopted for Office 2007 and beyond, it is probably going to have more end users than Open Document Format adopted by OO.org.

17. antalya ilaçlama - September 27, 2010

I am visiting my aunt’s currently and I don’t particularly care for Windows (though I use it out of necessity at times). Solution? Ubuntu Edgy Eft 6.10 Live CD… it is truly wonderful. It allows me to avoid Windows, and her to avoid Linux (she is not ready for that much enlightenment yet-LOL!). I’m actually a Fedora Core 6 desktop user at home, but the Ubuntu Live CDs are incredible. Thumbs up for Linux! Go, Penguin, Go!

18. porno sikiş - September 27, 2010

I asked him if he would keep the MS licence, and drop the price. I picked the machine up for a very affordable $75, and of course put Ubuntu 6.10 on it. It runs like a champ, and while I can’t put beryl on it yet (integrated vid card, I’ll grab a cheapo PCI nVidia card for her sometime), everything just plain worked immediately.

19. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

I am the impatient type, so I gave it to her early. She’s had it for the past 2 weeks, and she LOVES it. She’s always commenting on how much easier it is to use, and how the machine is so much faster than the old one.

20. arkadaş - August 6, 2011

süper payşım teşekkürler


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