Need help choosing configuration

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Thread: Need help choosing configuration

  1. #1
    Hi mom!
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Question Need help choosing configuration

    This was asked on one of my favourite IRC-channels today. What would you suggest?

    I need to get my mom a new computer. Sounds easy enough, but there's two issues... my mom is handicapped and not very mobile, and she needs

    a) email
    b) word processing
    c) web browsing

    in a simple interface without virusses and other meta-problems. So far, she's been using Windows 98, which is totally dissatisfying in this respect. The first problem can be solved by getting her a laptop with wireless ethernet so she doesn't always have to go up the stairs to the computer. The second would be solved by getting her either a carefully setup Linux which I would be more than happy to maintain, or OS X. My mom has indicated to be quite OK with Linux, as long as she doesn't have to administrate it. She seems comfortable with simple GTK mailers, Mozilla (which she already uses in Windows) and On OS X I would be able to provide her with Microsoft Office v. X. The thing is, if I used Linux, I'd have to set up, which would require a very hefty laptop, and we're trying to limit the costs. The other solution, which would probably be an iBook, is expensive as well, Especially since you can't use all the cheap wifi cards with OS X. Another option would be to get a really cheap laptop (the oldest I could find that would play nice with a wireless ethernet card) and use it to do remote X to the desktop upstairs (a Duron 700 with 256 MB of memory) However, that would suck again, as my brother would rebel against removing his Windows.

    What do I do?
    A) Linux on second-hand PII-class laptop
    B) OS X on iBook
    C) Remote X on a PI-class laptop (11 mbit is enough to do remote X)
    I wish to express my gratitude to the people of Italy. Thank you for inventing pizza.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    If the issue about going Linux is only with the whole, why not install a windows simulator and install Office? I haven't played with any windows simulators but they don't suck up that much resource, do they? Just my two cents I guess...

  3. #3
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Flint, MI
    Windows emulators suck, unless you have a lot of ram....

    Openoffice is pretty cool. Thats what I use for both linux and windows. I don't think that is the question.

    I would say the second hand laptop with linux is probably the best idea for their situation. Remote X is ok, but like you said, the one kid likes his windows,so... There are X servers for windows, but very expensive. Getting an ibook with OS X would also be quite expensive. My OpenOffice only takes 192 MB after install, and it uses less resources then MS office, especially under an emulator.... Also, there are things like Ximan Desktop/Evolution, Kate, Paint, KOffice, etc which you could use instead of OpenOffice, unless you need the ability to read work/excel/etc files....
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
    -- souleman

  4. #4
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I guess the top question on my list is "How comfortable is your mom with Linux?" For most of my family members who do not have the same passion for computers that I do, I would recommend a Mac. Fewest questions for setup/installation of software, you avoid the virus issue, rock stable hardware, compatible (with software) with 90% of everything out there, and I would think that Mac has quite a few tools for people physically challenged (not 100% sure about that one). Everything she wants to do (email/web surfing/word processing) is available for the Mac. You may not even need to go as top-line as an iBook. Perhaps just a not-quite-new powerbook from eBay might be your best bet?

    I know it may be hard for a Linux die-hard to accept the Mac as a member of the family ( ), but sometimes the best tool for the job is the most foreign one in the box.
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  5. #5
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Linux on the second hand laptop. Inexpensive, and it gives you everything you need.

    Seems to be a no-brainer. And like souleman said you can always use KOffice instead.
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Im saying a user friendly distro on a cheap second hand lappy. Use KDE as the desktop and modify the settings so it acts just like windows. ie Double click to open (if that is how her old windows box was set). loads fast. Or if you dont like it you are sure to be able to get equivalents for each type of MS one ie AbiWord for word. Gnumeric for spreadsheets etc etc

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    windows emulaters doesn't suck... Wine and the WineX project are very good.. it just takes a lot of work making it all work properly... but there are some tutorials available on the net.
    but for such simple needs I would bother installing linux... windows is still more usefriendly. I would choose windows simply to make the job as easy as possible (if u want security u need linux of course )
    \"Software is like sex: it\'s better when it\'s free.\" -Linus Torvalds

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