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Re: My first service call

ray wrote:
On Sat, 09 May 2009 10:22:18 -0700, nessuno@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

About a month ago I set up a 91-year old great-grandmother with Ubuntu
Linux.  She lives in a retirement center.  I chose 8.04 for its long-
term support.  She had been using an old version of Windows on dialup,
and wanted to switch to broadband.  Since the old Windows would be
compromised in a second on a high speed connection and since I didn't
want to deal with antivirus software etc, the choice was either Linux or
Mac.  And since she is on a limited budget, the choice was Linux. Her
old computer was too old even for Linux, at least with standard GUIs
etc, so I bought a second-hand Dell, about 3 years old, for $150, which
came with Windows XP which I wiped.  She already had a LCD monitor, a
1400x900 model from Envision, so I just reused that.  I set it up to
automatically boot into her account, but gave myself an account open to
ssh so I could access it remotely in case I need to. I denied all other
accounts ssh access, including hers, which has a trivial password.   Set
her up with all the codecs, Adobe flash, Google Earth etc, and installed
a rather large photo library that had been collected by her children and
grandchildren.   I gave her about 3 hours of lessons on how to use the
new computer, how to open .doc attachments in Openoffice, how to use
Youtube, etc etc.

Then I waited for problem reports.  The first one came in this week.
There is a guy at her retirement complex who fancies himself a computer
expert.  She was telling him about her new computer, and invited him to
take a look at it.  He played with it for a while, and screwed up the
desktop (moved icons to trash, etc).  So later when she tried to use it,
she couldn't find things.  She called me on the phone and I guided her
through restoring her desktop to its former condition.  She said her
computer expert friend had never heard of Firefox.  He must be an
"expert" at Windows with IE only.  I wonder if he realized he wasn't
looking at Windows.

The installation was not trouble-free.  Ubuntu 8.04 doesn't recognize
the Envision LCD monitor, and I had to go through some Googling and
Ubuntu forum searching to finally get it to work.  I probably spent
about an hour on this problem.   I didn't dig deeply into it, instead I
just tried some suggestions I found until one worked.

The printer, however, a new HP laserjet, installed effortlessly and
flawlessly.  Her old printer was one of those incredibly slow jobs that
cost 10x more for cartridges over the lifetime of the printer than you
pay for the printer itself.  I took it and the old PC to the recycling

Apart from the service call mentioned above, there has been no trouble
since I left.  There has been none of the freezing or instability that
DFS likes to write about.  In fact, I have never had any such problems
on any of the Linux systems I've operated.  I am not saying that my
experience with Linux has been trouble-free, and in particular my
grandmother friend or Joe Sixpack would not have been able to solve the
problem with the Envision monitor by themselves.  Of course, she
wouldn't have been able to install Windows, either.  But in ordinary
operations I've never had instability problems, or difficulties with
multiple tasks or multiple users running at the same time, or having the
system crash when I move the mouse, etc etc.   In fact, in the hundreds
(thousands?) of posts DFS has made with Linux horror stories, I've never
experienced anything like any of them (not the ones I've read, anyway).

She loves her "new" computer.

My main complaint is the cost of broadband where she lives.  I wrote a
complaint to the FCC, for all the good it will do.

Just wait a few minutes - I'm sure DooFuS will call you a liar.

This has been my experience with Linux also. It's definitely easier to install than Windows -- mainly because Windows still needs all the drivers when you're "done" (then you've got to install the various applications and do the reboot mambo). But even if Linux were harder to install (and occasionally there is some tweaking), it's the fact that you've got a secure system, not hampered by malware, that really counts. Windows "degrades" as you use it -- if you add fonts, attract spy bots (by simply being on the Internet), etc., it starts getting slower and slower. That doesn't happen with Linux.

"There's a story there...somewhere"

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