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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just an observation - seniors are more comfortable with Linux

Recently, an elderly friend called to say she forgot her password and wondered if I could help. It turns our her computer it over 12 years old - it has an Intel Celeron 400 MHz chip with 384 MB of RAM and running Windows 2000. I tried searching for instructions for resetting Administrator password as that was also set. All the search results involved buying software or using the original installation CD. To me, spending money for software that I will use only once on an old computer did not make sense and the original W2K installation CD is not available.

I decided to try openSUSE Linux 11.2 live CD to test the hardware to make sure it would work. The live CD worked but was very slow (what to expect from such an old machine?). The first attempt did not work as the machine was left unattended during the installation and the default setting for GRUB did not work. Also, the default file system on openSUSE 11.2 is ext4, which I suspect is not supported on the Celeron 400 MHz chip. The second installation attempt went smoothly. This time I watched every minute of it choosing ext3 file system and setting GRUB to use the main Linux partition /. This time the installation worked.

Next step - configure the HP OFFICEJET 5610 All-In-One printer/scanner/copier/fax. At first, the printer would not work. Finally, I did used YAST (openSUSE version of Control Panel) to search for hplip (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) software and found it was not installed. Once hplip was installed the printer worked.

Once the system was working, my friend tried using it. At first, she said it was about the same as W2K or a little slower in starting up. Then she started up Firefox and started doing searches on Google. You should have seen her eyes light up as the said "this is really faster" when the search results appeared. Mrs. K is the third senior that I introduced to Linux (the first senior went back to Win XP due to compatibility issues). All three seniors found the major difference between Linux and Windows is the ease of use, less pop-up in Linux compared to Windows.
--  Philip Ramsey 647.477.6227 Breakfast With Fran: RSS Feed:

1 comment:

  1. I'm liking Linux now too. Took awhile for Philip to persuade me as I have been using Windows for decades! Compatability issues were a big issuer. Now I have Linux on my laptop and love it. Feel so much more secure with it. Also have Windows on my notebook for my blackberry. Philip is going to add Linux as a virtual drive.