Best Linux Distro for a learner

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by MarkusJNZ@gmail.com, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    constantly fix for him.

    He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).

    Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    play around with imaging editing software occasionally.

    TIA
    Markus

    ========================================
    Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    http://www.kiwis-online.com
    ========================================
    , Sep 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. Adam Guest

    On 10 Sep 2006 03:43:24 -0700, wrote:

    >Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >constantly fix for him.
    >
    >He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    >Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >
    >TIA
    >Markus


    As you may see from my other posts here, I've been around a bit (PC
    term for "old") and am not exactly a Linux geek (or Guru).

    Having had some pretty horrific experiences with Red Hat a few years
    ago, I tested a few of the more popular "easy" distros (ie. ones with
    nice and friendly GUIs and live CDs) about a year ago.

    Ubuntu struck me as being the first one for a fair while that could
    (almost) be installed and run by someone with an IQ of less than 500.

    I've installed it a few times since from 5.04 to 6.06 and have had a
    really good experience with it. The impression I get is that when it
    works, it works *well* and is a doddle. In the odd few cases, though,
    it can bite you in the bum. But then, Windows can do that to you too
    ;-)

    The current version (6.06 - Breezy Badger) seemed to be the easiest
    yet to install, yet more complained about failed installs than
    previously.

    The best bet is to try the live CD, which runs totally in memory and
    doesn't touch the hard drive at all. If it works, detects your network
    and the internet with no real hardware issues, then you stand a fair
    chance of a decent install - and you can play with it for as long as
    you like (at least until you turn off!) without fear of corrupting
    anything.

    Many of the popular distros do live CDs these days, so don't just try
    Ubuntu. I liked Linspire as well, but none of the others seemed to
    come close. But that was a year or so ago.

    If you need a live CD, give me a shout.

    Adam.
    Adam, Sep 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. <> wrote:

    > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > constantly fix for him.
    >
    > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >
    > TIA
    > Markus


    Then I also suggest Ubuntu. It's easy to install and try out beforehand
    using the single Live/Install CD (which they'll send you free of charge
    if you don't want to download and burn your own), and comes with Mozilla
    Firefox and Thunderbird which are a great Web Browser and a pretty
    decent email application. He can also use GIMP to edit photos. Ubuntu is
    the most easy to use distro I've ever tried. You're on the right track
    there, IMO.

    However, I'd also suggest looking into an Apple Mac if he wants to get
    into home photo and even audio and movie editing. There are essentially
    no Mac viruses in the wild, or any of the other security issues that
    plague Windows users. Plus Macs come with outstanding and very easy to
    use photo (iPhoto), audio (Garageband) and movie editing (iMovie)
    software for home users, and if later he should want to graduate to
    better, more professional tools - the best are available on the Mac.

    The Mac is THE platform for the creative professional. It's also even
    EASIER to use than even the best Linux distros like Ubuntu. Plus the new
    Intel Macs can run Windows (or Linux for that matter) on either a
    separate partition using Apple's free Boot Camp software (so easy to
    use!) or at the same time as Mac OS using Parallels software, so if
    there's some PC only software he really wants to run (usually a game, as
    many PC games are never ported to the Mac, though the best titles are
    almost all there) - he can, no hassles.

    Still - if he'd rather go the free software route - Ubuntu 'aint bad!
    Just remember you get what you pay for...

    Regards,
    Jamie Kahn Genet
    --
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Sep 10, 2006
    #3
  4. Peter Guest

    wrote:
    > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > constantly fix for him.


    If you want a low maintenance computer for a user who is not computer
    oriented, a Mac might be the best choice.
    However, if you want to increase resistance to malware while staying with
    the same hardware, Linux can certainly do the job. You might find it
    difficult to set up and maintain a Linux box if you are not familiar with
    Linux yourself. Linux is not difficult, just very different.
    I prefer Mandriva, and Ubuntu would also be a good choice.

    Linux is very different, so there is quite a bit of learning involved when
    you get started. Read this ...
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html
    and get along to your local LUG (if you live near one)
    http://www.linux.net.nz/node/view/11

    http://wiki.linux.net.nz/SelectingADistribution
    http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/index.php

    HTH

    Peter
    Peter, Sep 10, 2006
    #4
  5. Shane Guest

    wrote:

    > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > constantly fix for him.
    >
    > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >
    > TIA
    > Markus


    The only thing I can add to the others suggestions is to ask, who has to fix
    things he breaks, if thats you, install the Linux you are most familiar
    with.

    --
    [The Pharaoh of Osiris IV has died and the priest lists things being buried
    with him.]
    High Priest of Osiris IV: ...As well as the many things in his royal garage.
    [garbage truck dumps contents of garage]
    High Priest of Osiris IV: And also this bag of cats, which our culture
    considers holy.

    blog: http://shanes.dyndns.org
    Shane, Sep 10, 2006
    #5
  6. thingy Guest

    wrote:
    > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > constantly fix for him.
    >
    > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >
    > TIA
    > Markus
    >
    > ========================================
    > Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    > http://www.kiwis-online.com
    > ========================================
    >


    Ubantu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but thta's $.

    Image editing try "the gimp"

    regards

    Thing
    thingy, Sep 10, 2006
    #6
  7. Shane <-a-geek.net> wrote:

    > wrote:
    >
    > > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > > constantly fix for him.
    > >
    > > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    > >
    > > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    > >
    > > TIA
    > > Markus

    >
    > The only thing I can add to the others suggestions is to ask, who has to fix
    > things he breaks, if thats you, install the Linux you are most familiar
    > with.


    Good point. I HATE the way my older sister and Uncle have practically
    ensured my parents and grandparents have Winblows PCs. But of course
    THEY don't live close enough to have to bother supporting them. Who
    does? Yep - I do, the Mac and Unix user :-(

    Though that does leave aside the point that Windows machines used by
    non-technical users need WAY MORE support. I loath supporting this sort
    of shit.

    Regards,
    Jamie Kahn Genet
    --
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Sep 10, 2006
    #7
  8. Philip Guest

    wrote:
    > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > constantly fix for him.
    >
    > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >
    > TIA
    > Markus
    >
    > ========================================
    > Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    > http://www.kiwis-online.com
    > ========================================
    >

    Assuming he doesn't want to buy another computer, my own experience
    suggests installing Ubuntu Dapper Drake (currently the lastest release,
    and now looking pretty stable).

    On a three year old Dell Dimension, it installed perfectly the first
    time. Some older computers, and earlier versions of Ubuntu and other
    distros, have had problems surrounding ACPI. This time, not.

    A newer version (Edgy Eft) is said to be coming out in October, which
    may be even better. But it may not...

    Philip
    Philip, Sep 10, 2006
    #8
  9. E. Scrooge Guest

    "thingy" <> wrote in message
    news:4504647f$...
    > wrote:
    >> Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >> forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >> constantly fix for him.
    >>
    >> He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >> is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >> Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >>
    >> Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >> more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >> play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >>
    >> TIA
    >> Markus
    >>
    >> ========================================
    >> Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    >> http://www.kiwis-online.com
    >> ========================================
    >>

    >
    > Ubantu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but thta's $.
    >
    > Image editing try "the gimp"
    >
    > regards
    >
    > Thing


    He can either make sure SP2 is installed and make the PC as secure as
    possible. He just shouldn't be getting crap like that easily installed on a
    secure PC, unless the guy is installing every option that he sees from every
    website.

    Or get an Apple like a few have suggested. He certainly needs to compare
    the software a bit more than the OS, it's the actual software that will want
    to be using not siting there watching his OS all day.

    E. Scrooge
    E. Scrooge, Sep 10, 2006
    #9
  10. Earl Grey Guest

    On Mon, 11 Sep 2006 07:24:53 +1200, thingy wrote:

    > wrote:
    >> Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >> forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >> constantly fix for him.
    >>
    >> He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >> is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >> Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >>
    >> Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >> more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >> play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >>
    >> TIA
    >> Markus
    >>
    >> ========================================
    >> Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    >> http://www.kiwis-online.com
    >> ========================================
    >>

    >
    > Ubantu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but thta's $.
    >


    Have a look at the prices of mac minis on trademe
    Earl Grey, Sep 10, 2006
    #10
  11. Adam Guest

    The latest Knoppix really is Very good, for trying out a few things on a
    live CD. Because lots of software is there, and it runs straight off.

    For the future, you should consider adding a separate HDD for the Linux of
    your choice, and during the Linux install allow the dual-boot option to be
    configured. Keep a copy of the original boot sector on a floppy just in
    case.

    If the 2nd HDD is of any reasonable size, then you can try alternative Linux
    distros and boot between them until you all decide which.

    Windows seems to have the best sound editing software (Audition,
    Soundforge), but Linux is catching up fast (Audacity is usable and being
    actively developed). Linux of course has the safest mail and internet
    environment.

    The 2nd (separate) HDD for solely Linux, with a FAT32 common windows
    interchange partition, seems the best and most flexible solution, allowing
    the best of all possible worlds.

    I'll just mention considering Mandriva, who seem to have a friendly and
    helpful newsgroup and as an OS seems user friendly.
    Adam, Sep 10, 2006
    #11
  12. E. Scrooge Guest

    "Jamie Kahn Genet" <> wrote in message
    news:1hlhoky.al3pancbxbt3N%...
    > Shane <-a-geek.net> wrote:
    >
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >> > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >> > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >> > constantly fix for him.
    >> >
    >> > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >> > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >> > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >> >
    >> > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >> > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >> > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >> >
    >> > TIA
    >> > Markus

    >>
    >> The only thing I can add to the others suggestions is to ask, who has to
    >> fix
    >> things he breaks, if thats you, install the Linux you are most familiar
    >> with.

    >
    > Good point. I HATE the way my older sister and Uncle have practically
    > ensured my parents and grandparents have Winblows PCs. But of course
    > THEY don't live close enough to have to bother supporting them. Who
    > does? Yep - I do, the Mac and Unix user :-(
    >
    > Though that does leave aside the point that Windows machines used by
    > non-technical users need WAY MORE support. I loath supporting this sort
    > of shit.
    >
    > Regards,
    > Jamie Kahn Genet


    There are many old folk who are happily using old computers running Win
    95/98.
    For their light demands they don't need much else.

    Those older people who buy a digital camera are far better off with XP with
    it's photo Wizard for those that like it real easy and simple.

    E. Scrooge
    E. Scrooge, Sep 11, 2006
    #12
  13. E. Scrooge <scrooge@*shot.co.nz(*sling)> wrote:

    > "Jamie Kahn Genet" <> wrote in message
    > news:1hlhoky.al3pancbxbt3N%...
    > > Shane <-a-geek.net> wrote:
    > >
    > >> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> > Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > >> > forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > >> > constantly fix for him.
    > >> >
    > >> > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > >> > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > >> > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    > >> >
    > >> > Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > >> > more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > >> > play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    > >> >
    > >> > TIA
    > >> > Markus
    > >>
    > >> The only thing I can add to the others suggestions is to ask, who has to
    > >> fix
    > >> things he breaks, if thats you, install the Linux you are most familiar
    > >> with.

    > >
    > > Good point. I HATE the way my older sister and Uncle have practically
    > > ensured my parents and grandparents have Winblows PCs. But of course
    > > THEY don't live close enough to have to bother supporting them. Who
    > > does? Yep - I do, the Mac and Unix user :-(
    > >
    > > Though that does leave aside the point that Windows machines used by
    > > non-technical users need WAY MORE support. I loath supporting this sort
    > > of shit.
    > >
    > > Regards,
    > > Jamie Kahn Genet

    >
    > There are many old folk who are happily using old computers running Win
    > 95/98.
    > For their light demands they don't need much else.
    >
    > Those older people who buy a digital camera are far better off with XP with
    > it's photo Wizard for those that like it real easy and simple.
    >
    > E. Scrooge


    If you want hassle free use of a digital camera get a Mac. No drivers
    needed. No installs. It just works. I'm always amused when Windows users
    get flumoxed when I say "just plug your camera in" to my Mac. But that's
    all they need to do.

    Still, I must admit WinXP's various Wizards are not too bad these days,
    if you like the hand holding style.

    Regards,
    Jamie Kahn Genet
    --
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Sep 11, 2006
    #13
  14. Adam <> wrote:
    [snip]
    > Windows seems to have the best sound editing software (Audition,
    > Soundforge), but Linux is catching up fast (Audacity is usable and being
    > actively developed). Linux of course has the safest mail and internet
    > environment.


    Those are some very broad generalisations you're making there, but
    specifically I do not agree Windows has the best audio editing software.
    What about Garageband (basically Logic LE), Logic Express and Logic Pro,
    BIAS Deck LE and BIAS Deck, Pro Tools, etc, etc? All world class Mac
    Audio editing software for novice to pro, and frankly better than
    anything you'll find on Windows.

    Regards,
    Jamie Kahn Genet
    --
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Sep 11, 2006
    #14
  15. Ray Greene Guest

    On 10 Sep 2006 03:43:24 -0700, wrote:

    >Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >constantly fix for him.
    >
    >He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >
    >Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >play around with imaging editing software occasionally.


    I think Xandros is the easiest Linux to use, it's very Windows-like.
    The is a free Open Circulation Edition, I'm not sure what the difference is
    between this and the paid for version.

    --
    Ray Greene
    Ray Greene, Sep 11, 2006
    #15
  16. thingy Guest

    Earl Grey wrote:
    > On Mon, 11 Sep 2006 07:24:53 +1200, thingy wrote:
    >
    >> wrote:
    >>> Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    >>> forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    >>> constantly fix for him.
    >>>
    >>> He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    >>> is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    >>> Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    >>>
    >>> Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    >>> more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    >>> play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    >>>
    >>> TIA
    >>> Markus
    >>>
    >>> ========================================
    >>> Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    >>> http://www.kiwis-online.com
    >>> ========================================
    >>>

    >> Ubantu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but thta's $.
    >>

    >
    > Have a look at the prices of mac minis on trademe


    Well with the duo intel based ones out, I'd expect them to be flogged
    off. The mac mini was bearly up to anything beyond web browsing....the
    dual core with 2 gig ram should run rings around them.

    regards

    Thing
    thingy, Sep 11, 2006
    #16
  17. thingy <> wrote:

    > Earl Grey wrote:
    > > On Mon, 11 Sep 2006 07:24:53 +1200, thingy wrote:
    > >
    > >> wrote:
    > >>> Hi all, my uncle has Windows XP installed on his computer and is
    > >>> forever having problems (Read Malware, spyware etc) which I have to
    > >>> constantly fix for him.
    > >>>
    > >>> He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > >>> is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > >>> Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).
    > >>>
    > >>> Any other opinions about the best Linux distro for a complete novice
    > >>> more than welcome. He does not have any fancy hardware but likes to
    > >>> play around with imaging editing software occasionally.
    > >>>
    > >>> TIA
    > >>> Markus
    > >>>
    > >>> ========================================
    > >>> Kiwis-online.com domain redirection service
    > >>> http://www.kiwis-online.com
    > >>> ========================================
    > >>>
    > >> Ubantu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but thta's $.
    > >>

    > >
    > > Have a look at the prices of mac minis on trademe

    >
    > Well with the duo intel based ones out, I'd expect them to be flogged
    > off. The mac mini was bearly up to anything beyond web browsing....the
    > dual core with 2 gig ram should run rings around them.
    >
    > regards
    >
    > Thing


    Bit unfair, I think. But yeah, the Intel dual core minis are super fast
    in comparison. Still, I'd only consider the mini if you already have a
    nice monitor, kb, mouse, speakers, etc. Otherwise the iMac is better
    value for money, unless you really need a super large screen.

    Regards,
    Jamie Kahn Genet
    --
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
    Jamie Kahn Genet, Sep 11, 2006
    #17
  18. In message <450508a5$>, thingy wrote:

    > Earl Grey wrote:
    >> On Mon, 11 Sep 2006 07:24:53 +1200, thingy wrote:
    >>
    >>> Ubntu....but to be honest, I'd go Mac......but th[at]'s $.

    >>
    >> Have a look at the prices of mac minis on trademe

    >
    > Well with the duo intel based ones out, I'd expect them to be flogged
    > off. The mac mini was bearly up to anything beyond web browsing....


    They might work better with Linux installed on them. OS X has well-known
    issues with multitasking, which could be having a performance impact.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 11, 2006
    #18
  19. steve Guest

    wrote:

    > He's not the most computer literate person ever and all he wants to do
    > is surf the net and check his emails so I am thinking of installing
    > Linux (Specifically Ubuntu).


    I did exactly that (Ubuntu 6.06) for the couple across the road.....and
    once they got over the login thing (they had set WinXP to not require
    login) they were fine.

    I sawe the guy yesterday and he says he's very ahppy with it.....and no
    virus or malware hassles.
    steve, Sep 11, 2006
    #19
  20. steve Guest

    Ray Greene wrote:

    > I think Xandros is the easiest Linux to use, it's very Windows-like.
    > The is a free Open Circulation Edition, I'm not sure what the difference is
    > between this and the paid for version.


    I use Xandros as my main Linux, too.....

    The paid versions ("Premium") also have support for Windows apps via the
    most recent version of Crossover Office (a commercial, packaged and
    supported version of WINE). My wife has been running MS Office 2000 on
    Xandros Linux with Crossover with ZERO hassles for several years now.
    It's very stable.
    steve, Sep 11, 2006
    #20
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