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 Post subject: Switching the parents to Linux... any suggestions?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:29 pm 
TravBv2.0
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Well, I've been a Linux user for almost 3 years now, and I've wholeheartedly enjoyed it.

In my family's home (which I'm not a part of), my stepbrother and my parents share a small network, to which my stepbrother is the sole DST/Admin. Tony (my stepbrother), usually doesn't have much computer trouble. When he does, it's hardware trouble (His rig is the space heater for the room by the way, lol). My parent's on the other hand only have software trouble. Their P4 systems with 1Gb+ of RAM each have nothing but problem after problem after problem. They run McAfee (free from Comcast), anti-spyware programs, Advanced Windows care, MS Windows Care One or whatever, you get the point. They spend the better part of their time maintaining their computers rather than using them. and yet they still have problems. It's really crazy because if anyone uses one of their computers, they start saying how all these things started happening with their computers that didn't happen before. It's like when I started the car for them 10 years ago one cold winter morning, it's my fault the car blew a head gasket last week!

They don't do anything particularly special really. My stepmom is in love with Facebook (along with the rest of the family it seems), and spends a lot of time communicating via email, browsing the internet, light duty photo editing, and the occasional publishing (for flyers or her work's newsletter. My father just plays Solitaire (and similar card games), along with heavy Excel work, and internet browsing. They both seem to love Internet Explorer, but I don't think they've used anything else like Opera or Firefox.

I've tried pitching the idea of Linux to them but they seem to write it off as a hobbyist thing. I base this partially on the notion that my stepbrother is a certified DST for a school district, while I, the only Linux using member of the family, work nights at a grocery store. I've tried listing the pros and cons, but they didn't bite.

I call on you, loyal members of the AltOS Abode to assist me in conjuring ways to convince my parents (staunch Windows users) to give Linux a real try. Any ideas guys and gals? Any input would be much appreciated.

-thatLinuxguy


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:17 am 
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Do you really want to provide remote technical support for linux? If they can fubar Windows so easily, imagine what they'll do to an OS that is completely unfamiliar to them! ;)

Start by converting one PC into a web appliance. Whe they get used to it, they might ask for more linux in the house.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:59 am 
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I'm not certain how force feeding them linux is going to solve anything for them.

This is the second time I'm going to say this, and I'm not trying to pimp them, but cripes, if they're having that much problems with wnidows, sell them on a MAC. At least there, they'll have a large support structure to work with, and get a flavor of linux to boot.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:46 am 
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I'm probably the only person here able to say that I succeeded in doing this. My parents use Kubuntu.

Despite what people say, I've found that they're more comfortable with it than they were in Windows, and they've never had any problems with it. Things haven't randomly broken for them like Windows.

The way I did it? I just waited for Windows to break. That was enough of an excuse to them to try something they knew I believed it. I setup everything for them before they ever touched it. I installed all the apps they needed, and they've never had any problems with any of it.

I tried to switch them a couple years ago, but there were a few things that just weren't ready. I think it was Kubuntu 7.10 that eventually kept them for good. (Took two tries to switch them - they hate Windows now and have a hard time using it :lol:)

My advice is to make sure everything is ready for them before they ever see it. You may even want to put a picture of their dog as the wallpaper or something. Whatever you can do to make it personal for them. The little things like that bug a lot of people. If everything seems foreign to them, they probably won't enjoy the experience, and they won't even give it a chance.

I think you should switch them to Firefox first. If they aren't used to that yet, there's no way you'll get them away from Windows.

As for getting a Mac, I've found that of all the people I've switched OSs for, OS X was the hardest for people to become accustomed to. KDE is a familiar experience right out of the box. Even my mom didn't have to spend any time looking for stuff. She recognised the K menu as she would the Start button, and found all her favorite programs already there, even sorted by category and not by name (which made it easier for her, because even in Windows she had a hard time finding the program she was looking for because she couldn't remember the name of it).

My mom already loved gimp, firefox, and (then) gaim before she ever switched. I think that's one of the things that really helped. What's funny is that more of her programs work in Wine than they did in XP (she has a lot of old educational stuff written for Win3.1 and 95).


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:51 pm 
TravBv2.0
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I'm not so much trying to force feed them Linux as I am trying to open their eyes to better solutions. Unless they like putting more work than play into their computers, then I believe they'll benefit from have a much more stable OS. Like many older people, they're stubborn, so it makes it hard to convince them of damn-near anything.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:08 pm 
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that Linux guy wrote:
I'm not so much trying to force feed them Linux as I am trying to open their eyes to better solutions. Unless they like putting more work than play into their computers, then I believe they'll benefit from have a much more stable OS. Like many older people, they're stubborn, so it makes it hard to convince them of damn-near anything.


No kidding. I almost switched my grandparents, but then my cousin made an ass of himself by telling them that they're going to want Windows back. Before they even got to try it, they made me put Windows on it (I'd just got done wiping off Windows because it screwed up their computer.. why do people do this to themselves??)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:58 pm 
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that Linux guy wrote:
Like many older people, they're stubborn, so it makes it hard to convince them of damn-near anything.


Works both ways dude...espcially if you feel he need to convince them.

What do you think is going to happen when there is a problem with Comcast and the rep on the other side tells them that they don't support linux?

I respect what you're trying to do, but what you described just isn't the situation to do it in especially when it comes to your own family.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:04 pm 
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I too was into masochism until I came to Linux (I'm kidding and no pun intended, lol).

They've just always used Windows, so it's what they trust. It's like abusive, screwed up parents. They're not good for you, but you feel this need to trust them because they're your parents.

I'm not really trying for some Operating System Revolution in this home either. I see the problems they're having, and I think they could get more done with Linux. They're both work-aholics, and it's hard to do what you need to do when your weak hardware is chugging along checking all your harddrives for malware, or defragging. My stepmother has the lowest requirements and she's the only one that listens seemingly. My brother thinks Linux is retarted after he took a manditory UNIX class in college, and my parents go by what he says.

I'll start talking with her about that LiveCD and let her try it out.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Jipstyle wrote:
Do you really want to provide remote technical support for linux? If they can fubar Windows so easily, imagine what they'll do to an OS that is completely unfamiliar to them! ;)

Start by converting one PC into a web appliance. Whe they get used to it, they might ask for more linux in the house.


I'm not gunning for every PC. Just one. I know once they start to use it, chances are they'll either love it, or at least not be so stubborn about trying something new.

Oh, and I have no problem helping them out with problems, PC related or otherwise. I try to fix computers on the side, but I don't get much business out here. God, I miss the Bay Area.....


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:50 pm 
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My parents were really stubborn, too. I just didn't give them a choice in the matter 8) I forced them to use it for one month. If they didn't like it, I'd switch it back after that month. They never wanted to go back.

For people who do the same thing every day, Windows sucks balls. There've been a lot of times when my mom asks me to take a look at what she's trying to do. Pretty much every time, she's trying to do something that would have infested a Windows machine. (Free emoticons in your e-mail, anyone?)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:59 pm 
TravBv2.0
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Free emoticons? I've seen that one before :)

My parents are actually good about watching what links they click on, what files they download, etc. But they're quick to blame a problem on anything. My stepbrother switched routers from a wired to a wireless. Soon after, my dad's Microsoft keyboard wouldn't work. Guess who got blamed.

I wish I had such influence over my families computers. Like I said before, my parents hardly believe I know what I'm talking about in the light of my sibling. It's frustrating, but when they talk about how many times their antivirus cought a trojan horse, I can say "Oh, I never have that problem with Linux." :)

Hopefully when I get my server back up and running with Sendmail, BIND and OpenLDAP, I can provide their network with the same services, via VPN.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:02 pm 
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I think the first task you need to complete is assure your parents that you know what you are talking about. If they think you don't know as much as your sibling they aren't going to let you take away the familiarity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:05 pm 
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that Linux guy wrote:
Free emoticons? I've seen that one before :)

My parents are actually good about watching what links they click on, what files they download, etc. But they're quick to blame a problem on anything. My stepbrother switched routers from a wired to a wireless. Soon after, my dad's Microsoft keyboard wouldn't work. Guess who got blamed.

I wish I had such influence over my families computers. Like I said before, my parents hardly believe I know what I'm talking about in the light of my sibling. It's frustrating, but when they talk about how many times their antivirus cought a trojan horse, I can say "Oh, I never have that problem with Linux." :)

Hopefully when I get my server back up and running with Sendmail, BIND and OpenLDAP, I can provide their network with the same services, via VPN.


I'm gonna guess that your sibling makes a lot of money off Windows stuff, right? I've found that it's the people making scads of money off Microsoft products are the ones fullest of shit. People like to make money off problems the industry gives to people (on purpose?). Sadly, people also believe that people know what they're talking about because they make money off it. I make a lot of money from being a manager at McDonald's, but that doesn't mean I'm capable of being a chef.

Convince them to try it for one month. Like I said, they just want it to be familiar. Use a pleasant theme like Plastik with a family photo as the background, and make all the most used applications easy to get to. Once they realise that they aren't asking you for help anymore, they won't want to switch back.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:54 pm 
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Linux evangelists are every bit as annoying as MS evangelists are ... keep that in mind.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Jipstyle wrote:
Linux evangelists are every bit as annoying as MS evangelists are ... keep that in mind.


Touché. Point taken. I tend to rave and rant too much when it comes to sensitive issues like this.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:46 am 
TravBv2.0
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I usually don't rant and rave about Linux to my parents. They don't think there's actually a future in my chosen career path (Linux/UNIX Network Admin), but I keep reminding them to look on Dice for Linux positions in Detroit and then start counting. It's nearly as much for Linux/UNIX jobs as there are for Windows jobs! Nuff said.

I'm not very pushy about the subject though. I bring it up from time to time, blow the dust off, and let it be for a while. Wait until they're trying to remove a virus in safe mode.

"Oh, I remember safe mode. Press F6 or something, right?"

"F8 actually."

"Silly me, it's been so long since I've had to do something like that. Linux doesn't have a safe mode ya know..."


As far as my sibling, he's you're average PC tech in your local school district. He makes nearly double what I make (granted he's 5+ years older with some college and not in retail), all he's ever known is Windows too. I on the other hand used to sell computers at Best Buy, was a tech for PC Club Computers (Santa Rosa, CA), and then did my own on-site repair gig around Sonoma county, CA, until moving back to Michigan. I have no clue what I'm talking about though, right?

I'll definitely try to convince one of my parents to give a LiveCD a try for a couple weeks and see how they like it. Not only would I like to see my parent's get better functionality out of their computers, but I'm always curious to see what people with no technical experience think about using Linux. My girlfriend didn't like Ubuntu (nor Debian), but her main two gripes were "it's not Windows", and "It doesn't have a start button". Yeah, she probably would've like KDE a bit better than, but she flat-out told me she doesn't really care, just so long as she has her Windows.

Guys and gals, I really appreciate all your input on this. Thank you.

-ThatLinuxGuy


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:54 am 
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yurimxpxman wrote:
Jipstyle wrote:
Linux evangelists are every bit as annoying as MS evangelists are ... keep that in mind.


Touché. Point taken. I tend to rave and rant too much when it comes to sensitive issues like this.


:)

It's cool


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:53 am 
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Jipstyle wrote:
Linux evangelists are every bit as annoying as MS evangelists are ... keep that in mind.




Now, a Mac Evangelist....


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:31 pm 
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Dwood15 wrote:
Now, a Mac Evangelist....


I think we can all agree that Mac evangelicals are in a category of their own :P


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