Linux for my grandmother.

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carum carvi
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Linux for my grandmother.

Post by carum carvi » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:21 am

There are mobile phones available with large numbers and without any difficult menu buttons. How about a Linux version that my grandmother would be able to use? My grandmother does not have internet, nor does she have a computer and she gets by fine. That by itself is a comforting thought: we dont need computers to live everyday life. Many of us are old enough to remember the days when there was only television, radio, records and books/magazines. Did we suffer? No.

Ok, but for those elderly citizens, who DO want to use a computer, which one is the most comfortable? Which one has the largest fonts, the clearest sound? Which one is the easiest in use? All that is needed is to browse online with Firefox, being able to email the children and have a simple video program to see her grandchildren play with their new kitten.

If a grandmother/father would start using a Linux computer, it must probably be a pre installed Linux OS, because hardware conflicts are common with Linux software. (Not Linux' fault by the way, just to be clear). Has there ever been an attempt to create/fork a LInux computer for those elderly citizens with NO computer skills whatsoever? There are so many Linux forks,but arent we forgetting the elderly?

I love my girlfriend dearly. She is not old by the way. She is very intelligent, but she doesnt have or doesnt want to understand the simplest technical skills. Her complaint that the LInux computer doesnt work is caused by a power cable that is not attached. That sort of problems are the ONLY problems she has reported with Linux until now ( 2 years of using it). She had many more complaints though about Windows. So basically when everything is installed and there are no hardware conflicts I believe that LinuxMint is already a very user friendly system. But can it be improved for grandmothers and granddads with no skills at all? Or is the best advice for grandmothers and granddads to ask for help and guidance from their children?

I could have posted many links below from websites that want to sell computers to elderly and claim to be the best, but what do you forummembers think of the possibility in trying to create an easy to use Linux fork for elderly?

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michael louwe
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by michael louwe » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:35 am

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:21 am
Has there ever been an attempt to create/fork a LInux computer for those elderly citizens with NO computer skills whatsoever?
https://www.itpro.co.uk/617494/older-pe ... e-computer - older people get their own simple computer - based on Ubuntu

http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/computi ... 3940476958
- windows-shell-desktop-replacements-elderly - based on Windows
Last edited by michael louwe on Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

gm10
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by gm10 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:43 am

michael louwe wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:35 am
carum carvi wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:21 am
Has there ever been an attempt to create/fork a LInux computer for those elderly citizens with NO computer skills whatsoever?
https://www.itpro.co.uk/617494/older-pe ... e-computer
Haha, brilliant, many many years ago I wrote something like that as a Win3.11 desktop replacement for my father. Had only 4 options even. The backup solution I had for him was even better - just turn on the backup device and backup would start automatically. Gotta keep things simple. Worked great for him at the time. These days he's got the basic skills to handle a vanilla Windows (that start menu really did it), breaks it only once in a while. :P

But I am not sure there is a good market for that. I tried selling my mother on one of those simple phones because she has serious trouble with the small keys on a "real" smartphone. But she wants to hear nothing of it, she wants to have the flashy device and not one for old people.
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

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vansloneker
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by vansloneker » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:44 am

For the totally illiterate I would recommend Porteus Kiosk.
Unless stated otherwise Mint 18.3-64 XFCE

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athi
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by athi » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:00 am

Setup several Mint Mate boxes for very new users. The trick is to simplify the choices, remove all non-necessary items from the desktops, make the needed icons extra big and show them how to use the item (tends to be just browsers) and leave it be.

Nice things about these setups is these users can be setup of lower power machines, since they will not be multitasking or running multiple tabs on the browsers.
Mint Mate 19.1. Main rig is HP 800G2 I5 6500 16GB ram, 120GB boot drive, 2x3TB, 1x4TB data drives. Oldest rig is Mate 18.3 on Dell D620 with 32bits core duo.

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by DAMIEN1307 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:24 am

hi carum carvi...this one is an out of the box "linux" based pre-installed OS computer system designed for seniors with no tech skills...its an older video but i see them still advertising on tv from time to time...DAMIEN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... kt3FecRkaY
ORDO AB CHAO

carum carvi
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by carum carvi » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:04 pm

Thanks guys for all these really helpful tips. I have read them carefully and they all seem to be very effective. These large and simple desktop screenbuttons are perfect. And just 6 or less buttons to choose from is ideal as well. Just what I was looking for. Some of these elderly operating systems are even free for download. One example of an elderly OS had an Iso of just 100MB. I believe even Tinycore or Puppy OS isnt that small in size. But perhaps the 100MB Iso is only a graphic shell and not an entire operating system? It' s great anyway that these Iso's can be downloaded by everybody! And they often run on Linux. I am gonna try one on my laptop soon, to see how it all works. That'll be a fun experiment. :D

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JerryF
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by JerryF » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:19 pm

I've also seen the WOW computer advertised. It's Linux based.

https://www.mywowcomputer.com/

But, in my opinion, a little pricey.
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Tomgin5
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by Tomgin5 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:21 pm

A month ago a friend expressed a need for a computer (laptop) that worked. She is in her late 60's, a retired nurse/educator. She has several laptops, all windows, that no longer work.
I was going to do a quick install of Linux in one but it had issues. She was going to let me fix it when I saw her again. I had an old HP Mini netbook with 2 GB RAM 60 GB SSD (original non SATA) and a 32 bit single core atom processor. I had put XFCE in it with numerous extra apps like Golden Dictionary, and several drawing programs. I deleted my thunderbird account but left the app. I also deleted all my password accounts except the login. I put it in a smalll computer bag along with the power supply and a wireless mouse and handed it to her after showing her how to turn it on and where the WIFI switch was along with the wired connection under the little rubber cover.
She called me today and told me she loves the computer and it does everything good and more that she ever thought a computer could do. She is completely amazed how fast it is. I will see her in 3 more weeks and she is bringing me 6 computers that she does not want any more if she can keep the netbook I gave her.
She also told me she is including new batteries for all of them.
I told her I would fix another one up for her and give it back.

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by deepakdeshp » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:02 pm

Glad to know this heart warming story about the senior citizen!
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Regards,
Deepak

I am using Mint 19.2 Cinnamon 64 bit with AMD A8/7410 processor . Memory 8GB

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by RollyShed » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:52 pm

The organisation for the elderly who want to know more is SeniorNet. Based in Fort Myers, Florida, there are learning centers across the United States, including Indian Reservations with international affiliations in Nepal, Netherlands, South Korea, China, UK, Sweden and New Zealand.

I'm involved with the local "club" and there are 3 times as many Linux users as Apple (3 Linux, 1 Apple). However, unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge and Windows is the most common. The real questions are how to do a spreadsheet, do email, write a document, search the web, etc.

My partner, who is a grandmother, uses Linux Mint after Windows destroyed itself last year. Questions asked always relate to Firefox or LibreOffice, doing documents, saving "things". These are the same questions and programmes as were running in Windows.

As I say, the steering wheel is the same, the engine under the bonnet ("hood" - USA) doesn't matter.

Most of those in the local Men's Shed are grandfathers and all the computers run Linux Mint. No problems, Firefox works the same and searching for information is exactly the same.

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michael louwe
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by michael louwe » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:45 pm

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:21 am
There are mobile phones available with large numbers and without any difficult menu buttons. How about a Linux version that my grandmother would be able to use?
.
Yes, I see many elderlies using Linux-based Android smartphones and not many elderlies using desktop Linux computers. They often use Windows computers instead. How come.?

= from the outset, Google Android was developed in the mid-2000s for elderly, noob/newbie, ordinary/average and techy users; while from the outset, GNU/Linux was developed in the early 1990s(eg Debian) for techy users who wanted to avoid using closed-source proprietary Windows or MacOSX which they could not tinker with = GNU/Linux could only be used by techgeeks who liked to have the freedom to tinker with software.
....... Even though desktop Linux like Ubuntu has become more noob-friendly since 2012 with Ubuntu 12.04, it is still not dumbed-down enough for most elderlies, unlike Android.

In comparison, from the outset, Windows and MacOSX were developed in the 1980s for the ordinary/average masses and techy users. Elderlies and noobs just needed to put in a little effort to be able to use Windows or MacOSX. Not so for desktop Linux.
....... Windows worked out-of-the-box in most cases, unlike GNU/Linux.
.
.

The examples in the earlier posts above, show that desktop Linux can even be developed to be exclusively elder-friendly if there is a will, eg the desktop has only 6 large icons. Desktop Linux should be inclusively developed to at least be noob-friendly if it hopes to achieve "The Year of Linux on the Desktop".
....... Of course, the problem with the lack of Linux support for some closed-source proprietary OEM hardware devices should also be solved, eg Debian/Ubuntu has "foolishly" stripped out all closed-source proprietary hardware device drivers and firmware from the upstream Linux kernel.

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by JerryF » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:47 pm

michael louwe wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:45 pm
.
Yes, I see many elderlies using Linux-based Android smartphones and not many elderlies using desktop Linux computers. They often use Windows computers instead. How come.?
...
from the outset, Google Android was developed in the mid-2000s for elderly, noob/newbie, ordinary/average and techy users; while from the outset, GNU/Linux was developed in the early 1990s(eg Debian) for techy users who wanted to avoid using closed-source proprietary Windows or MacOSX which they could not tinker with = GNU/Linux could only be used by techgeeks who liked to have the freedom to tinker with software.
....... Even though desktop Linux like Ubuntu has become more noob-friendly since 2012 with Ubuntu 12.04, it is still not dumbed-down enough for most elderlies, unlike Android.

The examples in the earlier posts above, show that desktop Linux can even be developed to be exclusively elder-friendly if there is a will, eg the desktop has only 6 large icons. Desktop Linux should be inclusively developed to at least be noob-friendly if it hopes to achieve "The Year of Linux on the Desktop".
...
Interesting that you mention about Android and having Linux more elderly/noob-friendly. My Android has two built-in settings: Easy Mode and Kids Mode. With either one, you customize the apps available.

Here's snapshot of Easy Mode activated:
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Something along this idea would be a start for those types of people.

I know of two people who fit into that category. The hurdle, which will never be jumped, is the abstract thinking to accomplish things that we find obvious. Finding, dowloading, and saving files are just a few examples.
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by majpooper » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:10 pm

It is relatively easy to configure Linux Mint for older or "non-computer savvy" people. I have done this for three such folks - several others I just installed LM and pretty much turned them loose although do support them now and again.

For the first category (who I also support with TeamViewer when necessary) I created launchers on the desktop for the apps they use habitually and even places (web sites) they want to access. So all they have to do is point and click on the desktop. Although none have asked for larger desktop icons that is pretty easy to do in settings somewhere. Lately I have been configuring automatic updates - so far so good and adding a cron to run a script (I think I got this from Pjotr as well) to clean out all but the last one or two (can't remember how many) kernels other than the active one.

I also do a few tweaks behind the scene i.e. those recommended on Pjotr's web site but I do that for every install I do regardless. And then there are few things I have done for them that they have requested - that are really simple but they have been very appreciative - like adding an applet to indicate when the Caps/Num lock is on/off, change the date/time format - like I said ridiculously easy stuff.

I even had a situation where someone tried to offer me money because they were about to spend $$$ on a new PC and after I installed Mint they were good2go with their old PC which they only used for email, Facebook and Banking.

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by smgordon1259 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:26 pm

carum carvi wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:21 am
There are mobile phones available with large numbers and without any difficult menu buttons. How about a Linux version that my grandmother would be able to use? My grandmother does not have internet, nor does she have a computer and she gets by fine. That by itself is a comforting thought: we dont need computers to live everyday life. Many of us are old enough to remember the days when there was only television, radio, records and books/magazines. Did we suffer? No.

Ok, but for those elderly citizens, who DO want to use a computer, which one is the most comfortable? Which one has the largest fonts, the clearest sound? Which one is the easiest in use? All that is needed is to browse online with Firefox, being able to email the children and have a simple video program to see her grandchildren play with their new kitten.

If a grandmother/father would start using a Linux computer, it must probably be a pre installed Linux OS, because hardware conflicts are common with Linux software. (Not Linux' fault by the way, just to be clear). Has there ever been an attempt to create/fork a LInux computer for those elderly citizens with NO computer skills whatsoever? There are so many Linux forks,but arent we forgetting the elderly?

I love my girlfriend dearly. She is not old by the way. She is very intelligent, but she doesnt have or doesnt want to understand the simplest technical skills. Her complaint that the LInux computer doesnt work is caused by a power cable that is not attached. That sort of problems are the ONLY problems she has reported with Linux until now ( 2 years of using it). She had many more complaints though about Windows. So basically when everything is installed and there are no hardware conflicts I believe that LinuxMint is already a very user friendly system. But can it be improved for grandmothers and granddads with no skills at all? Or is the best advice for grandmothers and granddads to ask for help and guidance from their children?

I could have posted many links below from websites that want to sell computers to elderly and claim to be the best, but what do you forummembers think of the possibility in trying to create an easy to use Linux fork for elderly?
59 years, started using Linux mint 2013. using 19.2 MATE 64bit
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JerryF
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by JerryF » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:31 pm

majpooper wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:10 pm
...
Lately I have been configuring automatic updates - so far so good and adding a cron to run a script (I think I got this from Pjotr as well) to clean out all but the last one or two (can't remember how many) kernels other than the active one.
...
Just an FYI: the newest Update Manager will do that for you weekly:
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
majpooper wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:10 pm
...
I also do a few tweaks behind the scene i.e. those recommended on Pjotr's web site but I do that for every install I do regardless. And then there are few things I have done for them that they have requested - that are really simple but they have been very appreciative - like adding an applet to indicate when the Caps/Num lock is on/off, change the date/time format - like I said ridiculously easy stuff.

I even had a situation where someone tried to offer me money because they were about to spend $$$ on a new PC and after I installed Mint they were good2go with their old PC which they only used for email, Facebook and Banking.
That's great!
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absque fenestris
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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by absque fenestris » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:47 pm

Grandma doesn't really testify: The good lady can be 50, 60, 70 or well over 90 years old...
More meaningful would be: does she know anything about computers or not?
  • If Yes: then you can discuss Linux...
  • If No: it depends a bit on her age - if your grandmother is no longer at work I would bet on Android - maybe a tablet with a big external keyboard.
This works and is foolproof - with the app "Blokada" and some Google settings on "Pause" it's even relatively economical with the data...

Besides Google, I have my sights set on WhatsApp, Facebook and other funny things - after a certain age, the data collection frenzy no longer plays a significant role.
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Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa (Mate) 64-bit - MacBook Pro 15" (Intel Core2 Duo, 8 GB RAM, 240 GB SSD) - with some separation difficulties...

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Re: Linux for my grandmother.

Post by farkas » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:46 am

My mother is 93 years young. Couple of years ago she complained that her Win7 desktop wasn't working like it used to. Her main complaint was that it forever to boot up, plus all the annoyances of windows. Powered it on and went to make a pot of coffee while it booted up. Took the plunge and built her a new desktop for her Christmas present. All new parts, just a moderatley priced box, nothing fancy. I figured that with all new hardware there would no compatibility issues later on. She already had a nice sized monitor which was just right for her.
Installed Mint 18.3. Cinnamon. Set up firefox, thunderbird and downloaded her favorite games . She isn't interested in facebook and sites like that. Placed icons for her most used applications on the desktop for easy access. I do all the maintenance on the machine (updates, install new printer, etc.). Its been running great for over two years. She loves it! :D

All of the above depends on your budget. Searched the internet for best prices.
I suggest for hardware compatibilty see
https://pcpartpicker.com/
I used it to build my own and her pc to make sure all the parts would work together.
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