How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

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Putr-Hlpr
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How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Putr-Hlpr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:52 am

I am a Noob with Linux Mint, older also, trying to help another elderly group and started
investigating Linux Mint. Accolades to Mint as it loads Python and QT based programs well.

Yet, when these experienced Windows users are confronted with the password-permission situation, they
just throw their hands into the air, for instance, the browser would not save into a usb directory,
they couldn't transfer files from one chip to another.

There must be a method to automate, or quell the aggressive group policy system, for it is clearly past
my experience level, perhaps a program could assist that happening, like "firewall iptables". If this can’t
be done, would appeciate pointed to another distribution with equal Python and QT5 or 6 capability, and the
docility of a Linux "windows like" puppy.

deepakdeshp
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by deepakdeshp » Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:40 am

Firstly with all respect Linux isn't Windows and Windows would strive to be the puppy of Linux. After all 95% of the fastest 100 supercomputers run Linux.
This will be worth exploring for newbies.
viewtopic.php?f=90&t=245700
If I have helped you solve a problem, please add [SOLVED] to your first post title, it helps other users looking for help, and keeps the forum clean.
Regards,
Deepak

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

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Moem
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Moem » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:58 am

Putr-Hlpr wrote:for instance, the browser would not save into a usb directory,
they couldn't transfer files from one chip to another.
A password should not be needed for such actions. Something is wrong.

On the other hand, most elderly people can type a password. If they can't, can they really use a computer? What is specifically so hard about typing a password? My mother doesn't find it hard and she's 79.
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If your issue is solved, kindly indicate that by editing the first post in the topic, and adding [SOLVED] to the title. Thanks!

Cosmo.
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:23 am

Usually a user does not need for common tasks to enter the password - except for logging in, but also that can be circumvented. So we need a precise description of the tasks, which those users do.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by puddleglum » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:01 pm

When you say:
the browser would not save into a usb directory, they couldn't transfer files from one chip to another.
I understand you to mean you are trying to save files to USB storage like a thumbdrive, external hard disk drive, or maybe an SD card.

My father had permission problems moving files from his account to my moms. The simplest fix for them was to restore his thumbdrive to a FAT32 format which doesn't keep the Linux file ownership and file permissions. He had formated it as ext4 because he was using Linux after all. This works for them even though he doesn't understand why he is using a Microsoft format with Linux.

If this is your situation you might want to give it a try.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by tovian » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:50 pm

To try to adress your question/concern directly...

I am "fairly new" to Linux. I have been using it for about five years - the last couple on Mint. I'm also an "oldie" - not a young pup. I'm one of those who will forget more about Windows than I will ever know about Linux - because I came to this party far too late in my computing life. So, let's start with t fact that Linux is NOT Windows (it is also NOT some large breed of cat such as Snow Leopard - or Snow Lizard - or whatever that thing is). The Linux architecture is different, and the operational rules are different - and for old Windows users they may drive you crazy for a while.

Requiring a password to do certain tasks is one of those nuances. When Windows tried - for safety and security reasons - to backpedal and implement a flavor of this same requirement (known as UAC) In Windows Vista - many of the Windows users went ballistic... "convenience" was just so much more important than "safety" and "security". So Windows made it easier to compromise.

Linux users, on the other hand, have lived with this requirement from the get-go. They are used to this inconvenience to the point that it is essentially trivial. It is also part of the architecture that keeps Linux from being as vulnerable to malicious software and other attacks. Therefore, Linux is "safer" - much more secure.

It really comes down to an eternally damning cliche: "You can't have your cake and eat it too". I know precisely how aggravating this is. But, if the security of your computers and activities is important, then Linux is the way to go. And, all versions of Linux are more-or-less the same... Mint is actually easier to operate than some Linux distro's, and maybe not as easy as a few others.
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Charlie
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Charlie » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:17 pm

Fingerprint GUI helps get around most situations in which you may need to enter a password, instead you use your fingerprint scanner on your laptop to give permission. Assuming you have access to this facility you're good to go.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by jimallyn » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:42 pm

deepakdeshp wrote:After all 95% of the fastest 100 supercomputers run Linux.
Actually, 100 percent of the top 500 supercomputers run Linux:

https://www.top500.org/
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“If the government were coming for your TVs and cars, then you'd be upset. But, as it is, they're only coming for your sons.” - Daniel Berrigan

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Putr-Hlpr » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:10 pm

Mint 18.3 sylvia

Thank you all, particularly how elegantly Tovian captured my emotions while attempting
to write a first post.
Money is always an issue, (Free Modern Software {Or contributions} as well as equipment, 03
upward Dells, HP, Compaq, Emachines, IBMs... clean them up, max out memory, maybe install used
DVD, try to update Bios. You might be amazed at how well these run on LM, never a glitch--ever.
The problem USB media was formated all Linux, mostly with Gpart from puppy5287, (ex2, ex3, ex4).
Trouble occurred with the large mix of new-old-recovered devices using all kinds of system files.
BTW, LM read them OK, you weren't allowed to do anything with them.
Trying fat32 exculsivly solved the permission problems, but of course lost the recoverability of ex4, a
perfect example of previous reply "You can't have your cake and eat it too" I had become oblivious of this,
as puppy only requires EXx file systems to edit ISOs or squashfs files, and used them interchangably for
the folks.

Not being adept at terminal commands. have thoughts that maybe readers might contribute term command structure
to assemble a user run "start up script" that would blunt the password-permission parts of LinuxMint while a
user was actively working with the GUI.
Then if screen saver started or shutdown occurred a closing script
reinstitued orginal behavior.
Most of older folks I know use a printer (sometimes community owned with media support),
scanners, internet wifi, some share a windows computer, [LM would be a super asset here], nobody uses
ethernet, except for those that have a home with router.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by JerryF » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:36 pm

If the computer is an average install, then there would not be a need to use a password often.

Needing a password would require something like:
  • Logging in.
  • Installing software from Software Manager.
  • Running Synaptic Manager.
  • Using 'sudo' in Terminal.
Will your users be doing a lot of that?
IF your problem has been solved, please edit your ORIGINAL post and add [SOLVED] to the beginning of the Subject Line. It helps other members when browsing posts.

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jimallyn
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by jimallyn » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:50 pm

davidmedin wrote:
deepakdeshp wrote:After all 95% of the fastest 100 supercomputers run Linux.
Probably only because the licensing costs of using Windows would make it too expensive.
They probably also don't want to take the hit in performance and reliability.

“When we rolled into Baghdad, we did it using open source. It may come as a surprise to many of you, but the U.S. Army is 'the' single largest install base for Red Hat Linux. I'm their largest customer.” - Brigadier General Nick Justice

“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable - one that would give us in-house control.” - Keith Chuvala, NASA Space Operations Computing manager.

And the Navy's new Zumwalt Destroyer runs Linux. Surely they could afford the Windows licenses, IF Windows were suitable for their needs?
Image

“If the government were coming for your TVs and cars, then you'd be upset. But, as it is, they're only coming for your sons.” - Daniel Berrigan

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by puddleglum » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:57 pm

If your users are creating files that others can read but not write and you want them to be able to you may need to change their umask setting in their .bashrc file. The default should be 'umask 002' to allow read/write. Here is a tutorial on changing that:

https://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/understa ... usage.html

If they require access to hardware like scanners that they cannot access they probably need to be added to the groups for that device.

As for opening up system files so that any user can write/change it that is just not going to happen.
Last edited by puddleglum on Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Tomgin5 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:06 pm

I keep over 90% of all of my office files on flash drives. LM edits directly from/to them with no permissions required. For the most part they are formatted as FAT32. Of course all of the downloads, from the web, are usually directly to "Downloads" but I drag and drop to flash drives if I do not need them to be a permanent file of program in the computer I am using. No passwords required here either. 99.9% of everything is done with the GUI in Cinnamon. BTW I also do a lot of installations for other seniors beside myself (73). The only Windows I have used since I retired has been to do dual boots.
Over 150 LM installs and counting.

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by majpooper » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:22 pm

BTW, LM read them OK, you weren't allowed to do anything with them.
Trying fat32 exculsivly solved the permission problems, but of course lost the recoverability of ex4, a
perfect example of previous reply "You can't have your cake and eat it too" I had become oblivious of this
Well actually in this case "you can have your cake and eat it too" and quite easily _ I do it routinely and without terminal commands although you can do it pretty simply that way as well.

Just click on your ext2/3/4 formated USB device (I think the OP calls it a "chip") > Right click and open it as root > enter your password (I know this is the tough part) > right click > click properties > click permissions > change the owner from root to the user > set folder access to "create and delete files" > go to the bottom of the box and click on Apply Permissions to Enclosed Files.

It's all point and click - done once and you do not loose what is on the "chip"
Last edited by Moem on Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed a quote

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Jim Hauser
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Jim Hauser » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:21 am

Putr-Hlpr wrote:I am a Noob with Linux Mint, older also, trying to help another elderly group and started
investigating Linux Mint. Accolades to Mint as it loads Python and QT based programs well.

Yet, when these experienced Windows users are confronted with the password-permission situation, they
just throw their hands into the air, for instance, the browser would not save into a usb directory,
they couldn't transfer files from one chip to another.

There must be a method to automate, or quell the aggressive group policy system, for it is clearly past
my experience level, perhaps a program could assist that happening, like "firewall iptables". If this can’t
be done, would appeciate pointed to another distribution with equal Python and QT5 or 6 capability, and the
docility of a Linux "windows like" puppy.
There are methods to make Linux Mint easier to use. You can also leave your house or apartment unlocked to keep from having to use a key. Same with your car. If you use a bank card you can set it up to not require a password. But there is a trade off when you do this and it usually does not turn out well...

I am only 60 years old but I have had a couple of TIAs following heart problems years ago. My memory is not nearly as good as it was 10 years ago. At the same time I would never do anything to bypass my Linux Mint security. Recovering from an "intrusion" would be an even bigger disaster for me.

Since you have barely joined this forum yesterday. I would recommend that you do some more research on the subject before requesting changes. I too was an experienced Windows user before changing to Linux 4 years ago. Linux is not Windows!

It is not Linux Mint that needs changing. It is new users locked into old habits...

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by tovian » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:19 pm

@Putr-Hlpr...

Hope you haven't been scared away. I've been thinking about all the work I have done that is similar to your situation - and I have a thought for you.

I have encountered the "throw up their hands" in frustration many times - generally over passwords just as you have described. What I have observed is not that the older folks can't remember a password... it's that they can't remember a bunch of passwords, and they get really confused about which password goes with which (password) challenge. Therefore, breaking most of the "good security" rules, I tend to set up my older clients using a single password for EVERYTHING. That method is only slightly better than "no password at all", but it satisfies most of the requirements we run across, and it's not so confusing. And, using the KeepassX application, I keep a (secured) copy of passwords for my clients so that I can give them that "magic phrase" if they call me for help.

I would not recommend this method for people who deal with truly sensitive material or computers in a highly secure environment - but for most of the older folks it might be a good thing to try. Anyone who needs to do on-line banking or other financial transactions should be required to have separate passwords. If they have trouble with that requirement then you might need to discourage them from doing any of their finances on the computer. Some things may never be a good fit - and that's definitely not your fault.
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"
"We're just the guys to do it.”

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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by davidmedin » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:28 pm

You can also 'delegate' certain commands to the wheel group and then put the user in that group.

Putr-Hlpr
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Re: How to make Mint friendly for elderly personal use

Post by Putr-Hlpr » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:10 pm

Thank you all, very good websites and advice from those with experience in the situation Thank You again

Nicely innovative David, I'll start with a single stick group and escalate as necessary! LOL

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