Continuation of the story with Linux Mint 20 Cinnamon on the old Core2 Duo with 2 GB RAM and HDD. The guy has had that PC under Linux for 1.5 months now, had never had Linux before, has no IT background, and is over 70.

Upon visit, I checked how the machine was doing. OK, he had forgotten to apply the updates, so I highlighted paying attention to the red icon in the tray. Launched the updates, all ran through.

Otherwise, he had managed to install Skype all by himself (network effect because of his family...) and had bought a webcam plus a microphone. Linux had just recognised everything without any fuzz. Even his Skype buddies were impressed, he said.

On top of that, he likes how much faster that PC is compared to his much more current Win 10 laptop and actually uses the old Linux PC more than the laptop.

He also enjoys that Linux doesn't do weird things all by itself all the time. That's not his experience with Win 10.

  • 12
    Nice! ++ for Linux!
  • 6
    He's getting comfortable with linux you say? Time to convert him to Arch or Gentoo.
  • 2
    @qwwerty That would get him back to Windows.
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    @Fast-Nop It's what happened in my case. I've asked my friend to help me getting into linux, he installed Arch and I created a dependency hell by the second day. Gave up few system reinstalls later, when every troubleshooting advise was "read the wiki" which is incomprehensible to a beginner.

    Took me years before I got back to linux via RasPi/LMDE.
  • 6
    @qwwerty Sure. Arch is fine if the objective is to learn Linux inside out - which end users are totally not interested in.

    I myself had Linux running already in the 90s, with manual modeline tinkering which could destroy your monitor, assigning IRQs via jumpers and all such shit. I don't want to go back to that level of usability. All I want is just a system that works and doesn't fuck up itself.
  • 2
    I'm legit impressed (and not all that surprised, linux desktop has been incredibly okayish for use for a while) but wouldn't his use case be better served by an iPad or something? I'm assuming he just uses it to keep in touch with people and for browsing the web. If not then ignore.

    My grandmother wanted a PC to do stuff, I spent a while trying to find a good enough one but then realized she just wanted to video call and use messaging and email. So we got her a secondhand iPad 6 and she's super happy with it. Uses it all the time. Does the job with no hassle whatsoever.
  • 4
    @RememberMe Apple is only nice as long as you stay within their walled and totally overpriced garden. Even basic stuff like "where do I put in the SD card" that the old PC can do easily quickly becomes a hassle.

    I don't recommend any of Apple's products because they're totally subscribed to the "vendor lock-in" strategy. That's what vendors do when they don't trust their own products.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop but (for the sake of debate) what exactly does getting out of that garden get you? iOS just works and it does so pretty much without hassle for pretty much all everyday computing. I would say that's incredibly valuable especially to somebody who doesn't really care about IT.

    I wanted a system where even if I didn't visit my grandmother for years (hope that doesn't actually happen) the thing I set up for her would just keep on working without needing a PhD in wasting-time-doing-stuff-not-related-to-what-you-actually-wanted-to-get-done to maintain it. It's nearing 2 years of absolutely zero maintenance and it works just like it used to modulo a few scratches. I see no reason why it won't continue working for quite a while mode. I'd like to see any other (usable) consumer computing platform that can claim that at the scale iOS can (Debian and CentOS don't count).

    Plus you can carry the iPad around and it doesn't take up space. That's valuable in and of itself.

    I don't think the iPad is overpriced at $329. And that's for a new one. The laptops you get at that price are utter garbage and in no way comparable (horrible screen, dogshit battery life, slow af memory, zero quality control). It's more with accessories but again, it's about the value you derive from the whole package.

    (also, SD cards are easy)
  • 2
    @RememberMe With SD cards, do iDevices have an SD card slot now? Or will affairs degrade into the adaptor spaghetti that even Macs suffer from?

    Plus that he likes managing pictures. Easy and cheap with his external USB harddisk - and with a mouse plus file manager. On top of that, the PC was already there. The actual plan was to use that as preview and training ground, not for permanent use.

    Writing emails via a touch interface sucks, so it would require an external keyboard. And a bigger screen. At that point, it would be more like an ad hoc docking station setup anyway.

    Next is the app store which allows only whatever Apple approves. Also, he just wouldn't enter his credit card data even if he had a CC. Linux? The repo is huge, for free, and no personal account required.

    And on a general note, when someone tries to break with MS, I just won't send him into the next prison when freedom is right around the corner.
  • 0
    @RememberMe Also, let's not forget that iDevices users cannot have GPL'ed SW unless the authors dual-licence because the app store conditions are incompatible with any version of the GPL, and the app store is the only way to get SW on the device.

    I won't support such a system in any way, and neither the company behind. That's another reason why Apple is a complete non-starter.

    The perceived ease of use buys short-term advantage at the price of long-term overall damage. I wouldn't give Windows support either, and that's not even as bad in this regard.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop I don’t think @RememberMe ‘s grandma is able to supply with even the smallest amount possible of shit or fuck about software licenses.

    That’s like giving a tv to a jungle dweller and then arguing that TVs are perverse compared to the internet because only the people with the most money decide what you’re going to watch.

    I’m an arch user and I approve this message.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop Also don’t let the negatives conceal the positives.

    I’m not gonna fanboy over apple sw/hw but it takes a pretty high retardation to not see the good aspects.

    My main laptop’s hinge broke which caused the screen to break and the keyboard also broke because my toddler got too excited with it.

    So I’m now back to the 2013 MacBook with an ssd. Guess what, it’s lighter, the battery still works ish, the screen looks insanely better than my nitro 5, the mag safe is nice, the touchpad is insanely better, the keyboard is better, and I barely have to configure anything hardware related.

    It barely ever crashes, and I can still play league of legends on it.

    And the chassis is solid, not some garbage plastic.

    And it’s unix based, which means I can install or build pretty much every open source project out there.

    The camera is also very decent considering the age.
  • 1
    @jesustricks She can't have e.g. GNU Backgammon on her iPad, that's a noticeable consequence.

    Also, I think it's generally wrong to support walled platforms because in the long run, this creates damage for everyone. You will ultimately not be able to install Linux on your machine because there won't be machines that you actually own. Going for "but it's so shiny!" is short-sighted.

    That doesn't apply to Macs (for now), but for what they offer, they are overpriced. I particular, the surcharge for more RAM and SSD is ridiculous because Apple made that shit deliberately incompatible just to shut out market competition.

    I'm expecting my new laptop this month, provided that AMD can deliver despite the soaring demand, and it will have Linux pre-installed right away. I don't even want to know what Apple would charge for 32 GB RAM and 2 TB SSD in a Mac laptop.
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